Saturday, July 15, 2017 22:40

Audio book Adventures | Two short stories.

Also: I'm not sponsored by Storytel. They don't even know who I am. Note that this is a Dutch website, another version of Audible. It is basically Netflix for audiobooks, because you pay 9,99 euro per month and can listen to as many audiobooks as you want.

I have listened to three books so far and I'm currently in the middle of one (Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, narrated by Dan Stevens) I love the fact that Storytel allows me to go from audiobook to audiobook, because I'm quite picky when it comes to the narrator. I have found out that I enjoy listening to males more than females, so that is where I will focus on right now.


Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs. Read by Simon Callow. Listen on Storytel.
This audiobook was fabulous! This book has different stories set in the world of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. There is a princess with a fork-tongue, there are friendly cannibals and a boy who turned into a locust. Each story had something magical and strange about it and I loved them all. The narrator did a fabulous job of using different voices, which made the stories come alive. Highly recommended.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaimain. Read by Neil Gaiman. Listen on Storytel.
There is something special about authors who narrate their own book and Gaiman has a pleasant voice to listen to. This is a short, middle grade story about a father who spins a tale around the fact he returned late from the store to get some milk. This book is really entertaining and I think young children will love the adventures!
Saturday, July 08, 2017 13:33

Bulletjournal adventure | What I use for bulletjournaling.

If you are new to bulletjournaling: it is basically a wish list, to-do list and journal – and what I like to do is decorate it with doodles, handlettering, stamps and washi-tape. I have two informative posts about my step into this bujo-world and setting up collections.

Today I want to talk about all the materials I use for my bulletjournal. Almost everything I get is bought on a Dutch website called Penstore. I am not sponsored, but simply enjoy using this website. It is easy to navigate, with different sections, and they provide fast shipping. For my Dutch followers: if you want there are also Notitieboekplaza, de Inktpot, Writersplaza, de Kwast and Liefde voor Papier.

You don't have to use anything that I mention in this post. Bulletjournaling is all about what works for YOU. So if you use a regular 1 dollar notebook and only a pencil, that is fine too! I just want to show you all the materials that work for me and it might give you some inspiration.

I have not tried anything else after I discovered the brand Leuchtturm1917. I found out about the Rhodia Goalbooks this week and I fell in love with the light purple (Iris) one, but I have to say I am disappointed by the quality. I wanted to give it a try, but the cover is floppy and not sturdy, so it already has a lot of dents. The dots on the pages are way darker than in the Leuchtturm and the paper itself as a different feel to it; I don't think it can hold water well.

So back to my one and only Leuchtturm1917. There is a big range of notebooks.
Different formats. From A6 tot A4+.
Different covers. Hard and soft.
Different paper. Lined, blank, dotted and checkered. 
Different colors. The regular colors are: Black, Red, Purple, Berry, New Pink, Orange, Yellow, Lime, Emerald, Nordic Blue, Azure, Royal Blue, Navy, Army, Sand, Anthracite and Pink. There are also three limited editions in pink, emerald and blue and three metallic versions, in gold, silver and copper.

They might be more expensive than a regular notebook, but they are so worth it for me.
All prices in euros: 13.95 for pocket format, 15.95 euro for the regular versions, 17.50 for limited editions, 20.95 for the special bulletjournal edition, 24.50 for A4+ format.

The Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are really sturdy and will last you a long time. The paper is thick enough to hold up with watercolor and the bleed through is minimal, most of the times only some ghosting. This does depend on the brands of markers you use. The paper is 80 gram and there are 249 already numbered pages, which is so neat!

I use the medium format, which is A5 (145x210mm) with dots, because these give you a guideline, but are not so obvious as lines. It comes with an elastic to keep it closed and two attached bookmarks. If you buy the Bulletjournal version you will get 3 strings, but I don't like to have the standard pages they included. I have filled a Emerald colored version and I'm currently using Nordic Blue. So yes, you can say that I'm a big fan!

Staedtler 42 brilliant colours fineliners. This is also available as a set of 15, 30 and 36 pens. The value is 24.95 euros, which isn't a bad price for the large range of colours you get. The pens have a thickness of 0.33 mm, they don't bleed and just a little ghosting. They add a great pop of colour to my pages.

Sakura Pigma Micron fineliners. These are the ones I always use for all my writing. There are two sets, with 3 or 6 pens, but you can also buy them separately. They are 2.50 euros a piece. A little pricey if you ask me, but I do enjoy using them. The tips don't wear down quickly, which is a plus, and they don't bleed at all and ghosting is minimal. 
I definitely recommend to get some fineliners with different sizes, because it does make a difference in a spread. I own all their different sizes: 005, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 en 08 (thickness 0.2, 0.25, 0.3, 0.35, 0.4, 0.45, 0.5 mm) and if I have to recommend two I would go with 01 (0.25mm) or 02 (0.30 mm) and 08 (0.5 mm). The 01/02 are perfect for regular writing and the 08 is fun to use to make certain words stand out.

Don't stare yourself blind on buying everything that is expensive or a brand though. I also use regular fineliners from drugstores that cost me less than 0.50 cents a piece and they are great to work with as well. I recommend to use a page at the back of your notebook to check if they bleed/ghost and if not, you are good to go! The thing with these Pigma pens is that they don't run when you apply water over it, so that's why I prefer to use them most of the times.

Uni-ball gel pens. I currently own the Uni-Ball signo white, black and glitter gold. They are smooth, but do keep in mind that they don't dry as fast as fineliners. I have made that mistake before, haha. 2.50 euros a piece, minimal ghosting, no bleeding. I use the white and gold one to add touches to my lettering, the black one for regular whiting.

I have two Tombow Brush pens, in the color green and red, and I love them. They come with a fine tip and a brush tip. No bleeding on the pages, minimal ghosting. So easy in use and they have such a big range of colours. They are crazy expensive though, but I hope to save enough to get the entire 96 set at the end of the year. I highly recommend their soft Fudensenko brush pen. It is a blast to use this for my handlettering.

I settled down with a less expensive option, all the colours from the Sakura Koi Brush pens. Still a lot of money, but worth the investment. They last me a long time. I've used them for over 1.5 years now and they still aren't dry and the tips aren't terribly worn down either. They can be used in combination with water and I've been experimenting with it; so much fun! I also use their set of 30 watercolors and I can say I'm a fan of this brand. You can definitely go with cheaper watercolor options though!

And if you want to go cheap and still do some brush lettering, definitely go with the Crayola markers! They cost 15 euro and come with 50 colours! I love to use them in my bulletjournal for extra colouring and with some practice, you can definitely achieve some fake calligraphy.

Pentel Touch Brush Sign Pen SES15C (watch out for this. There is also a version that is a regular marker) Easy to use, pretty colors and minimal ghosting, no bleeding. Definitely a good pen to learn to handletter with. It was one of the first I tried and it has a sturdy tip.


Paperclips. You can get the regular ones, but I like to find them in fun shapes. Currently using bow shaped paperclips. I use them to hold my entire monthly pages together, so I don't have to flip through older spreads the entire time. I will write a separate post about this.

Ruler. Most of the time I like to draw freehand, but having a ruler can come in handy.

Washi-tape. I like to doodle to decorate my pages, but sometimes I don't feel like it or I don't have enough time, so I like to use washi-tape to add something extra. Also stickers from Redbubble or stamps.

That's it for now! I like to experiment by testing new brands, so after a while I will make an updated post about new materials I have discovered. If you have any questions or perhaps even want me to test something out, let me know!
Saturday, July 01, 2017 15:52

Monthly Recap June '17 | More new books.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought and all the movies and TV shows I’ve seen.  All my pictures are showcased on my Instagram: Mel_1704.
OUAT_thumb3Bookclub! I was the only one who finished the book, but most of our conversations are about other things anyway, haha. Daph gave me a birthday present that took ages to arrive and it is this gorgeous Grimm's Fairytales picture book. It looks great in my growing Fairytale book collection. I haven't shot a photo of it yet, but it will follow!

Travel agency. We are busy with the planning of our vacation (we really need to start booking something..), so we went to an agency for travels with the train to get some information. Looks like we might visit Venice after all! I'm so excited and hope to share our booked plans soon.

Shopping. Because what else would you do when you get your vacation money from work? Haha. I'm building a new wardrobe, so every month I buy some new pieces and this time I discovered a new favorite store.

Family. My mom and dad celebrated their birthday together and it was fun to hang out with everyone. My father got a special tablet for photo editing and we treated our mom by going to La Cubanita. On one of the hottest days, Father's day, we went to the park and I had a barbecue over at my grandparent's house.

Music festival. There's always a free music festival, with different stages and lesser-known bands. Unfortunately, it started to rain really hard that day, so we only went there for an hour. We visited our friends and even took a walk in the woods after we had some delicious ice cream (Tony Chocolonely flavour!)

Team building. This year we went with Insights, which is a personality test that shows your percentage for certain colors – and those are assigned to certain personality traits. The test also makes some sort of story about you, with different subjects like 'strong and weak points' and 'the way you interact with others'. Some things were spot on, but I also noticed a few wrong elements that made me sound really harsh and cold. We had some team building elements, followed by a barbecue, so I had a great time.

Harry Potter. Twenty years of Potter magic! Seventeen years ago I discovered this fandom and it has never let me go. I can't believe it and it makes my heart so happy to see Harry Potter is still alive, especially now with the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

HP magic

bookhaul_thumb2I might have gone crazy, just a little. Sometimes I have this mighty need to buy some books and I just go with it. Oops?

The first thing I got was the beautiful The Arabian Nights leather-bound edition, which I added to my floating shelf. I received my pre-orders from V.E Schwab – Our Dark Duet, Elizabeth May – The Fallen Kingdom and Danielle L. Jensen – The Broken Ones. I got the box set from George R.R Martin – Song of Ice and Fire and all the editions from the Harry Potter house editions, designed for their 20th birthday. I am a Ravenclaw, but when I found out that there are special pages in each book.. I had to get them.

Arabian nightsBroken ones, GOT box set

Dark Duet, Fallen KingdomHP editions

Fairyloot box for June, which was all about Elementists. Great items!
1. A Stormheart Candle from Witchwood Remedies.
2. Bending Lipbalms from Geeky Clean, based on Avatar.
3. Hamsa Hand Bracelet from In The Moment.
4. Clairvoyance Soap from Ascent Bath and Body.
5. Potion Sticky Notes from Fairyloot itself.
6. Portable Magic Pillowcase by Miss Phi.
7. Bonus items; The Waking Land sampler and Frostblood Postcards.
8. The book: Roar by Corma Carmack, with signed book sticker, interview & hand-written letter.

I was contacted by Meg Bruce from JKS Communications – Literary Publicity about a promotional package from the author D.E Night. Look at the cute potion bottle (and how this fits with the theme from Fairyloot) which is filled with lights! The Crowns of Croswald is a Middle Grade story about Ivy, who is threatened by the Dark Queen after her powers awaken. It has some Harry Potter vibes.

Fairyloot Junepackage

Read_thumb5 I've found out that I do really well in the first week, but then I get distracted by all my other hobbies. So, again, only 6 books this month and most of them were disappointing..

1. Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin. 3.5/5. More action, less sex and purring.
2. Jennifer Donnolly – Lost in a Book. 2.5/5. Not Belle-like enough for me.
3. Patrick Ness – Release. 2/5. The two stories didn't come together for me.
4. Lana Popovic – Wicked like Wildfire. 1/5. Disliked the writing and characters.
5. Adam Silvera – They Both Die at the End. 3.5/5. Emotional, but needed more world-building.
6. Mindy McGinnis – This Darkness Mine. 4.5/5. LOVED it. So twisted and messed-up.

TV Shows: 
We watched a few episodes of The Blacklist and finished the third season from Better Call Saul. What a way to end the season! 
Angry Birds. I wasn't planning to watch it, but we got to borrow the dvd from some friends who liked it and I have to say, it was really funny!
The Magnificent Seven, which was.. a little underwhelming at times, but still heart-breaking at the end.  

New music:
I've been playing the new songs from Mighty Oaks non-stop, especially The Great Unknown, and I have fallen in love with the tunes from James Blunt/Robin Shulz - OK. Also found Oh Wonder - Ultralife acoustic and the always perfect Mumford and Sons - I'm on Fire cover. Last, but not least, The Lumineers - Nobody Knows from Pete's Dragon, together with Something Wild, love the violin, and a sneak peek at one of the new songs from First Aid Kit - Fireworks.

  What did you do in June?
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