Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Favourites of the month of May :)

Favourites of the month - May 2017

- Albert Heijn, wilde muizen 
- Ambre Solaire, Sensitive Advanced Face Mist SPF 50 
- Daiso x Disney, blotting paper 
- M.A.C, lipstick in Antique Velvet 
- M.A.C, brow sculpt in Cork 
- M.A.C, sized to go zoom lash mascara in Beets Me 
- Yves Rocher, macadamia nut lip balm 
- Yves Rocher, perfect skin – after sun, moisturizing repairing lotion 
- Theo, WA 258 
- Too Faced, Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer 
- Weleda, Almond hand cream 

May: a month of candy mice, beauty products and new glasses.
Find out more behind the cut!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pet some sheep, have an organic vegan wrap and watch a steampunk band!

Photo of the day: 21.5.2017 (day 141) 

Sunday the 21st was the annual sheep shearing festival at the Averegten. 
Averegten is a provincial, in this case Antwerp, domain that is essentially a “wandelbos”. Which means it's a small wood, with a lot of walking trails throughout it. 
There's also a petting zoo, which is not much to write home about and a bunch of fields with sheep and horses. There's a bunch of small(ish) ponds and crooks, so you can find your standard wildlife there such as squirrels, bees, toads, frogs, etc. Even the occasional adder/viper if you're lucky around the water. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

Last week in photos: 22-28 May 2017

Photo of the day: 13.2.2017 (day 44)

Last week was also box camera week, which I was able to participate in thanks to my friend Dan K, who has gifted me an Agfa Clack a while ago.
So I loaded that with a trusted roll of Ilford Delta 100 and went about taking photos.
Which are currently with HEMA's film lab, so that's why Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are missing.
Admittedly, I also shot with my Agfa Paramat a lot last week, even though that's not a box camera. So yeah, check back later for analog :)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The NMBS strikes again

Honestly, starting next post I’ll go back to the usual light posting full of photos! But I want to say this because someone needs to say something about this sort of crap. And even though my anxiety issues (that and not wanting to get thrown off the train at the next station) prevented me from speaking up at the time, I’ll do it now. Because frankly, better late than never.
And I feel people deserve to know what kind of bull crap goes on, on NMBS trains.

Yesterday, Bert took the 14.31 train from Antwerp Central station with end station Louvain.
We decided, just like quite a few other people, to go sit down in the bike compartment, because there was quite a bit of space there.
Between Berchem and Lier station, the conductor came in to sort out some announcements. Nothing dodgy there. A lady also came in, wanting to speak to him, and she proceeded to apologise and ask if she could speak to him. Said lady was white, but she had a clear eastern European accent. Spoke perfect Dutch though, just with an accent. The conductor proceeded to bark at her that he needed to get on with his job first and that she had to wait.
Which was rude.

She sat down, he did his announcements, and then he gave her his attention.
Turns out, she had wanted to buy a single ticket to wherever she was going (which could be any station along that route where the train stopped, and also irrelevant for this post), but the clerk at the ticket booth had sold her a return ticket. So she wanted to know if she could get a refund and how, because obviously she didn’t need the return trip and had overpaid.
The conductor was EXTREMELY rude. He talked to her literally as if she was a particularly stupid child. Which was bad enough in itself, but then he proceeded to LIE.
And this is a lie that has been maintained by the NMBS for a while.
He claimed that the weekend ticket is half price of a regular (weekday) ticket. Meaning she only paid for one way anyway.
He literally fobbed her off with that lie.
And then when she thanked him for his explanation and apologised for even asking a question (which she really shouldn’t have had to do) he said “that’s fine. By the way, nice try.”

EXCUSE ME?! I can imagine that conductors deal with a lot of crap, and sometimes you get fed up and snap at someone that is really grating on your nerves because they are being rude etc, but this lady was kind, polite and basically ripped off and simply wanted to know what to do!
And not only did he snap at her, he proceeded, in front of an entire train section, to imply that she had tried to do something unfeasible!
That sort of bullshit is simply not ok.

I don’t really want to go and point the finger saying he was racist, but the fact that he was friendly and acted normal (or at least less like a total dick) to people that were white and clearly Belgian (had no accent) leaves me to believe that her ethnicity had something to do with his behavior.

Now, let me explain where he lied, because it’s very easy to prove.
A weekday ticket to Antwerp from where I live costs €9,60.
A weekend ticket to Antwerp from where I live costs €5,80.
Weekend tickets literally state “red (reduction”. 50%”.
Now, I know I’m not good at math, but any person that is, as well as any calculator, will quite happily confirm that 50%, and thus half, of €9,60 is in fact NOT €5,80 but €4,80.
Which happens to be the price of a SINGLE trip from where I live to Antwerp.
And that goes for ANYWHERE.

You pay a certain fair on week days.
During the weekend the tickets are discounted (not 50%, but the price is significantly less, which is great, don’t get me wrong, I love the weekend ticket price!).
A single fare, regardless of the day of the week, is always half of the full, week day, price.
Which is very easy to see if you look up the fares on the NMBS website, so you can see that I’m not making this up for yourself.

Also: if you need a train ticket in Belgium on a day that falls in between a bank holiday or the weekend (like yesterday), ALWAYS check the prices at the ticket desks manned by human employees.
Case in point, website price for a return ticket to Antwerp: week day price of €9,60.
Bert and I paid €5,80 weekend price because they counted it as a weekend ticket as it was an extended bank holiday weekend price wise. At the ticket desks.
So yeah, handy tip right there that can save you a few €.

Basically, I just wanted to point out that once again, the NMBS doesn’t give a shit about customer service, and habitually employs people that lie and are rude.
Obviously NOT every NMBS employee is like that, I’ve met some absolutely lovely people that work for the old firm (bonus points for the ones that get that reference!), but they are few and far between.

Should anyone wonder why they are allowed to carry on the way they do: they are a goverment owned company, and basically the government protects them (in every situation that does not involve a strike) so they get away with this kind of shit (and much, much worse).

Like I said, I just wanted to speak up, with a delay, against the BS I witnessed.
I wish I had been less scared of that kind of conflict situation and said something yesterday, but I feel that making this post is at least better as remaining completely silent and not saying anything.
Mind you, the NMBS will pretend they take this post to heart, and nothing will change, but at least I’ve put it out there.

And people now know how the ticket system works, price wise, which is at least informative I feel.

Friday, 26 May 2017

My thoughts on (religious) extremism and the current political climate

Before I get into the more controversial things I have to say, I would like to start this post by expressing my condolences. 
Not just to the victims and their families of the Manchester attack, but also to the victims and their families of all terrorist attacks. 
Whether they happened clos to us in our own country, Europe, further away in the US or in even in the Middle East or another part of the world. 

I wholeheartedly agree with the messages we see online and in the media, like that of blood donor Ian, that we need to stand united as a community against (religious) extremism. 
BUT, much as violence isn’t the answer, it’s ok to be angry. 
It’s a natural response to be angry, even enraged. 
We just shouldn’t let that anger and even frustration turn us against a whole community or religion. 

All of that said, let’s get to the more controversial part of this post. 
Terrorist attacks executed by extremists are as much the fault of said extremists as our politicians. 
Our politicians who have, for absolute decades, allowed and sometimes even encouraged immigration integration to fail. 
This has led to frustration (on all sides of communities), discrimination and a whole other slew of issues. 
Which, in turn, have led to extremists and extremists finding easy targets in the community with people frustrated with their lot in life. 
Note how I do NOT condone extremism in any way, shape or form, I’m just saying that if integration hadn’t been such a shambles, things would have very likely been very different. 
And I lay the fault for a lot of that with our politicians, who make rules and regulations in our countries. 
Who are always so quick to respond in outrage after an incident or attack and then proceed to take away more and more of our privacy, rights and freedom.

Terrorists take the lives of the victims of their attacks, but it is the politicians that are taking all of our lives, bit by bit, by taking away our civil rights and liberties. 

Their constant mismanagement, not only on national levels, but also by the EU officials (whom we have often not even elected as a people, so far for democracy) and government, which continues to further a globalist and corporate agenda. 
An agenda that benefits a select few, rather than to think of the good of the people they should be serving/looking after to have their best interests at heart and in mind. 

These people are in a very large part to blame for the current climate we live in. As much to blame as the (religious) extremists responsible for the recent strings of attacks from the past few years. 

Sadly, violence only results in more violence. 
Angry people (and who can blame them for their anger, really) are already banding together. 
We see a constant rise in votes for the right wing spectrum of political parties. 

Jonathan Pie actually has an amazing (albeit angry) video explaining the reason behind this. As I agree with him wholeheartedly, I’m just going to put it here for you all to watch.

This all said, if we don’t find a way to change matters, to express that we are properly fed up with the way things are and are getting worse and worse by what feel the minute, in a peaceful and constructive way, we will end up seeing a lot more violence and loss of personal freedom. 
Sooner rather than later. 

The many riots in France and the general situation in Sweden (even though main stream media have done their utmost to keep these things under wraps) are a perfect example of this. 
It’s only a matter of time before we see terrorist attacks executed by homeland terrorist groups, because people are just that fed up. 

Let’s for once learn from history and make sure not to go back into era where the IRA and ETA attacks took place. 
If (and if nothing changes that if is probably best replaced by WHEN) we get to that point, we’ll _really_ be screwed. 
It’s not 1984 quite yet (close, but not completely) so let’s make sure that it stays that way… 

Obviously, I encourage civil debate on this post, so please leave a comment, engage, give me your opinion. 
And please, don’t be afraid to disagree with me if you do and share your opinion. 
I am totally open to that, as long as you do it in a polite and respectful way. 
I put this up to open conversation/debate, not to start a flame war, after all :).

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Here be dinosaurs

Expo Dino World

Yesterday, Bert and I were lucky enough to be able to visit Expo Dino World before it officially opens this Saturday (May 20th) and we had an awesome time at the exhibit!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

STEAMCREAM is it worth the hype?


STEAMCREAM is a pretty big deal these days.
The Japanese steam infused natural oil hair and skin care product is slowly making it's way throughout the entire world, so I feel like it's high time to write a little more about it. 

So, is it worth the hype? 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The big glowy highlighter post

Glow to the gods!

I love highlighters, it's a commonly known fact.
About a year ago I was still frowning at them and wondering what the fuss was about.
The second I tried one I was sold.
This is not a comparison post, because I feel that comparing a lot of these highlighters is comparing apples and oranges.
Instead it's just my opinion about every single one of the highlighters I own, with pros and cons, and hopefully this is helpful for people looking out to buy some highlighting goodness for themselves.

Glow to the gods!

Let's get started!

Friday, 5 May 2017

G.L.A.M.S European tour 2017: A Queen of the Night


G.L.A.M.S is finally coming back to Belgium, after an absence of over a year. 
Last time they performed in Belgium was at Atsusacon in Ghent, in the summer of 2015 (you can read more about that live and convention in BCM #25 – free to download here). 

And now they are back for another tour with REALive touring quite a few countries in a span of just a few weeks. 
Respect for the band’s touring stamina! 

I’ll definitely be there, although I’m not sure yet which live (a lot of them are 2 hour drive away from my house so I have a choice, I do admit there were lives in Flanders, which would be far less of a pain for me to get to, Antwerp please! Or Louvain!). 
Which one are you going to? 

If you don’t know the band yet, definitely check them out, there’s bound to be videos on YouTube etc, because they’re pretty good live, and they’re legit nice guys on top of that. 

G.L.A.M.S are also releasing a new CD on the tour, ahead of the Japanese release. 
Now, if you like the band but can’t make it to the lives, don’t worry, they’ll be selling it on the HIGHFeeL/REALive webshop anyway ;)) 

And FIY, no I don’t make any money via affiliate links, etc, saying these things, this post is not sponsored. I’m merely making it because of BCM purposes. 
It seems fun to make this kind of post on this new blog :). 

May 24, Lille, France, DIY Café - album release party + Tetsuto's birthday 
May 27, Krakow, Poland, Magnificon 
May 28, Berlin, Germany, Marie-Antoinette 
June 1, Prague, Czech Republic, Chapeau Rouge 
June 2, Munich, Germany, Garage DeLuxe 
June 3, Lyon, France, La Marquise 
June 4, Paris, France, Le Klub 
June 8, Poznan, Poland, Alligator 
June 9, Cologne, Germany, MTC 
June 10, The Hague, The Netherlands, Animecon 
June 11, Liège, Belgium, Le Garage

For more questions about this tour, direct yourself to the FAQ on the website or use the company's contact form. All I know is compiled in this post, so yeah :).


Thursday, 4 May 2017

May the Fourth be with you – Happy Star Wars Day!

May the Fourth be with you! 

So, it's no secret that I love Star Wars. I grew up watching sci-fi. Doctor Who and Star Wars with my dad, and Star Trek with my mum. 
As a kid, I remember having Star Wars toys. Those are probably still in the attic at my parents' house. So when it's Star Wars Day, I get pretty enthusiastic. 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

An afternoon in Ghent with my friends Claire and Lora

Nostalgia at Primark 

As our friend Claire lives in Ghent, and Ghent is a fun town, Lora and I decided to go there for a change (generally we go to Antwerp).