Tuesday, December 31
Sunday, December 29
boyfriend and i are enjoying our days off work immensely. especially now that christmas is over, things are so nice and lazy and easy. we do some things around the house, we sleep a lot, we enjoy spending time with little imp (who loves having us around so much) and we work our way through the harry potter films in the evenings. baby obviously prefers this to me sitting behind a desk all day too: she is very active and, by the size of my belly, seems to be growing fast.
Sunday, December 22
i lost some weight during the last two weeks: seems like a good reason for upping the calories by having this decadent holiday drink every day. warm almond milk with marshmallows. very christmassy. i think the original american version is made with hot chocolate, but that's really a bit too sweet to my liking.
Tuesday, December 17
last night, when little imp woke up and boyfriend took him into our bed, he refused to nurse. he snuggled up beside me and fell asleep very calmly. a few hours later, it was only a really quick sip. and in the morning he refused again. i think our breastfeeding journey is coming to an end, after two years and a bit. i had expected it to last longer, and perhaps it would have if i hadn't been pregnant, because i suspect he has been dry nursing for some time now. honestly, it would make things easier for me at the moment if there was no more breastfeeding. but on the other hand i already miss it so much. i'm extra happy now that we still have our co-sleeping in place during about half of all nights (since little imp sleeps through the other half on his own). and i'm proud of myself for having managed to let him self-wean. well done to me.
Monday, December 16
Monday, December 9
Saturday, December 7
i am going through my samples fast now. and since i'm hardly buying anything new, space is opening up in the little cabinet in which i store my new products. this time's favourites were:
~ rituals sakura scrub organic rice & cherry blossom ~ i make my own scrub these days, but this was just a little more luxurious. a heavenly scent and cute packaging.
~ clinique dramatically different moisturizing gel ~ i always thought that the products in clinique's three step-cleansing line were very aggressive, but i actually liked this one.
~ kérastase elixir ultime ~ i'm not used to using special hair products: it's basically just shampoo and the odd conditioner for me most of the time. but this oil was nice. seemed nourishing without making my hair greasy.
Wednesday, December 4
Monday, December 2
as i was thinking of something fun to add to the blog instead of the now finished finished-posts, i thought i'd copy another idea of many other bloggers: little lists of favourites. it can be anything, but it will probably be mostly skincare and things like that. so here is my first post of favourites:
~ rituals xiu xi organic white lotus & yi yi ren calming body & massage oil ~ i've had a product from this line before (this one was also a present - from boyfriend this time), and this body oil is just as lovely. the scent still reminds me of the seaside, and of spring.
~ weleda skin cream ~ you've seen this one before in my finished-posts as well, and i sort of rediscovered it. i use it especially on the belly now: keeps it very soft and supple and smells so heathy and herbal and pure. i think in america it's sold as skin food, which seems very appropriate.
i use both these products twice a day at the moment, which surely qualifies them as favourites.
Sunday, December 1
it's not like i've ever been a big spender, on the contrary. but i changed one thing in november: i made a very clear overview of what i have and what i can spend in a month and for each week in that month. because i've had to take a bit of money out of my savings account too often lately. my budget is quite tight since i started working fewer hours with the arrival of little imp, and i enjoy my new bookkeeping enormously. i think twice about everything before actually buying it, and the best thing is when, at the end of a week, there is a bit of money left to save or spend as i please. by the end of the first week, i could buy a little lavender plant (i already had the pot) to brighten up the garden. by the end of the second week, i could buy yarn to knit a chunky cushion cover. by the end of the third week there was nothing left but by the end of week four, with the help of diligently saved coupons and gift vouchers, i bought myself my first ever chanel product. and i was beyond happy with those seemingly little things. plus: no money had to be taken out of my savings in november. i already know december is going to be a different story though...
Monday, November 25
this was originally a pair of legwarmers that i bought a few years ago but hardly ever wore because - i was under the impression that - they made my legs look huge. i was ready to give them away when i realised that they looked just like a pair of sleeves from a winter sweater. so that's what i turned them into. i knitted a strip of wool in almost the same colour to attach to both ends, and there you have it: a winter bolero. perfect for reading in bed at night.
Saturday, November 23
after the scrub blocks and the sugar scrub, i've been experimenting with a dupe for lush buffy. i love buffy so much, i'd use it every morning if that wouldn't make me go bankrupt. my first attempt was a combination of cocoa butter and oatmeal. good, but it could be better. this is the second attempt: cocoa butter, melted then mixed with sugar and put in the freezer to harden for a few hours in cute containers. the verdict: a bit rough, but it works very well for smooth legs. i don't think i would change the recipe for now. and i always find it cool when a body product is - in theory - edible. does it work as wonderfully well as buffy? well, no. but the solution is simple: i just use this one more often.
Wednesday, November 20
i haven't had too many weird cravings during this pregnancy so far, but lately i am in some sort of strange need of passion fruit every single day. especially in the mornings, topped on the overnight oats. i was curious for the reason of my craving (perhaps it contains some nutrient that i need at the moment?) and found it contains loads of provitamin a, beta carotene, vitamin c and potassium.
that tea is delicious too, by the way. and such a pretty box it comes in.
Thursday, November 14
sometimes i don't feel like it for months, but it always comes back eventually. remember i started working on my first cardigan? it took me a long time but here it is: ready to keep me and my belly very cosy and warm during winter. it is huge and heavy and i actually really like how it turned out. on to the next knitting plan...
Monday, November 11
not much reading was done during the past few months, but i did read these two fat ones. it didn't go fast, just a few pages before bed every evening, yet i enjoyed both of them. the second one is quite a simple read, definitely not the best-written book i've read this year, but it did make me cry (i blame that on the hormones - i read most of it when i had to stay home from work back in august because the morning sickness turned into all day and all night-sickness). the first one is a gem: it's unlike anything i've read before. this writer obviously loves to put on paper the most beautiful sentences, and he sure knows how to. at the same time, he never loses sight of the story itself.
Sunday, November 10
Saturday, November 9
a few months into my pregnancy, this monthly childbirth and baby magazine fell onto my doormat. no idea how these people found out about the bun in the oven, because i make sure not to leave such details anywhere. a bit creepy, isn't it... anyway, my mouth fell open in amazement at pretty much every page. not only because of the rosy stories about how lovely it is to spend hours bathing and massaging your newborn (when in reality the poor child will be screaming and the poor new mum will be sweating and longing for a short shower herself but is unable to find the time for it - how misleading), but most of all because of all the utterly nonsensical stuff that is supposedly extremely necessary for expecting mums to buy. a device to train your baby's stomach-position. the most ridiculous toys and endless machines to make babyfood. and more of the most ridiculous toys. it's so tempting to fall for. i could easily name ten things i bought (or was given) for little imp that turned out to be a complete waste of money. you live and learn, right...
Monday, November 4
another bunch of samples. my favourites out of this lot:
~ biotherm biosource instant replenishing softening lotion ~ i already knew this product, but using it again made me remember how lovely it is.
~ weleda wild rose body oil ~ i'm getting more and more interested in using oils for body care (partly because of this lady). this one is very nice. also, the scent reminds me of my grandmother.
~ lancôme génifique nutrics nourishing youth activating cream ~ i feel like i'm totally falling for the sugarcoated promises of the high end cosmetics industry here, but i did like the luxurious feeling this gave me.
Sunday, November 3
in october, there were all these typically autumn-related things to be done. like dealing with an endless flow of runny noses and sore throats from coughing. and getting the garden ready for winter on a few sunny days after true downpours for days on end. i harvested my tomatoes: hopefully they will redden on the kitchen counter. the evenings got dark enough again to burn candles. i had to search my closet for cardigans that more or less cover the bump on the colder days (i refuse to spend money on maternity wear) and lately i can't resist a tiny sip of boyfriend's strong red wine on some evenings. must be blamed on the autumn-weather too. on another note, do the amounts of laundry somehow grow significantly larger after summer is over, or is that just me?
Saturday, November 2
it's about time to return to the skinstill-world. so what have i been up to these past two silent months? i was mainly working and sleeping i guess. putting in lots and lots of hours in front of my computer and in my lovely bed. things are now slowly returning to some sort of normal. hardly any morning sickness left and more acceptable hours at work now that i'm getting the drift of things in a place where much needed to be done. what else have i been doing? let's see... i spent quite some time looking down at this bump, amazed by the pace with which it is taking over my body. a beautiful and special thing all over again, no less so than the first time.
Wednesday, August 28
it is time for a little blogging break. i am starting a new job in september (the same work in a different department) and i suspect that is going to take a lot of energy at first. which is something of which i don't have a lot at the moment. the reason for that is a very happy and exciting one fortunately♥, yet the result right now is that i would simply love to sleep all day. i will be back with new little stories and pretty pictures though, when the time is right.
Monday, August 26
after our week of sunshine and roses, we decided to move little imps bed upstairs to his own room. so he takes his afternoon naps there now, and he falls asleep there in the evenings without any problems. he still wakes up a few hours later to nurse a little and to continue the night in our bed (i, for one, would miss it terribly if that would end). we put the most appropriate poster on his bedroom wall: it quotes a well-known dutch lullaby about sheep and it pictures sheep co-sleeping and nursing. still the way it works for us, even though things have changed now that little imp is older.
Sunday, August 18
i travelled through others last week. boyfriend was in the south of england and my father is on the most amazing railroad trip through ukraine. and i was sitting at the dinner table every day, watching youtube-footage of the places they were at. (little imp was quite fascinated too by the way, especially by all the train-related stuff.) i enjoyed this way of travelling, it did my soul some good i think.
Thursday, August 15
the vegetable patch is finally coming along nicely. it's quite a lot of work but i was so proud when i found my first little tomatoes. apart from the zillion tomato plants there's also three zucchini plants (i'm a bit late with those so i'm not sure how they will turn out) and a bunch of tiny heads of lettuce. i watch the progress of my veggie babies every single day, it's quite miraculous.
Sunday, August 11
i've been working hard on going through my stash of samples (such a tough job isn't it). the ones i loved most out of this bunch:
~ broaer xpert vital oil ~ this is wonderful stuff. i have to say though, now that i'm looking through the list of ingredients on the little bottle, there's quite a lot of unpronounceable things in there. too bad.
~ molton brown warming eucalyptus bath & shower therapy ~ a bit of a masculine scent, i like that. close your eyes and it smells like you're in the swiss alps.
~ kiehl's fig leaf & sage skin-softening body cleanser ~ a sweeter scent. i like this brand basically because of the way the packaging is designed. sort of old-fashioned and british.
~ annayake exfoliant parfait ~ a luxurious exfoliator. made in japan. i'm always a bit intrigued by that, since japanese women are said to have quite extreme facial cleansing methods.
Thursday, August 8
i couldn't help myself: i also wanted to try making the liquid version of my body scrub. now this is even easier than making scrub cubes. all you have to do is add oil to sugar until you get the right consistency, and after that you can add some essential oil (i added vanilla to this one). store-bought, this stuff is ridiculously expensive. the diy-version has to be used up quicker because no preservatives are added, but it looks and smells good enough to eat (oh, and you could actually take a bite if you'd really want to).
Sunday, August 4
i made another little batch of scrub cubes today: 50 grams of grated solid soap (i used pink marseille soap, hence the pink colour of my cubes) melted with 25 grams of coconut oil, then mixed with 75 grams of sugar. pressed firmly into a cute ice cube tray, put in the freezer for about an hour and there it is.
Friday, August 2
and on the reading goes, although a bit slower this month. i read a lot of translated novels of emile zola quite a few years ago. now i'm rereading one of my favourites. this is such a wonderful book: i am drawn straight into an enchantingly different world.
Thursday, August 1
after the challenge of june, i set myself a completely different goal for july: i wanted to read a thousand pages. i succeeded beyond that (thanks to the holidays) and i read a quite stunning 1900 pages. my goal for august will be very simple: surviving the busiest month of the year at work without going under...
Thursday, July 25
as i mentioned in finished~20, these posts get more and more repetitive because i keep using the same products. this little basket contains almost all the things that i use every day. not very exciting, is it. so, to round things up, these are the facts and figures: i reviewed ninety-seven different products from thirty different brands. top brand is lush with eighteen different products, followed by biotherm and weleda, each with eight different products. the items that i re-bought most are biotherm aquasource moisturizer and weleda almond oil (five times each).
i will continue the small empties posts for a while, because the samples i use are much more varied.
Wednesday, July 24
Monday, July 22
yesterday, we returned home from a week in france. we stayed in a cottage in the countryside, surrounded by the most beautiful gardens. the weather was perfect, so we did not need much else. all i did was sit outside, eat raspberries and macarons, read fat books and dream away while visiting castles. after such a week, what more can you wish for but enjoying your own home again when you return. it was wonderful to be away and it is good to be back.
Wednesday, July 10
Monday, July 8
Sunday, July 7
little imp needed t-shirts. the weather is taking a turn for the better and he has grown a size. it would have been easy to take a nice walk to the nearest department store and spend a bit of money. but no. there must be something better than once again buying something new. i realised there are too many long-sleeves in his closet for him to wear (still maternity presents). so i chose one and cut off the sleeves, sewed the hems and voilà. a new t-shirt. and a more satisfied feeling than yet another a store-bought one would have given me.
Thursday, July 4
i am re-reading a novella about a fictitious hebridean island called scarpa. i'm not re-areading it because it is particularly well-written or gripping or because the characters are so wonderful. the only reason why i am loving it is the way it brings me straight back to the two hebridean islands i have visited: skye and raasay. i'm secretly wishing for a little house in which i will wake up in the mornings to go exploring. i'd be outside all day and everything would be so, so simple.
Wednesday, July 3
this will be my final regular finished post, but more about that another day. here you can already see my reason for deciding to stop keeping track of my finished products though: it's all getting quite repetitive. besides, i am leaning more and more towards very simple and clean products. so, here they are: a few oldies and a few new ones.
~ etos hand cream ~ a very cheap hand cream that smells really nice. a great product at such a low price, but ideally it should be a bit richer.
~ biotherm aquasource superserum ~ not much to say about this except that i still like it.
~ biotherm aquasource moisturizer ~ same thing here: a product that i like a lot, which shows from the fact that this is the fifth time i finish a jar since starting to keep track!
~ hurraw almond lip balm ~ i got this from a colleague, it's all organic, vegan and raw. you can't go wrong there. i had to get used to the almond-scent and i finished it quite fast, but that may also have been due to the fact that i liked using it a lot.
~ lush angels on bare skin fresh facial cleanser ~ it was a long time since the last time i used this product. unfortunately, i didn't like it as much as i did a few years ago. my skin has changed since pregnancy and so have my beauty rituals: next time i think i will choose something that's easier and faster to use.
~ anatomicals the showering inferno hot and fiery b-movie body cleanser ~ this reminded me of lush the olive branch shower gel: the same somewhat watery consistency and the same special, lovely scent.
Monday, July 1
i find it much easier to get things done if i set myself a very specific goal. for example, i had been thinking about an easy way to get rid of unused and unnecessary stuff. then i came up with the idea of taking just a few minutes every day for one month, and to pick out something each day that i would either throw away or give away. so that is what i did in june. it worked like a charm. and it was quite easy and much fun as well, because we have made so many people happy with the stuff we did not need anymore. now isn't that a win-win situation.
Monday, June 24
~ phenoxyethanol ~ an ingredient primarily used as a preservative in cosmetics. can be an extreme irritant to the eyes and skin. in animals, it causes cell mutation.
~ benzyl benzoate ~ a chemical that mimics estrogen in the body.
~ methylparaben ~ an antifungal and preservative. many studies have found a link between parabens and breast cancer.
~ alpha-isomethyl ionone ~ a synthetic compound used as a perfume. the ifra banned it from use in fragrances because of its possible side-effects, but it's still found in many other products.
so where does this little list come from? these are some of the ingredients of a face mask (marketed as natural) that i used last night. i know that an unpronounceable name does not necessarily mean the ingredient is evil. but really, this is not good. it is time to change things.
Sunday, June 23
Monday, June 17
what is it about fridges that makes people want to look in them, even if they belong to people they hardly know? (just for the fun of it, i looked up "what's in my fridge" on youtube: it gave 14.500 results. so 14.500 people have supposedly bothered to film the contents of their fridges for the world to see. the best-watched fridge got 180.000 views. well, today you can see what's in my fridge, since i just cleaned and organised it.
Sunday, June 16
Saturday, June 15
Monday, June 10
remember our tiny tree? it turns out to be a brave little tree that started to grow like crazy a few weeks ago. so i decided to buy it a bigger house, after which it started growing even more enthusiastically, making our garden a little greener with every new bud. hopefully we can move it back into the living room for a few weeks coming december, and have quite a big christmas tree this year. after which it can move back into the garden again for another growth spurt.
Thursday, June 6
those crazy days are truly over now. the days on which i didn't know when i'd find the time to shower, to cook dinner or to basically do anything for myself for just a few minutes. when my tea was always cold by the time i got around to drinking it and i was always too hungry by the time my sandwiches were ready. the days when little imp was a baby imp. the strangest thing is that i can't even imagine what it was like anymore. it seems ridiculous now that there was so little time for anything but him. i guess nature plays that trick well, or nobody would ever want another baby after the first one. so now there's time for all sorts of things again. especially for the little, insignificant things that i like most of all.
Monday, June 3
his meals are all ready to grab again for the week to come. liquid additions will of course be provided for on the spot if i'm around, no matter what time of day - or, preferably in his case, night. (and that freezer needs to be defrosted...)
Sunday, June 2
Wednesday, May 29
~ dr. van der hoog oxygen face mask ~ unfortunately, i didn't really like this face mask. it's a powder that smells very much of pure clay and that you have to mix with water. it then gets very dry and hard on your face, and i didn't notice any improvement after using it (my skin didn't feel worse either though).
~ etos x-tra black volume mascara ~ still not really managing to stick to the new-mascara-once-every-three-months rule.
~ kneipp orange and lime-tree blossom shower gel ~ usually, i really like kneipp shower gels. but this one did not do very much for me. i guess i'm not a big fan of orange.
~ dr. van der hoog chocolate face mask ~ now this face mask was a lot better than the first one. it smells divine and it actually looked and felt like it did something for my skin.
~ weleda skin cream ~ i'm getting more and more enthusiastic about this simple but lovely cream.
~ l'oréal color appeal eye shadow golden beige ~ i have quite a stash of eye shadows, but this is really the only colour that i wear often. it still lasted me ages though.
Monday, May 27
things have not changed very much since the beginning. this is still how it works. a bedroom for the three of us, where little imp takes his afternoon naps in his own bed and where he also starts every night in his own bed. as the evening progresses, he wakes up for a drink, after which he spends the rest of the night in our bed. hence the little side rail. the more i find out about raising children, the more i also learn about the way it is done in various societies. which gives me the confidence to keep doing things the way it feels best, in spite of the ways that happen to hold sway in the part of the world where i live.
Saturday, May 25
since i was already spending much time doing things with trousers (and then some more time), i decided to try making something for myself as well. these ones had quite an old-fashioned flare and i handn't worn them for years. so i made them into summer trousers by cutting off half the trouser legs and i added a piece of pink ribbon on the pocket to make it a bit more fun. now i'll just have to wait for the sunshiny days and see if i will actually wear them again.