Sinterklaas Surprises!

5 december is a big day in Dutchieland: Sinterklaas evening!! :D So we celebrated this annual happening with the family + Jan this time. A month before the big day, we started making wishlists and buying stuff for one another, to put in a big bag: 'de zak van Sinterklaas' (The sack of Sinterklaas). Everyone had to buy at least one (small) item for each other family member. After the presents, we watched a James Bond movie together while eating lots of good candy. Some typical Sinterklaascandy is for example 'pepernoten', 'marsepein' and 'taai-taai'. Also did we get a chocolate-Sinterklaas figure, and a chocolate letter.

This is my mums letter, because I already ate mine.. :)

My Favourite.. ♥

From SwapBot this time a questionnaire about My Favourites! Such a cool idea, I also wanted to do something like this, but someone else was slightly earlier than me. No problem! I joined anyway, and here I share my answers with you. Enjoy!

  • Favourite animal: the Panda ♥
  • Favourite chocolate bar: Tony Chocolonely Caramel Seasalt ♥
  • Favourite cocktail: Piña Colada ♥
  • Favourite movie: Many, but I stick to Harry Potter ♥
  • Favourite colour: darkblue ♥
  • Favourite pizza: Spinach with goatcheese and pine nuts ♥
  • Favourite flower: Buttercup ♥
  • Favourite place for vacation: Gran Canaria ♥
  • Favourite season: Winter ♥
  • Favourite book: The Hunger Games series ♥
  • Favourite scent: Vanilla/Brownie & Pinewood ♥
  • Favourite shoes: I have several favo shoes, but currently I'd say my Hilfiger Hamiltons ♥
  • Favourite day of the week: Friday ♥
  • Favourite tea: Lipton's Blueberry Muffin ♥
  • Favourite song: This one is so difficult! I have many many favourite songs, not one specific. For example I love movie soundtracks. The last moviesoundtrack I fell in love with is the Hanging Tree from the Hunger Games part 3, a bit sinister, but so powerful. Katniss' voice plus the fact that the song marks a radical change - the uprising- make me shiver everytime I listen to it. ♥
  • Favourite ice cream: Ben&Jerry's Cookie Dough ♥
  • Favourite clothes: My darkblue Hogwarts& Oxford sweaters + darkblue jacket, scarf and darkblue knittet headband. ♥
  • Favourite board game: Chess ♥
  • Favourite food: Baked potatoes with chickenfilet, zucchini, mushrooms and sauce
  • Favourite gemstone: Amethyst ♥

The Hanging Tree

Hunger Games Soundtrack
I went to see The Hunger Games Mockingjay part 1 in the cinema with my bestie two weeks ago, and this song made so much impact on me. I don't think it's just me, there might be many more people who got goosebumps by hearing this song. 
The song is a bit macabre, as it is about people getting killed. But it's also a symbol of the uprising against the Capitol. The most special thing about this song, in my opinion, is that it's sung by Jennifer Lawrence herself. She isn't originally a singer, and this song was actually her first try, and it worked out so well! It is so pure and touching. 


I also love the end, where the music increases, and the song becomes more powerful.

Enjoy listening! 

Ilse

Scentchips

You might already have noticed in one of my former blogs that I have a scentburner. I am so in love with that thing! To make a scentburner work, you put a small candle underneath, and fill the upper bowl with scentchips. These chips are available in literally ALL sorts of smells, and their names are very cool.

What are Scentchips?
Scentchips are small paraffin chips that you can put in a special scentburner. This burner may be a candlelight one, or an electric one. I have a candlelight one, because I personally find that a bit more cosy. 

The chips are divided into two collections: the basic and the extended collection. Besides these two, there are also the seasonal scents, which are usually 2 or 3 extra chips with a 'seasonal' scent. For the winter it's 'Winter Woods', for example. 

15 Question Swap (with Jan!)

Lately, I've been participating in another question-swap, which means you have to answer a list of questions and send them to your swap-partners. Very simple, but cool to do. This time I decided to answer the questions together with my best fiancé, because we could even get to know each other better by this. 
Enjoy reading! 

1) What was the last picture you took with your phone?
I: That was a picture of floating candles in my room
J: My last picture was of a miniature Christmas tree in the living room of my friends. It's a little teddy in focus and a Christmas tree in the background, which symbolises that it's a tradition that also endorses childhood, childish excitement and playfulness.

2) What kind of sickness have you lied about, so you wouldn't go to work/school?
I: General allround illness, like nausea, migraine and a cold.
J: Gilmore's Groin - a groin injury, and a ridiculously bad excuse for not going to school.

3) The best compliment you have ever received?
I: "You have beautiful hair/eyes" - heard that many times, but it still makes my day. And also when my family says that it feels like they've known my Jan for years already, and vice verse when his family says the same.
J: When Ilses family says that it feels like they've known me forever.

4) What is your perfect pizza?
I: It's called Boston, and you can but it here in the supermarket in the Netherlands. It has spinach with goat cheese, tomatoes and pine nuts.
J: Seafood pizza with salmon, seabass and rocket salad.

5) If you could have personally witnessed anything, what you would you want to have seen?
I: The inauguration of our new King and Queen. I've seen it on TV, but would have loved to witness it in person. Oh, and a meeting of the Bilderberg group, just because it's such a mystery what they discuss. 
J: The Jalta conference, where leaders of the free world discussed what was going to happen after the second world war.

Week Summary #4

My fiancé has visited me for a week here in the Netherlands, and all we did was basically visiting a lot of my family members - and caféing (is that a word?). But ofcourse I came across some cool stuff too, so here is the chance to read about that! Exciting, isn't it?

First of all: I received this awesome postcard from a girl in Malaysia. She writes to always be happy and appreciate the life we have now. The card really motivated me! It is so cool, I wish I could get it somewhere in postersize and hang it in my room. 

Prettybox November


I got November's Prettybox actually somewhere halfway November, but haven't had time to properly write about it. So, before December kicks in, here's my review on November's Prettybox!


The box was heavy and well-stuffed this time...

Monday Photoshare

I am sorry I haven't posted many updates in the past week - but I promise to change that the upcoming week! November's Prettybox arrived, so I will review that one this week as well. And also did I do another question-swap, this time together with Jan <3 - and we are gonna share it with you!

Hereby another Monday photoshare. This time I chose to post some of my old 'artsy' photographs. I made them in october 2011, when I visited Amsterdam - as a tourist in my own country.

[click on images to enlarge]

Japanese Candy!

I saw some Japanese candy reviews on youtube, and it looked sooo much fun to do! So I decided to order a package myself, and well after a few weeks it arrived, and it's sooo cute! My cousin Linde also wanted to try it, so we went to make it together and blog about it. We actually wanted to do a video, but since we both don't have a good camera - we just made a photo-collage :-)

Sushi
The first package we tried was the sushi one. As the directions on the package were all in Japanese - and we're both not really skilled Japanese speakers - we watched a youtube tutorial for some more explanation.
This is the package - I love the colourfullness! As you can see on the left package, those 4 circles are supposed to be the plates for the sushi - so kawaii. 

Questions To The Author #1

Inspired by a topic called 'Sunday Stealing' by one of my fellow bloggers from Swap-Bot. Every now and then I'll try to put up a short list with random questions which I will answer for you. Please comment below if you have any questions to me. 

What was the last thing you took a picture of?
That was today: a pic of a very awesome postcard I received from Russia. I had to take a pic of it and send it to my fiancé, because this card really is the master of all postcards. With my digital camera I took some pictures of the Japanese Candy from NapaJapan - which I am gonna review in a later blogpost.


Do you like the smell of rain?
Yes, I love the smell of rain - it's refreshing.

What were you doing today at 2:15 in the afternoon?
I went into town with my brother Lars, to do some shopping and to watch the arrival of 'Sinterklaas'.

When was the last time someone took a picture of you?
The weekend in London 2 weeks ago, my bestie took some typical tourist pics of me. Funn :)

Do you have any advice for people who are bored or feel lonely?
Postcrossing & Swap-Bot, absolutely! Sometimes you can feel so lonely and not in the mood to socialize - but a perfect way to get out of that is to craft something creative, or to prepare and send out postcards and swaps to other people in the world. Maybe you even meet a new penpal!

Coldplay - Fly On


Flock of birds
Hovering above
Just a flock of birds
That's how you think of love

And I always look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
Cause they fly always
Sometimes they arrive
Sometimes they are gone
Fly on

Flock of birds
Hovering above
Into smoke I'm turned and rise, following them up
Still I always look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
Cause they fly away
One minute they arrive
Next you know they're gone
Fly on

My Weekend In England

Last weekend I travelled to England - for the first time in my life! Can't believe I've never been there before. It's such a short trip - only a 45 minutes flight from Amsterdam to London (Luton). My fiancé studies in Oxford, so I visited him there :-)


On Thursday and Friday we were in Didcot and Oxford. In Oxford I came across this awesome Harry Potter shop, which was unfortunately closed :(. Oxford is popular among HP-fans, since some parts of the movies have been shot at Christ Church College. It was an amazing feeling to be there! 

Friday evening my fiancé took me to a formal dinner at Brasenose college in Oxford. It was really cool to experience that once. All the students have to wear gowns, which looks very funny to me. I got to love Oxford and its old traditions more and more. 
Unfortunately we didn't take many pics at formal, but afterwards we went to drink a cocktail at a very cool cocktailbar called Freud- which is built inside an old church. Since it was halloween night, the streets were full of people dressed-up. 

Prettybox October 2014


This is such a cool thing to get, especially in the cold and rainy autumn and winter months! If you subscribe at Prettybox, you get a monthly box with some beauty- goodies. I decided to subscribe for 3 months (ca. €12,50 per month) and treat myself a little bit with beauty. I must say that I'm not particularly into beauty&fashion - I'm not that kind of blogger - but I like the idea of this Prettybox-company, and that's why I share it: to recommend it to others. 


Sigur Rós - Varúð

This song has been fascinating me for a while now. It has some sort of melancholy in it. Now I found this videoclip, and - wow - it is so beautiful! 



I am wondering what the thought behind the video is. The girl is so small, so plain - and then her golden hair. Somehow I can see myself reflect in her. It's interesting to see how she silently moves through life, while the world around her is moving so fastly - but stops when she passes. 

What do you think the artist had in mind with this song and videoclip?


Week Summary #3

This week has been a very busy week. Last weekend I have been in Norway to visit my fiancé and his family. It was one awesome trip - I love Norway so much! We made our engagement official, and we had a big family party which was tremendously edifying and good. I absolutely LOVE my In-Laws <3

20 Questions - Swap

I recently participated in an electronic swap on swap-bot, and I thought it would be cool to share it with you. The swap is about 20 Questions which you have to answer, and send to 3 other swap-members by a private message. A very easy way to get some beginner-swaps done, and get some ratings on your profile - which is important for when you want to enter more difficult swaps later. These are the questions + my answers:

 What is your beauty secret? 
I use BB cream each morning. It's a foundation which hydrates the skin, and helps against pimples as well. Besides that I use MUA-skin powder to darken my cheeks, and give my face more dimension. And also drink a lot of water. 

What brings you the greatest joy? 
To make other people happy, by helping them, be nice to them and be giving. 

What is your greatest indulgence? 
Toblerone - chocolate! And ehm, sleeping. 

What is on your kitchen counter? 
Well, since I still live at my parents house, there is a lot of stuff on the counter. From left to right: a mixer, some cups, dirty dishes, two sinks, a coffee machine, a knifeholder, foil-holders, some hanging kitchen-utensils, the stove with 4 gaspits, some cupcake-decoration (mine!), more cups and some kitchenpaper - and then: THE FRIDGE! *haaleluja*

Do you have a secret talent? 
My fiancé says I'm good at analyzing - which I never knew before, so it must have been secret.

What item in your closet do you wear the most?
Pyjamas. I can wear pyjamas all day if I don't have any appointments for the day. Besides that: my black pants.

SneakPeek ~ #Drawings

I love drawing. And I especially love drawing people's faces. To really capture the expression in their eyes. Here is a little sneakpeek of drawings I made:
[click on image to enlarge]

Tony's Chocolonely Chocolate Test

Tony's Chocolonely is a Dutch company which produces Fair-Trade chocolate. A little bit more expensive than the average chocolate bar, but so worth it! A part of the money goes to Cocoa-farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

My favourite bar of all time is the orange Milk-Caramel-Seasalt one. But recently I found out Tony had some limited edition bars, which could only be ordered via their webshop - since I live in such a small town where supermarkets don't sell the limited stuff.

So, I bought 4 limited editions, and tested them. From left to right, they're the following flavours:

Orange/Rosemary - Cherry/Meringue
Coffee Crunch - Walnut/Banana

Week Summary #2

Hi folks!
I haven't been posting many updates since I started, but I am working on some really cool ones. For now I will just post a short update on my week.

Last week I have been shopping at Primark with my fiancé, and bought some very cool Scandinavian-style winter items. In the picture below, I am wearing the leggings I bought there. Actually all the clothes I wear here are from Primark, but I bought the top and the boots earlier. The picture wasn't meant to be stylish, so excuse the awkward pose. This wasn't a serious outfit, but just a 'lazyday' style. I am someone who wears whatever she wants, which is mostly some comfortable pants and a tee.

Oh, I forgot to tell that the building behind me is actually a very old water-management building in the town where I live. It is not used anymore, and I have no idea what the current purpose of this building is, but ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by this building, because it radiates something mystical. And I just loove old buildings and ruines.

I also went to the cinema to see The Maze Runner - which I can strongly recommend, because it's so exciting. I ordered the Maze Runner-trilogy right after, because I was desperate to read the two sequels. Funny thing is: As soon as the books arrived, my younger brother wanted to read them rightaway, and he finished them in only 4 days time - all three books! Since I was still stuck in Narnia part 2, it didn't matter to me anyway.

The other movie I went to see at the cinema this week was 'If I Stay'. That one was cool, but quite tedious as well. The thing I liked the most about this movie was the music. The classical chello pieces, as well as the more modern guitar dance hits. I am strongly motivated to learn chello now. How cool would that be, besides my piano and violin skills!?

I've actually been doing quite a lot of things, no wonder why I didn't have any time for blogging! In the weekend , I've been to The Hague to do some sightseeing with my fiancé - he always wanted to see the parliament buildings, as he is a politician. I have been there as a child once, but didn't remember much of it. A mustsee is ofcourse the Binnenhof, the place where the Dutch Parliament is settled. Also the little round tower where our Prime Minister Mark Rutte works. And last but not least: The royal palace Noordeinde, where the queen used to live. When you've seen the palace, don't forget to walk around and visit the royal garden - which is absolutely magnificent, a very peaceful place.

What wondered me the most, was that there is almost no security around the Binnenhof or the palace.

A view from the Binnenhof

Royal palace Noordeinde

me&Jan in the royal gardens


In The Hague I got these cool stickers. I thought I could use them very well for Postcrossing and just decorating letters or my notebook.  The stickers contain many languages, such as Dutch, French, German, Russian, Spanish and even Chinese and Arabic. So cool, whatcha think?
I got them at a bookstore called Berlage, and they were quite expensive (€13,95), but so worth it! In Berlage, they sold many other cool postcard/notebook stuff, all very expensive as well, so I had to choose. I wish I could buy everything.

Check out their webshop!

Last monday I have been to the hospital again, to pay a visit to the dental surgeon - yay! This time I had to get my last two wisdomteeth removed. It went quite fast: after 10 minutes they were both removed - but now I have to recover for a couple of days. So basically I'm spending all day at home now, resting, reading my new trilogy and being creative. Not much, because even eating is difficult and painful sometimes. Well, I won't complain here, next week I will be back on track again and I will keep you updated!

Lots of Love,

Ilse 

Winter Musings

As I mentioned in an earlier post: I love winter more than summer. Ever since summer starts kicking in each year, I have a strong desire to the winter again. Last winter in Holland wasn't really a winter though, it was rainy, stormy and cloudy - not the snowyness you'd expect. This year I hope the weather to be different, full of snow and cold. 

What I like most about the winter is that it's so cosy inside, when the snow rages outside the house, and you're inside with a cup of hot chocolate and an fireplace.
Imagine the Christmas tree next to you, candles everywhere and snowfall outside. Children play on the streets, building snowmen. A smell of delishious christmasdinner fills the house. I'm reading my so called 'christmasbook'. Last year I red Philip Pullmans 'Golden Compass' because it was obligatory for an uni-assignment. This year it will be The Hobbit, I think - the book I gave to my brother last year as a christmas present.

Random Facts About Me

I thought it would be funny to share some random facts about me. I often stop and realize how many randomness my life contains, and how funny it actually is. 

Did you know..

  • I play piano and violin, and a little bit of ukulele.
  • I love to read books, or conspiracies.
  • My favourite TV-channel is National Geographic.
  • I absolutely disgust Pink Glace cakes, a typical Dutch cake. I always get nauseous when I eat them.
  • I am addicted to my smartphone. First I played the farmgame HayDay all day, but currently I'm addicted to chess, and a Dutch quizgame (De slimste mens) - If you like to play a game with me, in whatever mobile game: please share it below.I'm always up for it. 
  •  I know the movie The Proposal almost out of my head. Sandra Bullock is by far one of my favourite actresses. Another one is Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen from Borgen.
  • I'm addicted to lipbalm.
  •  I speak 2 Scandinavian languages fluently, namely Danish and Norwegian - and I am about to learn Swedish as well. 
  • I am a High Sensitive Person, which means I quickly get an overload of stimuli in most daily situations, and therefore avoid busy places - and also dislike to be at parties for a long time. I will probably write an article about HSP later on my blog. 
  •  I am also very sensitive to food, and have to be careful with things I eat, especially when it contains lactose. Soda and things with lots of sugar make me more tired, so I try to avoid these as well.
  • I can juggle with three balls.

Ólafur Arnalds - Living Room Songs

Today I came across this album. I can strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a relaxed moment. The songs really help me to relax, and they're a good background for when you're writing. Since I'm writing a lot these days, it's absolutely purrfect.

I made some good coffee, snuggled myself into some blankets and pillows and had my laptop on my lap. Living Room Songs on and enjoy life <3



I wish you a moment full of relaxation!

xx Ilse

Week Summary #1

Sometimes I have a lot of inspiration, and other times I don't. Well last week I started my new job as a Danish-speaking customer service agent for a lingerie-company. Very cool to speak Danish again - one of my favourite languages!

Now I'm free for a couple of days, so I have time to relax and get some stuff done. Last weekend I went for a drink with my sweet cousin Linde (who you will probably see in some upcoming blogs). After that we did some shopping, and I came across this typical Dutch warehouse called HEMA. They have so many awesome school/home office items, so I decided to buy some - and share it with you.

Here is what I bought:

a notebook - paperclips - pens with quotes on them -
washi tape: with quotes, patterns and poststamps - a refillable stationary

My Wanderlust

I can say I love traveling. Most of my journeys have been happening inside The Netherlands and Germany though, but I also traveled to Danmark, Norway, and Spain some time. The farthest I've traveled so far is Gran Canaria, january this year - all on my own with a friggin' Ryanair jet. But hey, it was fun and I made some new friends.

Ofcourse I like to travel together with buddies, but I prefer traveling alone. It is so relaxing - you're not bound to any others' schedules and habits-  and it's always so excited to discover new places and meet new people during the trip. And I am known for being a spontaneous person, so I easily make friends. My last long journey was a train trip from Copenhagen back to Arnhem - and the first thing I actually did was sharing a Toblerone chocolate with my co-passengers. Oh I'm such a people-pleaser I know. =)

Well, what I wanted to share is that my wanderlust is absolutely neverending. And I love the word 'neverending', it reminds me of my favourite childhood movie 'A neverending story' - which I still have to watch again - but whatever. There are so many places in this world that I'd like to discover. Not the common places you'd expect. I'd wanna travel to places most people would never wanna set foot - because it's unattractive or simply not cool - but it fascinates me. Greenland for example - how amazing sounds that!? And Iceland as well. Did you know that Iceland was discovered in the winter, so they named it after the ice - but Greenland was discovered in summer so the coasts were very green, and so Greenland was born. While it should surface-technically be the opposite: Greenland is covered for more than 80% in ice, while Iceland is more green.

Pancakes On My Lazy Day

Today was a lazy day for me. I decided to fully relax and do nothing, since last weeks were very busy. I had to finish my summerjob for Amsterdams University before today.

So, what did I do on my lazy day? I started with a breakfast of speltbread with cheese and some water. I had to take a painkiller, because my mouth still hurts a little from dental surgery last wednesday. One of my wisdomteeth got removed, and that was pretty painful. During breakfast, I normally read the newspaper, but my dad wanted to save money so he quit the newspaper-subscription.. :( Soo, I red the newspaper from saturday again, just to feel comforted in my newspaper-comfortzone.

Now, there is a Dutch website where you can read all newspapers for just a small amount of money. It's called Blendle. You can scroll through the newspapers and choose which articles you want to read. Once you've chosen an article, you only pay 10-90 cents per article, and if the article didn't satisfy you, you can immediately get your money back. Awesome system in my opinion.

Anyway, after breakfast/lunch I got on to the good old Neopets.com website - childhood memories! But still fun to play sometime, so I did some random stuff. My life sounds so boring, I know ey.

In the evening we ate pancakes with the family, yay! They were deelishus!



This was just the beginning of my bloglife here, I hope you like it, and if you have any comments or requests, please leave them below!

xx Ilse

The Beginning Of A Journey

From today on, I will start writing texts on a regular base, and put them on here.
It will be a journey of my mind, one of which I won't know yet where it will end. 
You can follow me along if you want. I promise not to be mainstream.

xx Ilse

Follow @ilsedanielleblog

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