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  • six months

    So here we are. It’s been six months. Six months that I moved to New York. A bit more now, since it is November already. And tomorrow probably Christmas. That’s how fast time goes these days. But that is also a good sign. It usually means that I am busy and having a blast. Which I am. Even though, just like for everything, it is not always pink clouds and all glitters.

    So, what have I been up to those six months in New York

    I moved to NYC on a J-2 visa, which is the spouse visa to a J-1. Basically, I depend on my husband for all things immigration. If his visa expires, mine does too and we both need to apply for a new visa. The thing is with J-2s, is that they don’t come in with a work permit. Bummer, I know. So I had to apply for one of those (and pay $410) as well as wait for three months. If they even decided to give me a work permit as they have the liberty to deny you one. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

    As I waited for my work permit to arrive, I had a lot of time on my hands to do a lot of things. Thus, I started a French booktube channel. And an English one for good measure. Since my audience is mostly English speaking. So I have both now. Please subscribe to whichever you prefer. I promise, I say interesting things sometimes! Since they are both booktube channels, I needed books to talk about. So I started to read again. A lot. Sometimes up to 10 books a month! Of which I give short reviews on this blog as well (May, June, July, August, September, October wrap ups if you fancy). I also spent quite a lot of money in books! Maybe too much. But that’s not the point.

    However, as I had months where I was reading way less for multiple reasons (traveling, job applications, not in the mood for reading), I did feel some pressure to always read more. Why? Because if I did not read, I would not have anything to talk about on my booktube channels. With those came pressure. However, I have decided to reduce the amount of videos I do to once a week on both so that I can still see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Since I was working as a freelancer on the side when I was living in the UK, I had to close my business account there. But because I still wanted to make a bit of money for myself with the client that stayed with me despite my move across the pond, and from blogging, I opened a business account in France. Why? Because the US and France signed a fiscal treaty that allows freelancer with a business address in France to work in the US and pay their taxes in France. The bonus is that France has a rather good social security and care system, despite very tedious administrative processes. As a matter of fact, as a micro-entrepreneur, I pay taxes and social contributions (both depend on my monthly revenue) which go towards my pension and social security contributions.

    Freelance wise, things got slower. My client had less work for me and I did not look for any more. Blogging wise, I must say, it went really well. For September mostly. I got quite a few Instagram and blog collaborations, which allowed me to make enough revenue to fund most of my trip to London, and cover my expenses in September and October. Unfortunately, both October and November haven’t been that great.

    I did not take the “going full-time blogger” thing very seriously despite what I said in my previous life update. However, it did feel nice to make money through blogging and I will explore this avenue more in the coming months! Especially because I have some exciting collaborations already coming up on both my Instagrams!

    Since I received my work permit at the end of August, I have also started to apply for jobs. As quick as it may be in New York, and as many jobs as there may be, it is still not that easy. I have had interviews. Quite a few. I have even been up to final stages. But so far, still nothing. I have been lead on by a company, been ghosted by some others, mislead by some others. Even though getting interviews is good news, it is starting to get exhausting and long (a bit discouraging too). I am not giving up, I am still applying but it hasn’t been the best experience. That’s how job hunting works I guess. I am still not sure whether I want an office job or want to be a full time freelancer.

    Thus, even though I will carry on applying for full-time jobs, I will also start to apply to freelancer jobs again. We will see what comes up first and decide accordingly.

    When it comes to friends, I was a bit afraid. Friendship in Europe and in the US works differently. Maybe it is a stereotype, but from what current and former non-US citizen residents seemed to say, friendship in the US mostly is about acquaintances. You hang out with your work colleagues, form rather superficial bonds that break that moment you change job. Or you have people you see more often who tell you that you should definitely hang out or go for coffee and then never follow through. I assume if you have a friend group from university, then it’s different. However, I managed to meet a few people and make a few friends still. Sure, I had some help through Facebook groups and apps, but still. When we say we should do something, we do it.

    I have met fashion bloggers to take photos with, other content creators and brunch buddies, as well as friends I see on regular basis for brunch, dinner or drinks. Of course, life happens and sometimes, I do not see them as often as I would like to. But I feel I still did good when it comes to forming friendships in a new city.

    When it comes to New York itself, well… It is big, cramped, noisy and smelly, I am not gonna lie. It is very different from London and often fantasized because of all the TV shows taking place there (Friends, Gossip Girl, Sex & The City). Sometimes, it can be overwhelming and it takes some time getting used to. But once you know the city (or think you know it), you are fine. I go everywhere riding a bike, it is much faster that both subway and buses. Despite all the cars, NYC is quite bike friendly with bike lanes everywhere.

    There is a lot to see in the city and I have not seen even 1% off it. Sure Central Park, the village, Greenwich, the bridges and some other things have been ticked off the list. But most things are still there. The only museum I have been to? The museum of Chinese immigration. But I am confident I will get to explore the MoMA or the Met soon.

    New York has an amazing food scene. Not because it is typically American but because it brings together all the food from all around the world. What do you want? Italian, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, you name it. There will be something. That’s how it is. The variety is incredible. And since very often eating out is just as expensive as buying groceries, what do you do? You eat out, yes! So yes, I have gained some weight. Philip and I have been changing our eating habits lately and being a bit healthier so we are confident we can make up for what we gained.

    On other news, I am still baking (of course). You can check out one of my latest recipes. I shared the cupcakes with the maintenance team in our building and Philip brought the remaining to work. The cupcakes did not last long. I have also started to learn German. Philip is German so that makes sense. It’s been four months now. I am still a beginner but can speak a few sentences. It’s been super fun so far!

    Remember a few months ago when I still could not believe I was in New York and how long it took to sink in? Well, now, it’s fully sunken in. I live in New York, I go around the city easy peasy, I know good places and it is starting to feel like home. We are not going back to France nor Germany for Christmas and will have our very first New York Christmas and New Year. We are both super excited, it’s gonna be amazing! I can’t wait to go Christmas tree shopping!

    six months six months

    Shop my outfit
    Faux leather Jacket – Shein
    Open back dress – Boohoo
    Gryffindor scarf – The Boy Wizard
    Boots – Primark
    Bag – Primark

    So that’s all I have been up to in the past six months in New York. It feels like I landed yesterday. That is how fast time goes. Have you been to New York? Or moved somewhere new? How have you been these past few months? Anything exciting in the pipes?

    Are you subscribed to my English Youtube channel yet?

    Thanks a lot for stopping by. Hope you liked this post.

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

    Follow:

    October in books

    Ah October. Barely started, already over. It went in a flash. Mostly because I spent two weeks in Europe. Germany and the UK. Visiting family, attending a wedding and seeing friends. I also made the most of my time in London to shoot a lot of content and kick off my autumn feed.

    First, because New York does not have floral displays. Second, because a photographer in NYC cost at least $250 per hour while a photographer in London will charge you the same for half a day. Right now I am super broke, so the choice was an easy one!

    But back to books! I read five books in October. Not my best month, not my worst. It is definitely better than September, which was such a disappointing reading month. But let’s get cracking so that you know what I mean!

    1. Days Of Blood And Starlight, Laini Tailor

    Author: Laini Taylor
    Published: February 2014
    Genre: YA
    Pages: 544
    Series: Daughter Of Smoke And Bone

    Plot: 4.5/5
    Characters: 5/5
    Ending: 4.5/5

    Synopsis: Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is–and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

    Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life. While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of a battle: a battle for redemption. But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dreams?

    My review: I read this book at the beginning of October and I read it fairly quick. It was easy to read through. The writing is beautiful and the story packed with action and suspence.

    I loved Akiva’s character development. Book one mostly focused on Karou finding out who she is. Here, Akiva questions his beliefs, his father’s actions, the angels’ mission and challenges the backwards views on Chimeras. It was really interesting to see Akiva convincing others around him to change as well. This book was unpredictable and full of suspence.

    I loved the opposition Chimeras/Humans. Chimeras are very powerful, strong, though, built for battle, and have no time to worry about life. Yet, they are fascinated by humans and the art they produce. While Humans who are weaker, more sensitive and have “easy lives” are fascinated by the Chimeras. Which puts both on an equal level. They have different strengths. One isn’t better than the other, they are just different.

    In conclusion, read the series, it’s amazing. So far! Now, onto book 3!

    2. A Court Of Mist And Fury, Sarah J Maas

    Author: Sarah J Maas
    Published: May 2016
    Genre: YA
    Pages: 640
    Series: ACOTAR

    Plot: 4.5/5
    Characters: 4/5
    Ending: 4.5/5

    Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court, but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

    Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

    My review: It’s not the first time I read this book. As a matter of fact, it is my favorite book in the trilogy. As I was traveling while reading, the story felt cut into pieces. Thus the read wasn’t as enjoyable to me as it was in the past. I still very much like the book though!

    However, as I re-read, I picked up details that I didn’t see before. When Feyre decides that Tamlin is the vilain in her story, she instantly forgets and forgives everything Rhysand did under the mountain in book one. It is something I am not comfortable with. He did some pretty horrible things, including drugging her. That she forgives, I understand. That she forgets, I don’t. You can’t forget something like that. And even though the process of forgiving takes time, I would still have liked to have more time dedicated to Rhysand making amend for what he did and mentioning how he does not expect to be forgiven for this as it is unforgivable.

    Something else that I am growing a bit annoyed with, is the constant act of playing evil, cruel, cunning, dark High Lord. All of which is to gain respect from others, inspire fear in its own and other people, have his power unchallenged and rule secured. Why do men have to act tough to rule? Why is it the only way to be in power and earn people’s respect? Positions of authority seem to require of men to be dicks. Even women who lead tend to adopt masculine behavior to prove they deserve their position. How toxic.

    It does raises an excellent question – and I don’t know if it was on purpose or just me interpreting – but it is indeed challenged in book three. The Night Court needs other courts’ help and having been dicks all this time, they are unlikely to get it. So, they want to show their actuel selves to get people’s trust but also prove that kindness is great when it comes to ruling. As Velaris is the best example of.

    Anyway, I still love this book. However, having read it not so long ago, it was probably too fresh in my mind. And being distracted while reading didn’t make the experience amazing. Still, I will always recommend this book!

    3. Scarlet, Marissa Meyer

    Author: Marissa Meyer
    Published: February 2013
    Genre: YA Sci-Fi
    Pages: 464
    Series: The Lunar Chronicles

    Plot: 3.5/5
    Characters: 4/5
    Ending: 4.5/5

    Synopsis: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

    Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

    My review: I read Cinder last month and I loved it. I didn’t expect to, so it was a great surprise! It also got me out of a reading slump! Thus, you can get how excited I was to read Scarlet.

    I found the first half of the book very slow. Yes, the book introduces three new characters and establishes a context for each. But it did feel slow and long. I found Wolf as a character very cliché: your usual broody secretive bad boy. Which made his character quite predictable.

    However, the second half of the book was much better. The plot fastened, thickened. Angst and expectations built up. All the characters were about to meet up and mysteries were about to be solved. I liked this second half much more and I can’t wait to read book three.

    I was a bit disappointed in Emperor Kai’s character as I found him powerless, irrelevant and insignificant to the plot. It is probably to keep the emphasis on Scarlet and Cinder, but his part did not feel realistic. If Levana wants to invade the whole of earth, how it is that no leader but Kai is standing up to her? Not very well I might add. Other leaders have all interest in siding with Kai to challenge Levana’s attempt to invade earth. But other than that, still very excited to read book three!

    4. The Wicked Deep, Shea Ernshaw

    Author: Shea Ernshaw
    Published: March 2016
    Genre: YA
    Pages: 320

    Plot: 1.5/5
    Characters: 2/5
    Ending: 2/5

    Synopsis: Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow… Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

    Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into. Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

    But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

    My review: I didn’t have massive expectations about this book. Yet, since it was so hyped up, I still wanted it to be good. Unfortunately, I didn’t find that it was.

    The plot as a whole was very predictable. Half-way through the book, I knew how everything would end. I knew who was whom, possessing whom, killing whom. I did find the female characters rather cliché. We have the usual “outcast” who isn’t the prettiest, most charming, hottest, etc but who still gets the guy. She does not really have friends but for another outcast, a girl who is a bit of a nerd.

    Another thing that annoyed me is the depiction of female relationships. Where they can only be based on jealousy, envy, hatred, competition, etc. Back in the Swan Sisters days, women jealous of their beauty, attractiveness, capacity to seduce men, made sure they’d be sentenced as witches. At present day in the book, we can still find those ruining girls relationships.

    I could not care for any of the characters, nor could I invest myself in the story. To be honest, I don’t get the hype around this book and why everybody is so obsessed.

    5. This Salvage Song, Victoria Schwab

    Author: Victoria Schwab
    Published: March 2017
    Genre: YA Dystopian
    Pages: 480
    Series: Monsters of Verity

    Plot: 4.5/5
    Characters: 4.5/5
    Ending: 4/5

    Synopsis: Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music.

    When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

    My review: I think this book reconciled me with reading and YA! It was just so good! From page 1, you have action, mystery and loads of questions popping up in your mind that need answers. The author does not play around and get into it straight away. 

    I loved August. He was such a good characters. So contrasted and multidimensional, far away for your usual cliché male character. He had good emotional depth, an interesting background and no trace of toxic masculinity whatsoever.

    I wasn’t the biggest fan of Kate to start with. She did start as your usual bad ass violent tough cliché girl but grew as something very different. Plus, her daddy issues were sort of annoying at some point. Such a good character development though. How she matures, distances herself from her father, sees him for what he actually is.

    So, so good! And the whole story was so well-built and written. I can’t wait to read book 2!

    october

    So that’s it for all the books I read in October. Again, not that many but still a good number in my opinion. Also, much better books than the month before, so that’s a win!

    What did you read back in October? Any books that you lived? Or recommendations for us? Was it a good month?

    Are you subscribe to my English Youtube channel yet?

    Thanks for stopping by! Hope you liked this pot.

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

     

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    Gryffindor

    How much of a Harry Potter fan are you? I feel like I start all my Harry Potter related post with this question! But it always work. If you are a potterhead like me, there is no chance you have not taken the Hogwarts House test on Pottermore/Wizarding World. I did and the sorting hat put me in Gryffindor! So I figured, why not show it off a bit?!

    One of the reasons why I was so excited about being in London last month is because of all the Harry Potter related things and shops. We don’t have that many of those in NYC. Primark  is way too far away and their Harry Potter collection is super small. Also, sure, you can order online, but there isn’t the thrill of the Harry Potter shop experience!

    First thing I did after Philip left London and I finished brunch with Helen (a fellow Harry Potter lover, sorted into Ravenclaw)? Head over to Primark of course! After checking out their Harry Potter collection, I sort of decided that I wanted to dedicate a full outfit to the house I had been sorted into. Gryffindor. Remember the song from the sorting hat?

    You might belong in Gryffindor,
    Where dwell the brave at heart,
    Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
    Set Gryffindors apart

    Proudly sporting a Gryffindor jumper, am I? I actually wasn’t after this one, but after the sweater, which unfortunately wasn’t available in Tottenham Court Road. But I decide the knit would do just as well and that I had the perfect skirt to style it with! I had seen the cutest satchel Hogwarts bag on Instagram so of course, it was one of the first things that made into to my shopping basket while in the store!

    And just because winter is around the corner, that in NYC winter apparently is hell, I needed some equipment. Why not tell everybody in the street which house I was sorted into by proudly wearing Gryffindor colors around my neck and on my head?

    Now, am I really a Gryffindor? I did take the test a few months ago and was sorting in Gryffindor. However, eight questions cannot really tell you, can they? I  know the test changed and it is now much longer and should have more precise results. I have not taken it yet… too afraid I might be sorted elsewhere, am I?! Maybe I should make a video of me taking the new test. Yes, now that I have started Youtube in English, that could make a nice video!

    Do you remember what are Gryffindors traits and qualities? Courage, bravery, determination, daring, nerve and chivalry. Do I fiit all those? To some extent yes, I believe so. I did move to countries on the other side of the world without knowing the language. So I’d call that brave and daring. I guess courage is something that you build as you grow up or find something to fight for. I am quite determined, don’t often give up and always keep my cool no matter what. So I guess I fit most of those criteria. Now, will the new test leave me in Gryffindor? We shall see!

    I got a few others things from Primark. Some regular fashion, but other Harry Potter related of course! A Gryffindor mug, a Christmas advent calendar, some socks and a Hogwarts cross body bag. What can I say? I saw Cherry Wallis sporting it so decided I needed this bag too!

    I wanted to shoot this outfit with a wand, as I do have Hermione’s. However, since I traveled in the way in with a carry on luggage, I was not sure security would let me have something pointy in my bag. So had to leave it behind. Maybe next time! Fantastic Beasts was filmed in NYC after all, so I could definitely have another Harry Potter themed photoshoot!

    Gryffindor Gryffindor

    Shop my oufit
    Gryffindor Jumper – Primark
    Red skirt – Boohoo
    Over the knee boots – Shein*
    Harry Potter Beanie – Primark
    Harry Potter scarf – Primark

    What about you? Are you a Harry Potter fan? How many times have you read the books? Or seen the movies? Did you take the sorting hat test? Which house were you sorting into?

    I hope you liked this post. Thanks a lot for stopping by!

    Did you know? I started a Youtube channel in English! Why not check it out and subscribe?!

    Photos by Emily Marven

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

    *Gifted items.

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    Are you a Harry Potter fan? A Potterhead as they are being called? Me too! Harry Potter is the one saga I can read and re-read, watch and re-watch without ever being bored, without any pleasure! So of course, I do love to do anything Harry Potter related! A few months ago I baked Harry Potter’s birthday cake! Today’s I am baking butterbeer cupcakes!

    Butterbeer. Rings a bell?! As in that drink they get so often! And that looks so delicious! I also plan on trying to make those. But I was in the mood for cupcakes so butterbeer cupcakes I baked! And here’s the recipe!

    Ingredients for the butterbeer cupcakes

    For the cupcakes For the butterscotch ganache For the frosting

    -2 cups flour

    -1 cup light brown sugar

    -1 tsp baking powder

    -1 tsp baking soda

    -1/2 tsp salt

    -3 eggs

    -1/2 vegetable oil

    -1 tsp vanilla extract

    -1/2 cup buttermilk

    -1/2 cup cream soda

    -3/4 cup butterscotch chips

    -1/2 cup heavy cream

    -2 cups heavy cream

    -1/3 cup butterscotch instant pudding mix dry

    -1/2 cup icing sugar

    Method for the cupcakes

    1. The butterbeer sponges. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Line cupcake pans with muffins paper cups.

    2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk until well mixed.

    3. In the bowl of a food processor, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract and buttermilk.

    4. Beat in the dry ingredients and the cream soda, alternating between the two until fully incorporated.

    5. Add 1/4 batter in each cupcake cup. Put in the oven for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven once baked and let cool on a cooling rack.

    6. The butterscotch ganache. Make the butterscotch sauce while the cupcakes are cooling. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a pan.

    7. Add in the butterscotch chips. Turn off the heat. Let sit for a few minutes.

    8. Whisk cream and chips together until the sauce is smooth. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes so that it thickens.

    9. The frosting. In the bowl of a food processor, combine together the heavy cream, butterscotch instant pudding mix and icing sugar. Beat until the cream is light and fluffy.

    10. Remove the butterscotch ganache from the fridge. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the sauce. Place cupcakes in the fridge for 15 minutes for the sauce to sit.

    11. Place frosting into a pipping bag. Remove cupcakes from the oven. Pipe frosting on top of each sponge. With a fork, sprinkle leftover ganache on top of the frosting. Optional – sprinkle decorative sprinkles. Put in the freezer for a few minutes.

    12. Remove from the freezer. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!

    butterbeer cupcakes butterbeer cupcakes butterbeer cupcakes

    What do you think? How do they look? Appetizing right?! And they do taste delicious! Have you ever tried butterbeer? Fancy making those at home?

    Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you liked this post!

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

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    Some of you may already know… I was in London for a week in October. We were invited to a wedding in Scotland, used the occasion to see family in Germany and stay some days in the capital. After my husband flew back to the US for a conference, I stayed with Ana for the remaining of my stay. While she was at work, of course, I made the most of my time to create content. And put together a little London Autumn Lookbook.

    I have to admit, I did miss London a lot. For my friends still there, the city itself, the shopping scene, the Harry Potter fandom scene (some content on that coming up soon!) but also… for the floral displays. Winter, spring, summer or autumn, London never disappoints when it comes to Instagrammable displays and photo opportunities. 

    So of course, again, I made the most of all the gorgeous displays while I was there. I shot sixteen different outfits. A few things I had brought with me from the US, a few other things were sent by brands I work with on a monthly basis, and some other things, I bought while there. I even had to purchase a suitcase and pay for an extra luggage on the plane!

    But I got gorgeous photos and more than a month worth of Instagram content, so it was all worth it! And now, without further ado, let’s get into this little London Autumn Lookbook!

    1. Orange Is The New Black

    I love bright colors. They just pop and bring joy. To me at least. And just in general, they bring some cheer on a gloomy day. Especially in winter when everybody is wearing black, grey or maroon. Even in Autumn actually. Foliage and trees might be yellow, red and orange, people still wear dark colors. I guess they help keep you warm. 

    Although I already gave in to yellow and red in previous posts with previous outfits, I am not sure the same happened with orange. I mean, until now. Because Shein sent me this gorgeous orange wrap dress, and even though it is way shorter than I expected, I still quite like the design! It would have needed some ironing but oh well, maybe next time!

    Accessories-wise, you can never go wrong with a black bag and a black pair of shoes. Sandals here, just because I thought they were super pretty! The bag has a little Chanel vibe and is so big, I could fit in so much of my things! Something to keep in mind for later! I finished the look with a long camel coat. I usually don’t wear coats that are that long. First because I am not so tall so I am always afraid it might look ridiculous on me. Second, just because I never thought I could pull it off. Turns out I can, and I have been wearing a lot ever since! It’s from Primark and it is only £30!

    Also, note that it started raining a lot as we were shooting this last outfit. We had outrun the rain till then so good thing it was the last outfit!

    London Autumn Lookbook London Autumn Lookbook

    Shop my outfit
    Use code 9TEA for 15% off your Shein order
    Camel Coat – Primark
    Orange Wrap Dress – Shein*
    Black Back – Shein*
    Sandals – Shein*

    2. Yes To The Turtleneck

    So this is going to sound very basic to a lot of people but I never wore a turtleneck jumper before this photoshoot. Yes, it is the truth. Why? I don’t know… Maybe because it was considered unfashionable as I grew up? A piece only old people or teachers wear? And when it seemed to be back in fashion, I did not know if it would look good on me.

    And then… I saw the Stacey Solomon x Primark collection on Instagram. I spotted this particular turtleneck and… love at first sight! It looked comfy, chunky and the colors were perfect. How well does it go with the faux leather skirt?! Thus, the first thing I did after Philip left London and I finished brunch with Helen? Run into Primark and shop the collection!

    The jumper, the skirt, the shoes (which I also find amazing) and the coat are all from that particular collection. And to be honest, if my wallet had been larger, I would have gave into buying way more pieces! I did get more things from Primark in general, mainly in the Harry Potter section (more on this soon).

    This outfit is to my opinion perfect for late fall when it gets chilly out there, even more perfect for winter. I love that the coat is a bit oversized, which allows to wear chunky jumpers underneath!

    London Autumn Lookbook London Autumn Lookbook

    Shop my outfit
    Camel Coat – Primark
    Checkered Turtleneck – Primark
    Midi Skirt – Primark
    Cross Body Bag – Shein*
    Low Boots – Primark

    3. Simple Is The New Chic

    As much as I love elaborate outfits, with several different pieces, intricate designs and very stylish directions, I also do love something simple from time to time. Actually, most of the time. And very simple pieces can be styled in very bold ways. Maybe not when it comes to this outfit, I must admit, but you can turn boring into interesting quite easily!

    Of course a good background with a beautiful autumn display do help an outfit to make it into an autumn lookbook. But beyond that. The simplest red skater dress worn with a leather jacket and over the knee boots do make for something both stylish and comfortable!

    The dress is a gift from Romwe and when I picked it, I liked the look of it even though I was a bit afraid if might not make for great outfit photos on Instagram. But you know what?! It is about what you like to wear rather than what people on Instagram might like. Because if you feel uncomfortable in what you are wearing, it will show on the photos anyway!

    This outfit works at the beginning of fall when it is not too cold outside. In New York City it is perfect at the moment, since temperatures still aren’t below 15°C. In the UK, I would recommend maybe an actual winter coat!

    London Autumn Lookbook

    Shop my outfit
    Use code CORINNE for 10% off your Romwe order
    Leather Jacket – Shein*
    Red Dress – Romwe*
    Knee High Boots – Shein*
    Cross Body Bag – Shein*

    What is your favorite outfit? Any colors or pieces you like to wear during autumn? What do you think of this autumn lookbook? Have you found some gorgeous autumnal display where you live?

    Thanks a lot for stopping by. Hope you liked this post!

    Did you know? I started a Youtube channel in English! Why not check it out and subscribe?!

    Photos by Emily Marven

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

    *Gifted items.

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    phone

    How much time do you spend on your phone? More than what you want to? Because same! I can’t help it! I see the screen lighting up and I feel this irresistible need to check my phone out, see the cause of that notification. My brain sings “do it, do it, do it” and I do it. Yet, as I did rethink my use of Instagram and changed my approach to the app, I noticed that I spent way less time on my phone!

    When it comes to Instagram of course! But what about other apps, other things? Because they too send notifications, light up my screen, push me to check my phone out! And prevent me to do other things. I have no will power. So I needed to come up with some easy solutions to stay away from my phone, reduce my screen time and make the most of the time I save! And here they are!

    1. Turn off notifications

    What makes you look at your phone when you don’t really need to? The screen lighting up and a notification popping up. As I am writing this, I got two notifications from Instagram so of course, I had to unlock the screen and check them out. The thing with Instagram and social media in general is that, it has a very high opportunity cost. Do you really think you will only check that notification? Of course not! You will probably also watch a few stories, scroll for a bit, like some photos, and just like that, it’s an hour gone!

    My advice? Even if it kills you, go into your settings, and turn off notifications for each app one by one. Not all apps of course, but the one that are most likely to bombard you with notifications: Instagram, twitter, facebook. If the app does not notify you that someone liked your photo, you won’t know so are less likely to check it out.

    2. Put your phone on silent and sleep mode

    I would not turn all notifications off. Social media yes, whatsApp and messages? No. Because when it comes to those, you never know, but they might need a very quick answer. However, you don’t have to hear your phone vibrate each time something comes up. Especially if you are at work or just trying to have a quiet evening in. How it works? So easy, you switch off to silent mode. You can decide what sort of silent mode you want in your settings: wether total silent or a vibration.

    iOS also gives you the choice to silence text and calls, or just texts. So that if you someone calls you, you phone will still ring. But in the end, text will light up your screen but won’t make your phone ring. You can also put your phone in sleep mode so that nothing shows up on your screen. It is perfect when you are watching a movie or sleeping.

    3. Unable private and work emails

    This is something I talked about already in a previous blog post. I used to have my work email on my phone. Of course, in the evening or over the weekend, my inbox would always become packed with new emails. Thus, I was always so tempted to check them out, have a read and sometimes even send a reply. On my free time!

    Removing your work emails from your phone helps you get rid off a stress factor (you are at home, you can’t do much for work even if it is urgent, so better not know and have a relaxing weekend), remove the temptation to check them out and helps have a clean break with work once you get home. Plus, of course, it makes you spend less time on your phone. As a rule of thumb, I would not add my work email to my phone. I’d check them out on my laptops if need be, but that’s it. When it comes to private emails, at the weekend, I unable them and switch them back on when the week starts again.

    4. Remove all unnecessary apps

    By unnecessary apps, I mean the ones that you downloaded just to fill the space on your phone, that are not essential to your lifestyle and that you might check out once in a blue moon. Also, gaming apps. Yes, yes, sure, Candy Crush is great when you are on the tube, commuting to work. But let’s be honest, you’ll play even when not on the tube and you’ll spend a lot of time doing it. I know what I am talking about. Remove those and go grab a book!

    Think about all the apps on your phone that you check out, out of reflex or boredom. Do you really need them there? Even apps that may seem essentials to you, might actually not be. As in you won’t miss them. For example, I deleted Facebook from my phone because it was there, blue and shiny, and I rarely checked it out. Only when I had a red dot at the corner to tell me something was on. I’d open the app just to remove the dot (yeah, it disturbs me). Time to Marie Kondo your phone and remove some temptation!

    5. Keep your phone far away from you

    Your phone is like a cookie. If it is there, you want to eat one. Until the jar is empty. You might get an indigestion at the end but you still got all the cookies. If your phone is next to you, it’s easy to grab it and unlock it. Especially if not all notifications have been turned off. Because you can well see your screen lighting up! Leave your phone on the table when you are on the couch. On your night stand when you read a book. Face down, so that the light produced when it received a notification won’t distract you.

    You can also stay away from your phone in situation where it is not absolutely needed. Write a list on paper when grocery shopping. Leave the phone in your bag while in the office. Leave it home while going to the restaurant. You might feel naked without “your precious” at first but will get used to it and will find being without it quite agreeable. 

    Another trick for iPhone users is to turn your screen to black and white. Android users don’t get the option but it can be quite radical for iOS users. Go into Settings / General / Accessibility / Display & Text Size / Color Filters. Everything on your phone will be white, grey or black. And those colors aren’t of the happy type. If looking are you phone makes you sad (because it’s grey, got it?), then you won’t look at it that much! I think. Maybe. I need to try this one to make sure!

    phone phone phone

    Shop my outfit
    Use 9TEA for 15% Off your Shein order
    Leather Jacket – Shein*
    Bicolor Jumper – Shein*
    Velvet Midi Skirt – Shein*
    Cross Body Bag – Shein*
    Low Boots – Primark

    How much time do you spend on your phone? How do you stay away from it? What are your top tips to spend less time on your smartphone? 

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope you liked this post.

    Photos by Junya Yashiki

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

    *Gifted items.

     

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    Covent Garden

    Covent Garden is probably one of the most iconic squares in London. Why you may ask? First, because it is super cute. Second, because it is very Instagrammable. Third, because there is so much to do and see! It is at the center of the city, close to all things interesting in walkable distance: theaters, museums, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, etc. 

    However, there are so many things to do, it can quickly feel overwhelming. Which is why I am here to help. Whether staying at a Covent Garden Hotel, at an AirBnB further away or totally somewhere else, you will want to read this little guide on what the place has to offer!

    Where to Eat

    Nothing is more important than food, am I right?! As you can imagine, Covent Garden is a prime tourist destination in London and is always very busy. Fortunately, there are quite a few food options available around the square so you will always find somewhere to eat! And since I have tried a few of them myself, I can vouch for them!

    • Ivy Market Grill: You must know the Ivy by now. They have many branches in London and across the UK. I had the opportunity to eat at the Ivy, both in London and Edinburgh. The Ivy never disappoints! Going for brunch? The buttermilk pancakes are a killer! Lunch? What about the kings prawn curry? So delicious! The Ivy does some amazing cocktails to drink alongside your meal. My favs? Aperol Spritz and Pink Gin Fizz! That’s where I went on the day we visited Covent Garden with my husband!
    • Ladurée: No need to tell you who Ladurée is. Gossip Girl addicts will know their macarons. Probably everybody will actually! I did not had lunch at Ladurée but cocktails and some afternoon tea treats: macarons and lemon pie. Both were delicious. They do however offer some lunch options such as omelette, eggs and cheese platters!
    • Pain Quotidien: The perfect place for brunch or a quick lunch. They do healthy comfort food and are all about bread! Who does not love bread? It is a way of life! Shakshuka, avocado toast, frittata, simple meals yet absolutely delicious!
    • Aubaine Deli, VyTA, Shake Shack, Dirty Martini & more.

    Covent Garden

    Covent Garden

    What To See

    Whether you are just walking through Covent Garden, having a quick look or planning to spend some time on the square, there will always be some entertainment! And you will never be disappointed!

    • London Transport Museum: Passionate about urban transport? Or maybe just curious about it? This is the place for you! The museum explores the transport heritage of London and the growth of the city. Trains, underground carriages, trams, taxis; 450,000 items, including an impressive collection of over 100,000 photos documenting the changing face of the city since 1800! Tickets are free for children and £16.50 for adults if booked online!
    • Street Performances: One of Covent Garden’s most famous features I guess! Street performers! Whether at the end of James Street, within the market itself or on the performance area, there is always some show going on. The public even get to participate when performers pick someone in the audience to take part!
    • The Lion King: I know that technically speaking it is not on Covent Garden but a few streets away at the Lyceum theater. But it still counts! And that’s something you will want to see! My then-boyfriend-now-husband took me to see the Lion King for my 26th birthday. Best present ever! A few second in the cercle of life and I was crying! What an experience!

    Covent Garden

    Where To Shop

    Are you a shopping lover? Worry not, Covent Garden is the right place! Whether on the piazza itself or on the neighboring streets, you are in for a great shopping experience!

    • Covent Garden: The square is a shopping heaven! On Floral Street, King Street and in the market, from tech brands and accessories to fashion, shoes and make up, there is all you need! Chocolate or pastry lovers? You’ll find that too at Godiva, Ladurée, Hotel Chocolat, Whittard, etc! 
    • Jubilee Market Hall: I am a bit less familiar with Jubilee Market Hall because I never really spent that much time there. However, even a quick look will tell you what it is! Busting with colors and activity, you will find different stalls selling all sort of items! Antiques and collectables, general market, or art and craft, it is all worth a look!
    • James Street & Long Acre: Covent Garden station’s exit is on James Street where you will find a lot of shops. Fashion, beauty, accessories and more, anything you might need! The other station’s exit is Long Acre, where you’ve got even more stores. If you walk a bit further, you get to Neil’s Yard, a hidden colorful super cute tiny square packed with restaurants!

    Covent Garden

    Where To Pose

    You definitely cannot go to Covent Garden without snapping that Instagram shot, can you?! Since the whole square is super Instagrammable, you are in for a treat!

    • The Ivy Market Grill: A great place for food but also a great place for photo! Now sporting a gorgeous flower arch on their door, the Ivy changes display as the seasons go! Florals are in at the moment on Instagram, so you are guaranteed some good engagement on the app with such a photo!
    • Covent Garden Performance Area: Just behind the performance area, by one of the main entrances to the market, lays an absolutely gorgeous display. This too changes as the seasons go! A piano for summer and a pumpkin carriage for fall! It was being set up when I visited Covent Garden so did not get to take a photo but let me tell you, it is spectacular now! You can also find decorated swings all around the square for more photo opportunities!
    • Lower Covent Garden: Covent Garden is on two levels. Street level of course with all the shops and performers, and lower level with more shops and restaurants! There too you can get a cute snapshot of yourself leaning against a floral display or just sitting at a table!

    Covent Garden

    How often do you visit Covent Garden? Do you like the place? What do you usually do there? What is your favorite place in London?

    Thanks a lot for stopping by. Hope you liked this post.

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

    *This is a collaborative post. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own

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    people unfollow

    Unfollowing people on Instagram is taboo in the influencer industry. First, because these days, following on Instagram equals forming a friendship. Thus, I let you guess what unfollowing means. Even though, obviously, a friendship goes way beyond following someone on Instagram. Secondly, of course, because of the follow/unfollow game. And third, because, just in general, it hurts quite a bit when someone unfollows you, especially when you comment on their content all the time. But you know why, when people unfollow you, it can actually be quite good for you!

    And you know why? Sure you do!

    Because like all human beings, you want to know “why”. In real life, you want to know why some people don’t like you, what you’ve done to deserve this dislike. On Instagram, you want to know why you are unfollowed. And sure, some reasons might be petty or follow/unfollow game. But some other, as hurtful as they may be, can turn out to be very good for you, your Instagram, your engagement rate and your career as a blogger!

    1. You get rid off non genuine followers

    Why would someone follow you? The most obvious reason is that they like your content. And that they would unfollow if they no longer do. Easy. However, not everyone will follow you for that reason. Some Instagram users will follow you expecting something in return. A follow back most of the time. If they don’t get it, they will unfollow. Maybe you followed them first and they gave you a follow back just because. Or you took part in an Instagram follow thread and had no choice but to reciprocate. And they eventually unfollowed you.

    But in the end, there probably wasn’t a real interest in your work. Not to worry, this is good for you! That they unfollowed I mean! Just because… only people who are truly and genuinely interested in your content will stay, be loyal and engage.

    2. You narrow down your niche

    The hardest thing when it comes to blogging? Picking your niche. Well, maybe not the hardest, but a tough one. You cannot blog nor Instagram for everyone. I mean, you could but then, people would not engage with each photo you put out there but just the ones that relate to their interest. Which would decrease your engagement rate. When you pick a niche (if you wish to, it’s not compulsory), you post content relating to that particular niche of course.

    Let say you decide you want to focus on beauty. Oh no, fifteen people have unfollowed since you switched focus. Here is the silver lining: picking a niche helps weed out followers that aren’t interested. In the end, you filter out people that are not your ideal customers. Meaning, people that you would not influence, that would not convert and that, as a consequence, would not help you bring value to brands. You want to create a community that loves what you create. Short-term it may be painful, but rewarding in the long run.

    3. You are increasing your engagement rate

    This is something I mentioned in my post on how to curate your perfect Instagram feed. Although it was from the perspective of you as a follower and not as someone that is being followed. But the same principles apply in the end! If someone that follows you does it for the wrong reasons and isn’t that much interested in your content, they are less likely to engage with it.

    You do not want ghost or inactive followers. Nor followers that, although increasing your following, decrease your engagement rate due to their inactivity. Furthermore, now that engagement rate is a key metrics in influencer marketing, that’s not something you want to happen. Better have a smaller and more engaged audience than thousands of followers that skip over all your photos! You want to be followed by people who care!

    4. You it is not, them it is

    Excuse the poor attempt at speaking like Yoda. I needed a sentence starting with “you” like the previous headlines!

    Back when I was at university, I took a class called Organizational Behavior. Among all the principles we studied, one really caught my attention: fundamental attribution error. It is the tendency people have to overemphasize personal characteristics and ignore situational factors in judging others’ behavior. In other words, if someone has a certain behavior towards me on a certain day, I will think it is because I have done something wrong. However, it might just be because they got bad news earlier, a bad night sleep, are having a bad day, etc.

    Thus, it is not you, it is them. Yes. Sometimes it might be you indeed. Like if you have been a dick in real life with someone who was following you. You can’t expect them to stay! However, when people unfollow you, the first thing you will tell yourself is “what have I done?”. Nothing actually. You can relax and breathe. It is them and their decision is based on many factors, which are very rarely about you personally. 

    Since the number of followers you have really often determines your worth in the influencer industry, we are all incline to panic when we lose followers. And to question ourselves as well as our entire work. The thing is, most of the time, it really isn’t you. And whether it actually is (or not), it is actually not a bad thing when people unfollow you! It helps you create a community of people who love your content, care about what you do, are engaged, and increase your engagement rate!

    people unfollow people unfollow

    Shop my outfit

    What do you think? What is your first reaction when someone unfollow you? Do you agree with those four statements? Do you often go through your followers to do some cleaning of inactive and ghost users?

    Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

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    make money fashion blogging

    Blogging can be many things: a hobby, a side hustle, a full-time job. While some may say that you should not start blogging for the money, I say, hell yes, you should! That’s a very good reason to do it! And if you are a fashionista and ever wondered how to make money fashion blogging and need answers, you are in the right place.

    We all have our reasons when it comes to jobs and career. Some will choose their job because of how much money they can make. Others will prioritize passion over salary. Fair enough. But what if you can get both at once? What if blogging is your passion and you want to make it your full-time job? Because as much as you would love to live off fresh love and rose water, you still need money to sustain yourself, your blog and passion and to pay the bills!

    Although I will write a blog post on why you can absolutely get into blogging for the money (or all the other advantages it may provide) while also reminding people that it is not easy, I also want to quickly break the taboo of money in blogging. We all need it, we all work for it, even better if we make it through our passion. As a fashion blogger, this is mostly in this niche that my expertise lies!

    So here are my top 5 tips to make money fashion blogging.

    1. Blog And Instagram About Fashion

    Sounds obvious, right?! Well, if you have read my post on what I look for when working with influencers, you will know what I mean. Indeed, I have seen bloggers applying for fashion campaigns, not getting selected and then complaining about it. Friends, if fashion is not your niche or not a topic of your blog, you are just… off topic and not the right content creator for a fashion brand. Just that simple.

    So yes indeed, if you wish to make money fashion blogging, you need to create fashion content. Your blog and social media don’t have to focus specifically on fashion but it still need to have a significant fashion component. Otherwise, how can a brand know whether your audience is interested in fashion and likely to convert?

    2. Use 21Buttons Consistently

    I am quite new to the 21buttons app but I must say, it works very well. If I was to describe the app in few words I’d say it is Instagram shopping in its very own app. You create your account, upload your outfits, tag products on the photos, write a caption and hit publish. Your followers will see each new outfit and will have the opportunity to see the tagged products to shop them. For each click and purchase, you get a commission to goes up to 6%.

    I have been on 21Buttons for 4 months now and grew to 1550 followers by just posting my outfits (faster than I grow on Instagram I must say). It may seem a tiny amount but so far I made $36 (which basically will pay for my domain and blogging fees for a year). The app is very easy to use. What I love most about it that wherever your clothes come from, you can still tag them into the app. If a brand isn’t already in 21Buttons, you can add it and go to their website or google it through the app. Although it is better if you upload new outfits consistently, you won’t be punished if you don’t (like you’d be on Instagram).

    3. Use RewardStyle and Link Ninja

    Link Ninja is very useful when it comes to blogging as you can create an affiliate link from a product page to use on your blog. From that page, you can either use said affiliate link and/or add the product to your “favorite” or “shop the post” tab on rewardStyle.

    On the rewardStyle website, you can add products to your favorites, which you will find under the “products” menu. Those favorites will be automatically added to the “shop the post” tab, under the “apps” menu. From there, you will be able to select the pieces of your outfit and generate a code to use on your blog. This code will create a small outfit gallery showcasing everything you are wearing (see at the end of this post for an example).

    I think rewardStyle is great when it comes to showcasing outfits on your blog as it gives a visual representation of the products. It also shows the price for each outfit on your dashboard and tells how you much commission you can make, highlighting products with a high commission. The downside of rewardStyle is that brands have to be a partner, which mean that you may not be able to find all the products you need.

    4. Use LikeToKnowIt

    LikeToKnowIt is the phone app for rewardStyle where your followers can see your outfits. RewardStyle is your dashboard, LikeToKnowIt your window front if you wish. The principle is the same as for 21Buttons. You upload your photo, tag your outfit, write a caption and hit publish.

    However, since you are using the pieces already saved in your favorites via rewardStyle, it may happens that you can’t tag all the pieces you are wearing. For example, not all brands are partners. And some are in some countries but not in others. I find LikeToKnowIt harder to use than 21Buttons and much more time and energy consuming. Basically, you need to treat it entirely like its own social media and update your profile very often. But again, commissions usually are higher. It is a good option to make a passive income.

    5. Work With Fashion Brands

    Even though influencer marketing is still in its infancy, it is changing quite fast and becoming an integral part to any marketing strategy. While many brands do not have budget for paid collaborations, more and more of them do, and pay influencers to promote their products.

    Some influencers will work “for free” and “on a gifting basis only”. Thus, they will have no obligation to talk about the product on their socials. Nor will the brand have any control on the content quality. However, if the brand pays influencers, they will approve (or not) the content before posting, and will also get to dictate terms and requirements as well as guarantee that the product will appear on the influencer’s feed.

    Thus, as less and less influencers accept to work “for free” and more and more brands understand how influencer marketing works, more and more brands do pay influencers. Obviously, the bigger you are, the more likely you are to be chosen as a partner, and the higher your fee will be.

    You might not get paid by fashion brands straight away, but you can still work with them on a gifting basis or as an affiliate. First you will get clothes, which will save you some clothes money (hopefully). Second, by using 21Buttons, rewardStyle and/or LikeToKnowIt, you’ll make a bit of money anyway!

    Make Money Fashion Blogging Make Money Fashion Blogging

    Shop my outfit

    Are you a fashion blogger? And are you already making money fashion blogging? What other tips and advice do you have to make money fashion blogging?

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope you liked this post. 

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

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    September 2019

    And that’s another month gone. This year is flying by way too fast to my taste! But it also means that I am having a great time. So I guess it is good! When it comes to books, this month hasn’t been that good however. To be honest, I think it has been my worst reading month ever. September 2019 has been a bit disappointing.

    I started with a book that I could not get invested in, to move onto a story I really struggle to not DNF. Then, a good thing happened: a good surprise. To move onto a book that was rather bland despite a very promising summary, to move onto something that arose my curiosity but that I did not find that interesting.

    A month of September 2019 that put me in a reading slump. The only way I found to get back into reading was re-reading Harry Potter. It is a safe bet after all! But even then, I spotted elements that sort of disturb me a tiny bit. So here is my reading recap for September 2019.

    1. Batman Nightwalker, Marie Lu

    Author: Marie Lu
    Published: January 2018
    Genre: YA
    Pages: 288
    Series: DC Icons

    Plot: 3/5
    Characters: 2.5/5
    Ending: 3.5/5

    Summary: Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

    The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list. Bruce is turning eighteen and inheriting his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he could ever desire. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice that leads to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison. There, he meets Madeleine Wallace, a brilliant killer with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

    Bruce Wayne is proof that you don’t need superpowers to be a super hero, but can he survive Madeleine’s game of tense intrigue and deception?

    My review: I don’t really know what I expected here. Everybody talks about Marie Lu and how amazing her books are. I had read Catwoman Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas from the same DC Icons Series. Thus, I assumed this book would be good too. My mistake.

    I don’t have much to say about Batman Nightwalker. It was not bad as I did not want at any point to DNF it. However, it was not good either. I did not feel drawn to the story, invested nor did I feel any connection or emotional attachment to the characters. Which were a tad cliché by the way. I appreciated that for once we did not had a broody dark Batman like we do in the movies. However, the story itself felt quite bland to me, rather predictable.

    The only way to describe the emotions I have felt while reading this book is indifference. There was no hate, nor love about this book. I was reading the story with indifference.

    2. Wilder Girls, Rory Power

    Author: Rory Power
    Published: July 2019
    Genre: YA
    Pages: 369

    Plot: 2/5
    Characters: 2.5/5
    Ending: 3/5

    Summary: It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

    It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

    But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

    My review: Another big disappointment. Wilder Girls is a novel I have seen in bookstores, on Booktube, talked about a lot. It had a great premise and was giving me a female LGBTQ+ relationship, women as sole characters of the book, a plot with a Contagion vibe and a gorgeous cover.

    This book sold me dreams but did not live up to it. The plot was very slow and way too descriptive. The story did not move at all, anything barely happens in the first 300 pages of the book and even then, it was not intense nor that interesting. We were giving a lot of information but never the information we wanted. No questions are answered. The backstory of the school, what happened and why it happened, where the disease comes from, why it affects the girls in this way. Why teenagers have a different reaction to the disease than grown ups, why the few mens of the island have a different reaction too. No explanation at all. Or bits and pieces here and there but nothing to help understand.

    I did not feel that the romantic relationship was strong nor realistic. There is love between the girls at the boarding school. There is friendship then romantic feelings. However, when it comes to the main character and her “love interest”, it does not feel realistic at all. She does not feel anything for her love interest beyond a bit of fear, incomprehension and distrust. The love interest is very cold, distant and borderline mean. So here we have the “dark broody bad boy” trope in a girl who admits later in the novel that “she does all of that because she loves” the heroin.

    I tried to love this book, forced myself to read until the end, struggle to not DNF it. The book promised me so much but did not deliver. I tried, it did not make it for me.

    3. Cinder, Marissa Meyer

    Author: Marissa Meyer
    Published: January 2013
    Genre: YA Sci-Fi
    Pages: 448
    Series: The Lunar Chronicles

    Plot: 4.5/5
    Characters: 4/5
    Ending: 5/5

    Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

    Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

    My review: I have been wanting to start the Lunar Chronicles for a very long time. Renegades was so good that I really wanted to get into more books from Marissa Meyer. I was told however that there was a lot of flourishing in her writing but to be honest, I did not notice.

    After two books that were big disappointments, I went onto reading Cinder with absolutely no expectations. It could not be worst that what I had read before. And it was so much better, OMG! I read this book in one day! Knowing that it was a retelling of Cinderella, I expected a lot of cheesy romance and woman on woman’s hate, but no! Sure, you still have the hostile relationship with the stepmother and one of the stepsisters. But how refreshing was it to see that the other stepsister was the most adorable to Cinder!

    I really love the whole world: the future, New Beijing, cyborgs, etc. I think Cinderella in Sci-Fi is a brilliant idea! The political plot was well-written, intense, full of suspence and had me hooked to the book. I know it is a guilty pleasure for a lot of people and that “you are not supposed to like it” because it is for a much younger audience, but f*ck that! Because I loved it, I have nothing bad to say about it (actually!) and I can’t wait to read the next books in the series!

    September 2019

    4. The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi

    Author: Roshani Chokshi
    Published: January 2019
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Pages: 400

    Plot: 3.5/5
    Characters: 3/5
    Ending: 3.5/5

    Summary: It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

    To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

    Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

    My review: Three things attracted me in this book: the beautiful cover, Paris at the end of the 19th century and the Exposition Universelle. I love the 20s but I am also fascinated by the end of the industrial revolution, with all the new inventions, the buildings and the architecture. Especially in Paris where you then have a mix of very old buildings made of stones with gorgeous molding on large avenues and constructions of steel and glass. 

    The premise was promising. There was a lot of mystery around the Order of Babel. A secret society in the likes of the Shadowhunters, the wizarding world in Harry Potter, etc. The book ticked all the boxes for diversity: different nationalities, different skin colors, different religion, different sexualities. Stereotypes of education, jobs and personalities are ditched and we find boys with a lot of emotional depth (i.e. attachments to animals usually associated with girls (all the Disney princesses have a pet companion)), girls that have highly skilled and technical jobs (i.e. engineering, usually given to boys).

    However, some aspects disturbed me a bit. A female character who is Indian and a dancer is, to me, very sexualized and seen as a fantasized other by our French hero (not sure if it is on purpose to reflect the reductive thinking of the time). A male character that is so entitled and believe something that his ancestors had, he should have too. Even though that changes slightly at the end.

    BUT… no suspence, no mystery, not much action, nothing really thrilling happening. To me, this was a clumsy retelling of an Indiana Jones tale in the Paris of the late nineteenth century. There is a treasure hunt, magic and a lot of obstacles and ennemies. However, despite a very few hurdles along the way, so very easily overcome, our heroes succeed in their quest so so easily. 

    I assume there will be a second book as the last chapter ended on quite a big cliffhanger revelation plus a trip to Russia. The adventure is not over. However, the lack of action and the ease with which everything was resolves disappointed me a bit and I am not sure I am willing to take the risk to go through that again with a second book.

    5. Sightwitch, Susan Dennard

    Author: Susan Dennard
    Published: February 2018
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Pages: 240
    Series: The Witchlands

    Plot: 4.5/5
    Characters: 4.5/5
    Ending: 4.5/5

    Summary: Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch… Before Merik returned from the dead…

    Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

    Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight―and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

    On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

    My review: I read book one and two in July. Book three sits proudly on my shelves next to Sightwitch. Even though I adored the magic system and the political intrigue in the series, many aspects disturbed me quite a lot in the characters, as explained in my past reading recaps.

    Sightwitch takes place between book two and three. It is an independent story, tying to the saga as a whole and adding a bit to comprehend what I assume will happen in the third book (and probably fourth as well). It is in the form of a diary by Ryber Fortizia, which we see in the two previous book.

    To be very honest, I do not have much to say about this installment of the saga. It was good and I enjoyed reading it. I did not expect action nor mystery since it is a diary. It gave me more background on two very important characters and planted the seeds of a political intrigue even bigger than what  book one and two let on. I was a bit disappointed by book two but the event and revelations of this novel really made me want to read book three!

    6. Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling

    Author: J.K. Rowling
    Published: July 1999
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Pages: 352
    Series: Harry Potter

    Plot: 4.5/5
    Characters: 3.5/5
    Ending: 5/5

    Summary: The Dursleys were so mean that hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

    And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

    But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects…Harry Potter himself?

    My review: Since I did not have the best reading month in September 2019, I sort of hit a reading slump. No motivation for reading whatsoever. Too afraid to be disappointed again. So I decided to do the only logical thing: re-read a book that cannot disappoint me. Hence why Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets.

    I did enjoy to re-read it. It is always a joy. Re-reading allowed me to spot details I had not seen before but also to realize that some events in the book were done better in the film that in the book itself. For example, when in the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Ron find the car first, then find the spiders, then are saved by the car. In the movie, Harry and Ron find the spiders and are rescued at the last minute by the car. Suspence and feel of emergency wise, it made more sense in the movie.

    I also realize that although Hermione would never ever be depicted as a true vilain, she is sort of still a bit annoying: guilt-tripping, moralizing, giving lessons here and there. When compared to carefree and funny Harry and Ron, and kept in the context of their inner circle and school, she has the role of the vilain in some way. And takes on a very stereotypical female role as such. I would need to re-read book three to see if that changes (which I will do of course) because I don’t remember much from my previous read.

    September 2019

    Here are the six books I read back in September 2019. Less than in August for sure, but hey, I have less time. Job hunting and interviews are quite chronophage, are they not!

    Which books did you read in September 2019? Any new favorites? Or disappointment? Any recommendations you’d have for me?

    Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

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    maxi dress

    Remember when I started this blog? Back in 2018 I think. What a dramatic process that was. Not gonna expand on that but if you want to play guess, you can read this post just right there. My blog is gonna be 2 years old next February, can you believe it?! Anyway, back to this article… Which will talk about that wardrobe staple that is a maxi dress.

    So why was I talking about the pasta again? Ah yes! Because when I started this blog, and after I fully made the switch to fashion blogging, I dedicated a blog post on my love for a maxi dress I had bought back then. And for maxi dresses in general.

    I might have written on them again and again, in some lookbook and such. And I am coming back today with another lookbook dedicated to maxi dresses and how perfect they are for fall. The main argument in their favor is that you do not need to shave your legs since the dress covers them!

    1. All about the denim maxi dress

    I have a weird relationship with denim. It’s a mystery for me too, as I can’t explain it. First, I don’t really wear jeans. My reasoning is that they are a hindrance to my freedom of movement. I do not think they are comfortable. Or that they suit me well for that matter. And even though I do think denim looks great and that I very often see pieces that I would love to be able to pull off, it never really works.

    For example, I had spotted a gorgeous denim boiler suit in Primark. Love at first sight. I already had ideas of outfit with it. Turns out, it did not suit me at all. Thus, I sort of gave up on denim. Until I went shopping with my grandmother before moving to New York and that she spotted the dress below.

    It is soft denim, with frills, a wrap maxi dress belted at the hips. And sure the v-neck cleavage is something, however, I had to admit that for once, denim suited me quite well! What do you think. And since it is a fabric that is thicker than your usual summer dress, it is also the perfect maxi dress to make the transition to autumn when summer is just about to end!

    The items featured in this post have for some being gifted to me by Shein (and will be marked as such). You can still get 15% off your order with my code 9TEA (valid with sales items as well).

    maxi dress

    Shop my outfit
    Denim dress – H&M
    Silver trainers – Reebok
    Beaded bag – Zara
    Earrings – Nasty Gal

    2. Florals in fall

    Florals?  For Autumn? Well, yes! The original quote is never getting old, isn’t it?! I love to wear florals. It is a jump that took me some time to make, but once I had done it, no regret. Whether in spring, summer or winter, I love the floral print! And turns out,  I have a thing for see-through as well!

    It is not on purpose, just so you know. Usually I mean. I pick a piece that looks amazing on the website and turns it is see-through when I put it on. And since I also have a thing for dark underwear, then I let you do the math! However, for this one particular maxi dress here?! Hell yes I did it on purpose!

    Rest assured though, I did buy an under dress to wear underneath the sheer floral dress. Because it was more than see-through, it was revealing it all. The black slip dress works really well however and I am quite pleased with this outfit. My husband said “this is peak New York” when he saw the outfit. Because of the hat I assume. I think it is romantic grudge meets Parisian women lost in New York. What do you think?

    maxi dress maxi dress

    Shop my outfit*
    Leather jacket – Shein
    Floral maxi dress – Shein
    Beaded bag – Shein
    Belt – Shein
    Panama hat – Shein
    Biker boots – Lily Lulu Fashion

    3. Yellow is the new black

    I think it is only fitting that as autumn comes around, I start wearing very bright fall colors. Red, orange, maroon, yellow. Although not so long ago I swore I never wore yellow to realize that actually I do sometimes, turns out, I am wearing that shade more and more often! And oh god this dress is of a bright one!

    I had my eyes on it for some times but was not sure it would suit me or if I could pull it off. I did like the boho vibe and the shape although I think I would have liked a bit more fitted around the hips, as it is quite large. I assume that is how it is supposed to be anyway.

    The maxi dress is a bit on the transparent side as well. You do not see on the photos but my friend Colette who does most of my photos did tell me that she could see my underwear. So I guess that’s part of my style now! I like this dress. I would not wear it everyday but once in a while to bring some color around, absolutely!

    maxi dress maxi dress

    Shop my outfit
    Biker jacket – Shein*
    Yellow maxi dress – Shein*
    Panama hat – Shein*
    Cross body bag – Zaful*
    Over the knee boots – Shein*
    Earrings – Nasty Gal

    What do you think of those outfits? Any maxi dress that caught your eye? Do you wear maxi dresses very often? Or just once in a while.

    Get 15% off your Shein order with my code 9TEA.

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.

    See you soon,
    Love,
    Corinne.

    *Gifted items.

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