Songstruck: ‘Constantly’ – Emmy The Great

Me and my other half went to see Emmy The Great last week in Amsterdam. She performed in a lovely little venue called De Roode Bioscoop and she was amazing. Her one-woman set was simple and relaxed, and beautiful and heartfelt at the same time.

We had her album Second Love playing most of the weekend. It’s a wonderful album. Have a listen! She started off her set with a Chinese version of ‘Constantly’, the melody of which has been stuck in my head ever since the gig. I thought I’d add both the English and Chinese versions.

Chinese:

English:

Have a wonderful week!

Kris x

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Songs that make me feel…

For me music is divided in three categories, irregardless of genre: songs that make me feel, songs that sound right to my ears, and songs that do neither.

Today I want to write about some of the songs in the first category. I can react quite strongly to music and it can influence my mood profoundly. I guess that’s why it means so much to me. Music can lift me up, heal me, or let me wallow in misery when I need to.

Some songs feel like a deep breath of air to me that fill my chest with joy or determination. Some make me feel defiant or proud of the person I am. Some make me feel heartbreak where there is none. All of those I love, because emotions are the fabric of life. Without them you might as well not be alive.

I thought of this when I was watching Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron with my daughter. It is probably my favourite animated movie. If you have not seen it, watch it! It’s great, even if you don’t particularly like horses. Even my husband loves it and that’s saying something. It is full of wild emotions. Longing, hope, sadness, determination, love…  greatly enhanced by a truly fantastic score by Hans Zimmer and songs by Bryan Adams. Now, I have never really cared that much for Bryan Adams, but some of these songs are spot on. None more so than the first song I want to discuss, which inspired this post in the first place.

‘Sound The Bugle’ – Bryan Adams

The perfect song about being broken and defeated and remembering the reasons you were fighting in the first place. It brings me close to tears every time. Such an emotive song and it was perfect in the movie. Even without the video this song pulls on my heartstrings.  The juxtaposition of the feeling of defeat in the first half of the song to the hope and determination in the second half is so well done. It breaks my heart and manages to heal it in the duration of a song. It’s absolutely masterfully beautiful. I will never say a bad word about Bryan again.

‘Neon’ – Ash

Any excuse to talk about Ash, but there is a reason why I have so much love for them. Tim Wheeler is one of my favourite song writers, who has managed to weave his songs into my heart many many times, and to me this is one of his best. Now, this is definitely a not a well-known song. It was part of their A-Z series of 26 singles that they did in 2009-2010. It’s not a typical Ash song with its synthy beat, but there is something magical about it. The words just resonate with me for some reason. The first verse ‘Faint glimmer of the stars, the entrance of the night. Shadows fill my heart, the moon is on the rise. Yearning with desire to feel a spark inside. Illuminate this void, set the stars alight’. Somehow I know exactly what does words mean. Of course I cannot read Tim’s mind, but they mean something profound to me that I recognise, that searching for something meaningful, for the reason for being, then the realisation that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be at that moment. I’ve been there, I have felt that and on some days when I feel a little lost in this big old world, I listen to this song over and over again and somehow it makes everything ok. It makes me feel that spark inside! How does it do that? It’s magic!

‘Ready To Start’ – Arcade Fire

As soon as this song starts I perk up and my heartbreak quickens. There is something about the beat of this that just pulls me in immediately. Even when I am sitting perfectly still inside I am dancing like a loon to this, defiance rising curiously in my soul. The music in combination with the lyrics makes my heart soar in the most wonderful way. It makes me want to throw my hands in the air and sing along at the top of my voice. ‘If I was scared, I would. If I was pure, you know I would. If I was yours, but I’m not. Now I’m ready to start!’ God, this song is amazing. It does wonderful things to my brain.

Of course there are plenty more, but I will leave those for another time.

Let me know what songs make you feel!

Kris x

Mum’s The Issue

Well, sort of.

I just feel like I need to get this off my chest, because I am annoyed and it feels like I am about to boil over, so what better to do for therapy than writing a blog post. Ha!

Does anyone else have parents that seem incapable of giving positive praise? With mine it seems to usually be either criticism, or apathy, and at the moment it really bothers me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect my parents and I have a good relationship with them, but just sometimes I wish they would show that they respect me as well; that it is not just a one-way street.

Today was a prime example. I cleared a whole lot of garden from nettles and their evil roots and I was mighty proud of myself, because it was looking so tidy. So I said to my  mum that it took me quite some work, but that I was really happy that it was looking so tidy. All she said was: “Well, I did it last year and you let it grow wild again.”

That is a typical reaction. Nothing can ever be just positive. A negative always follows whatever comes out of her mouth and I find it so hard. Am I really such a failure in her eyes?

I have heard from other people how proud my parents are that I (we) managed to do this gorgeous barn conversion. I have even heard them hint at that to other people, just never to me personally. As if giving a compliment to me directly is too much to ask.

It hurts every time it happens. I just don’t understand. I have a daughter now myself and I know I give her praise in a way my parents never gave me. I believe wholeheartedly in positive reinforcement and I can see how my daughter responds so well to it.

I do not need my parents to tell me they love me. I know they do, even if they have never said it, but just a compliment or a ‘well done’ would mean the world to me…

Therapy session over…

Thanks for listening/reading… xx

Battle of the (natural) BB Creams

This is not my usual kind of post, but my desire to use more natural and ethical products is definitely a thing in my life right now, so I wanted to post this anyway.

IMG_6161

So, I have been trying out quite a few natural cosmetics. I have gone mostly natural as far as skincare is concerned and for a large part I have replaced make-up products with some more natural versions. I am still buying some regular make-up products. Recently I bought some Sleek eye shadow for example, as I love Sleek palettes. They may not be completely natural, but they are cruelty free and compared to other cosmetics you only use eye shadow on a very small area of skin and often with an eye primer underneath. I have also bought a non-natural concealer, as I am yet to find a good one for my current dark circles, which are due to my daughter not sleeping well at night at the moment. I will keep looking for that great natural concealer. Any tips welcome!

As far as make-up was concerned I especially felt it was important to find a really good natural foundation, as that is something you use over all of your face. Now, I must add that I don’t wear a ton of foundation. I have always gone for foundations on the sheerer side, as I am quite freckly and I just look weird (in my opinion) when they are completely covered up. I never really used foundation on a daily basis and I had a Clinique one that I used when I did.

When I finished that bottle, I decided to try something else, especially as I had started to wear some on a more daily basis. I soon decided a BB cream was the way to go. The first one I bought was the Benecos BB Cream (shade: fair), at a very affordable €10.95. I had a bit of trial and error with this product, but I got it to work in the end and I quite like it.

I wanted to try a different one to compare and I found a lot of good reviews on the 100% Pure BB Cream (shade: luminous), so I decided to treat myself to that one. I say treat as it costs more than the Clinique foundation at €35. A hefty price tag, but I was really keen to try it, so I splurged. I was not so sure when I first got it, as it looks a little orange straight out of the tube, but actually it looks perfect on the skin. I prefer it to the Benecos one, as it gives a fresher result, but I am happy to use both.

I decided to buy the NVEY Eco BB Cream when it was on sale for €15 rather than €33. Straight out of the tube the shade (fair) is closest to my skintone out of the three (which is too many!) creams I have. On my face I have a love-hate relationship with this one. Sometimes it looks great and other days I have trouble blending it into my skin. Maybe it has to do with how well I have moisturised that day. I do not think it performs any better than the Benecos one and not as well as the 100% Pure one.

The Benecos and 100% Pure are both 30ml, whereas the NVEY Eco is 50ml. They all come in plastic tubes, which I am a little unhappy about. Surely there is a more environmentally friendly alternative. For example, I also have the 100% Pure primer, which comes in a glass bottle with a small plastic pump on top. Slightly better I think.

1 point to the NVEY BB Cream for the much bigger amount of product you get. The NVEY and Benecos creams both have a similar non-descript scent, which I can only describe as make-up fluid smell, almost plasticky if I really had to describe it. Maybe you know what I mean, maybe not 🙂 It does not bother me, but I am not the biggest fan. I much prefer the scent of the 100% Pure, which smells fruity in a nice sort of way. It does have a lot of fruit extracts in it, so no surprise really. It does not smell synthetic at all.

All still have relatively long ingredient lists, but surprisingly the 100% Pure list is quite a bit longer than the NVEY ECO and Benecos ones. Both the latter ones have quite a few organically grown ingredients, which is definitely a bonus for me. When I have a bit more time I might actually dig into those big lists and see what they mean for the natural claims of the products.

BB Cream comparison

In practice, I apply them all in the same way. After moisturising and priming, I dab some around my face with a finger and then I use a brush, the Spectrum B01 (flat topped buffer), to blend it into my skin.

I don’t tend to build the coverage, as I only want my foundation to even out my skin and cover the patches of redness. No desire to be cake-face here! I have found that the NVEY and Benecos creams can have a habit to cling to slightly dry patches in a way the I have not noticed with the 100% Pure.

Overall, I find myself using the 100% Pure and Benecos creams the most. I feel the Benecos and NVEY creams are very similar and for that reason I would be more likely to buy another tube of the Benecos cream rather than spend full price (or even half price) on the NVEY one. I will be keeping an eye out for discounts on the 100% Pure BB Cream, as I am reluctant to pay full price again, cheap skate that I am.

I am sure I will try other products in the future as well, for example the 100% Tinted Moisturiser. If you have any tips or recommendations, please let me know.

Thanks!

Kris

 

 

 

 

What went on in February 2017?

So it has been a couple of months. Time flies for sure.

I have been doing more thinking than writing it seems, but sobeit. Just the way it goes sometimes. I have been doing way too much shopping (not kidding) over the last month or so. I have given my wardrobe a major overhaul, as well as my cosmetics and skincare drawer (it actually is a drawer I keep that stuff in). I am coming to the end of my shopping spree, as my need to buy things is dwindling.

I have spent a lot of money in one month, but I know it is all good useful stuff, and the rest of the year will be much less expensive. I took major advantage of the January/February sales to update my wardrobe and got some great stuff that I know I will get a lot of wear out of and I will not have to shop big again for a good couple of years.

Clothes-wise, some of my favourite things I have been wearing are a couple of new jumpers. In winter jeans and a jumper is my staple, but my jumper collection was pretty uninspiring, so I bought a few new ones and got rid of a bunch of old ones that I did not feel good in. Life’s too short to dress in things you do not like!

Otherwise, I am really pleased with some of the practical clothes for summer I have been bought. I will be doing a lot of cycling, taking my daughter to school, and I was in desperate need for some practical spring/summer clothes. I have bought a couple of jumpsuits that I know I will wear a lot over the summer. They look good and will be great for cycling in. I have also for the first time in my life bought some dungarees. They are black denim and look pretty awesome! Perfect for spring!

Part of my recent wardrobe overhaul is probably the fact that I am starting to come into my own style-wise. I like what I like and have little reference to anyone else these days. I don’t really care whether anyone else around me wears the kind of clothes I wear and I think I am more confident being a little different. As long as I feel good in what I wear, it does not really matter (as long as I don’t look a complete arse).

I have also started to take better care of my skin lately, as well as wearing a bit more make-up. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I am turning 38 tomorrow… Maybe? I am not suddenly caked in foundation or anything, but I am just taking a little more care and I am actually enjoying putting on my eye shadow and lippie every day (well, most days). With that for some reason has come an awareness of what I am actually putting on my face and I am trying to find more natural skincare products and cosmetics. For a week or two I went completely bonkers and decided everything needed to be completely natural. I do that, I get obsessed with something for a little while and research it to death, feeling like I need to change my whole life. Now that storm is over and I am more rational, but feel good about the changes I have made and I am making.

I have decided that the more of something I put on my skin, the more I want them to be natural. For instance, I have changed to 100% natural moisturisers, cleansers, and stuff like that, which I apply all over my face every day. With other things, like eye shadows and lipsticks, I am more aware, but not incredibly fussed, as I use them on only a small area.

On a side note, who knew you can use pure coconut oil as a make-up remover?!

Eventually I want to change my soaps and shampoos to more natural products, but I want to finish up what I have first. No need to waste any of it! I will be sorry to move away from my Aussie shampoo, that’s for sure – it smells divine. I will just have to find something that smells similarly amazing!

But as I said, the changes feel good. Now the obsession is over I know it is the right thing for me and I feel happy applying these products to my face every day, knowing there is no rubbish in there.

But because of my recent obsession with skincare and cosmetics, I may well be doing some posts on that in the near future.

What else happened? There was a little storm called Doris that caused a little bit of damage. She blew the roof off our shed, which then damaged window sills of our barn conversion. Hopefully that will be fixed next week. I love my house, but I bloody hate it when it’s stormy. Wooden houses creak an awful lot when the wind hits it full on the side and I don’t like that… at all!

Music-wise February has not been that exciting for me. I have been listening to a lot of my old favourites, such as Ash, We Are Scientists and The Charlatans. Oh, and Vampire Weekend. In the car I had Modern Vampires of the City on non-stop throughout most of February. That album is, what, almost four years old, but it’s so amazing. I just did not get bored of it at all.

I did buy a few new albums as well, but I will get to that some other time. They are mainly oldies.

For this month, what am I looking forward to? I did catch a couple of new Circa Waves songs lately and the new songs sound a bit beefier and, in my opinion, better. I really liked Young Chasers, but it was a little ‘light’. Perfect for summery car rides, pleasant, but kind of forgettable. I have pre-ordered a signed copy of their new album Different Creatures, which is out on Friday. High hopes for that one!

Just on a side note. There are some bands that I am hoping will release some new music this year. Tim Wheeler from Ash said that they hope to have a new album together by summer (YAY!). I am also hoping for new albums by Vampire Weekend and Alvvays (please, please, please). It would also be good if The Vryll Society could release an album. Asylums have been writing new music as well, so something by them would be good too.

I will leave things here for now. Sorry about the big ramble, but clearly I had much I wanted to say without actually saying much, if you get my drift.

Kris x