Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new 2010 ~


May it be a joyous, kind and prosperous year,
the first of a new decade
with new beginnings,
for all well-deserving souls ~


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

cover girl, miss january and miss july


Last year I was so proud of having one photo chosen for the municipality's environmental calendar, I Miss August.

This year a person of less self composure and humble nature *hrm* would probably get all giddy overflowing of self importance and illusions of grandeur. In such a case I fear there might even be some very big heads exploding, a messy affair indeed that would be.

But as I am not such a silly person I will just peacefully, full of composure and with dignified manners hereby announce that this year, for the calender of 2010, I can not only boas... proudly present myself as the Miss behind the cover photo - and one very perky loaf doggie extraordinaire being the very cover boy 2010, with a photo from September previous year. He on the other hand is rather full of himself, being such a celebrity amongst the dogs in this particular suburb now - as well as

Miss January (from last year) and
Miss July (at Öråker)

The prize this year was really rather lovely (oh no, alas no monetary reward);


tea towels, shopping bag and a wee carved in juniper wood butter knife (the thing Swedish children all had to make in woodwork class in school and delight all parents and relatives with at birthdays and christmases) with the sweet King's Meadow lily (fritillaria).


Which happens to be the Swedish province flower of the Uppland province as well as the name of the suburb where the photos are taken. A fine little gesture that was, says Cover Girl, Miss January and Miss July. And woof you kindly from one Cover Boy ~


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

aussie anti-frizz haircare

I may love snow and cold winters (today I even experienced -20 C, that was a long time ago but with a wonderful winter sun and no winds it was rather a nice meet), but I don't love the dry air and what it does to skin and hair.

To use a good facial cream for winter weather and body lotion for dry skin usually does the trick for skin. But I haven't found any suitable products to beat the frizzy winter hair that comes from cap-wearing and dry air though. And even if I'm fond of sweet smelly lotions and potions I usually want the hair- and skincare daily routine to be a quick fix. Hence I demand a lot of action from a limited amount of actors.

Almost one year ago one of my for many years favourite hair care range was launched in Sweden, Aussie. Now it is time for their anti-frizz range to be introduced, sometime early 2010. I had just begun using the bottle with the dual personality anti-frizz + conditioning milk I bought last year when I was offered to try out the whole range.


Even if I really love many of the Aussie products the for years in vain search for decent anti-frizz products, and the above bottle though of heavenly scent very less than impressed me with its anti-frizz and conditioning properties, I didn't have too much hope for this range.

As mentioned I also like to keep haircare short and sweet ie shampoo, conditioner, one styling product and now and then hairpak. Thus 6 products to keep the dreaded frizz away, nah... - M thought the difference between four and six products isn't much to grump about, but me I am of a different view -, plus I'm very much not a fan of the Aussie 3 minute miracle cure or serums of any sort (the latter usually being ridiculously expensive stuff with no visible effect as far as I'm concerned).

Anyway, to not sound too gnarly and ungrateful, I am happy to be trying this stuff out. Really.

And as Aussie shampoo and conditioner are always useful and usually great, I began using the frizz miracle conditioner. Which contains Australian blue gum leaves and has a pale blue colour. And doesn't smell nearly as grand as the favourite miracle moist conditioner. I would go as far as to say the scent not so faintly reminds me of cat pee. Which granted very much can be due to my nose being overly sensitive to said smell after many years of litter box cleaning. So never mind that bit.

Instead mind the fact that I have been most pleasantly semi-surprised with the experience that only the use of above conditioner teamed up with above mentioned conditioning milk actually does leave my hair without frizziness. And the hair of undersigned is a hair very proned to frizz all year round and even more so during this Scandinavian winter season. So huzzah to that!

What I think of the 3 minute frizz remedy deep treatment and the dual personality curl definition + soft feel serum remains to be seen, or possibly read. At least the conditioner and the conditioning milk work magic together. And that alone is more than enough for me and my hair, thus they get all hairs up from me. Or rather every hair in its right place.

Monday, December 28, 2009

christmas glimpses sweden


Little favourite Iron Boy sports a new seasonal outfit.


Saffron semla and advent candles at café Tant Gredelin ~
still undecided whether saffron is a reasonable excuse for eating lenten buns this time of the year...


The red mailbox for Christmas cards only ~
never use it, have heard far too many stories about the mistreatment of mail put in this box from friends working extra at the postal services...


Rekorderlig ('proper', 'hearty') Christmas cider with cinnamon ~
didn't taste of much cinnamon but was rather nice and appley fresh in flavour.


Christmas trees for sale at Nibble Garden, Järna ~
me I'm a firm believer of not cutting down trees for Christmas purposes only. The notion alone makes me utterly sad.


Höganäs mustard jar from Apoteket ~
For many years every winter the Swedish state owned pharmaceutical retailing chain Apoteket (The Pharmacy) sells their own mustard (as well as other Christmassy items) in pretty jars. I am not a great fan of the mustardy flavour, but this year's jar from Höganäs (classic Swedish stoneware company) in gorgeous red was just too lovely to resist. When the mustard is finished the jar will come in use for other things.


Saffron biscotti from Saltå Kvarn bakery ~
ah well, the ones I bake myself tastes a lot better...


Black socks with red stars ~
as I find knitting and crocheting, creative things in black usually boring and impractical (not that everything I make have to be practical always mind you) beyond reason really one should never expect a black custom order to be all black. I just couldn't resist adding little red stars and a rim on these socks and hey presto they were rather lovely me thinks.


Two kitschy gnomes and one pink plastic rabbit ~
what's not to love? The rabbit even jogs its head, very impressive that is.


Apple hook and bird feeder ~
I did think of the wee feathered friend not migrated and put up a new feeder stuffed with seeds in tree. So far fram from a massive hit. The blackbirds that are frequent visitors sadly don't seem to approve of the design. Any suggestions of a perfect feeder for blackbirds?


Knäck ~
the much loved Swedish caramel crunchy-chewy sweets essential for Christmas. It's far from easy to get the perfect consistency and combination of crucnhiness and chewiness. My mother's batch this year was just perfect ~


Thursday, December 24, 2009

december 24th - christmas


On this last day of my self-imposed Christmas-calender style one-blogpost-a-day (to get my writing mojo back) I wish every caring, kind and well-deserving soul of any specie a wonderful Christmas.

May it be filled with warmth, love, kindness and good food ~

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

december 23rd - caps


The amazing mixed wool-alpaca skein was quickly (compared to the sock mania that's been, and still on going, on) turned into the left cap. I loved it so much I decided to opt for another skein in the same yarn, I chose from these two colours to begin with thus it felt unfair somehow to leave one of them out. (When winter fades and leave room for summer it is important to have a friend who totally gets it while summering it together in a box.)

Hence, enter the right cap same style but in deep pinkish colours.

One nifty thing with these caps is that you really don't need a handbag as they have room left to hide and keep essentials while out and about. Well, maybe not a camera. Or a book. Me will therefore stick with handbag. While keeping warm and toasty in perfectly perky woolly caps whilst enjoying our beautiful winter wonderland of Christmas 2009.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

december 22nd - boxing day

I got a lovely package the other day. Myself I still contemplate exactly what I like best about the sweet content of said box. Not so the cats.

Box itself gets all paws up and then some
by every furminator around.
Every cardboard box nook and cranny offer endless interest.
As well as the perfect, cosy place to sleep.
Who cares when there's a grand box available.
There's nothing like a bit of quality spent alone in one.

Monday, December 21, 2009

yogi organic tea


Admittedly I have never been a fan of Yogi teas, as I find their flavours in general being too herby for my liking. The reason for me discovering (and now completely loving a couple of them) was pure coincidence when a vegetarian restaurant didn't serve anything else than Yogi teas. I wasn't too pleased about that then, but went giddy happy when I had my first sip of the classic cinnamon spice tea. It's is mindblowingly good and very flavourful, round, comforting and spicy (apart from cinnamon also contains cardamom, ginger, cloves and black pepper), with no tannic acidity.

In the same category of goodness falls the choco aztec spice, very much like warm spicy chocolate without the sugar rush. With ingredients like cocoa shells, cinnamon, liquorice, carob, barley malt, cardamom, ginger, vanilla and black pepper it's a delightful drink with or without milk.

I generally love a cup of well-made chai tea, but I find Yogi sweet chai tea to have too dominant a liquorice flavour. People who love liquorice will however be enthralled by this tea I think, which contains anise, fennel, liquorice, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

All three teas should infuse for at least seven minutes and are said to hold ayurvedic spice infusions hence promoting harmony and understanding with nature and the environment. I like that notion (with only having skimmed the surface of the ayurveda practice) and the purpose of their creation with natural ingredients only - to make one feel consciously alive.

I can't say they make me feel all that, but apart from their wonderful full bodied flavour I do find them both calming and quite reviving at the same time. They're very winter seasonaly and warming both for body and mind.

Do you drink Yogi tea, what's your favourite blend?


december 21st - winter solstice


Winter solstice will be greeted and quietly celebrated with breakfast including a bottle of my favourite organic juice from Saltå Kvarn, grapefruit.

Then I will enjoy the snow that still surrounds us here. And think of the hours of daylight slowly getting longer again. Little by little each day from now on.

~ * ~ Happy Winter solstice * ~ *


Sunday, December 20, 2009

december 20th - books


Lately I haven't felt inclined or focused enough to read as much as I usually like (have) to when life is more in tune. That lack of reading makes me sad so I hope it will change soon - that I have finished writing all Christmas cards, run out of yarn (well, that's so not a possibility) and the good influence of a red calendar may also play parts in me getting my reading mojo back - soon. Especially with some new wordly lovelies I felt appropriate to order in time for Christmas.

Some books from already favourite authors, some I found intriguing reading the cover (or just liking the cover design...), some recommended from fellow bloggers (thanks! I hope, I better wait with gratefulness until books are read perhaps...). Now which book(s) to begin with from this eightsome...

:: Helen DeWitt - The Last Samurai. Recommendation. Reading about it, at first glance it seems like a mix of Murakami's "Kafka on the Shore" and poor Bertie's life in the 44 Scotland Street-series. I'm sure it will prove capable of standing on it's own literary feet though.

:: M. Ann Jacoby - Life after genius. Recommendation. The story seems like a blend of "The Secret History" (Donna Tartt) and the wonderful "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" (Marisha Pessl). Be as that may, the story about a boy genius who suddenly turns his back to the world of academics instead embarks on his new life as a furniture seller / embalmer sounds quite special anyway.

:: Alexander McCall Smith - Love over Scotland. As I'm just finishing the second in the delightful 44 Scotland Street-series I might as well throw myself into the third right away...

:: Herta Müller - Herztier (swe 'Hjärtdjur', eng 'The Land of Green Plums'). My first book by the 2009 Nobel Prize in literature winner. It's about 200 pages, seems like a good place to start exploring her writing.

:: Jed Rubenfeld - The Interpretation of Murder. I liked the cover, I liked the unusual crime novel story set in 1909 New York, a murder and a visiting Sigmund Freud.

:: Scarlett Thomas - Dead Clever and Going Out. Two more novels from favourite writer. Somehow I doubt they'll be as mindblowingly brilliant as "The End of Mr. Y" or "PopCo" but they will surely be great reads in their own way.

:: Rachel Zadoki - Gem Squash Tokoloshe. I liked the book title, I liked the cover, the story about a girl growing up in rural parts of South Africa in the 1980ies seems both beautiful and heartbreaking.

Have you read anyone of these books? Any thoughts?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

december 19th - tree hugger


With the disappointing and probably long term rather disastrous failure of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, I will go hug a tree.

Something pea-brained politicians thinking with their rears too busy making the environmental issue into a matter of prestige, playing the blame game (worthy of a five year old) instead of taking some responsability and action would never ever do.

No matter what the above politicians think, the planet, the environment, the air know no borders. Prestige, party affiliations, political or religious views, ethnicity aside, there is only one planet. And the human race sure has made a mess of that precious gift.


Friday, December 18, 2009

december 18th - dots

At a date prior to the recent lovely snowfall one dotty tummy Siri (aka pansy inspector and so forth) said to undersigned - 'now wouldn't it be just peachy if we could show off our respective splendid dots in one photo and publish it in blog so everyone could see how much fun we have in this house of ours?'

And as I do quite fancy one particular dotty dress (from always reliable, top favourite clothing brand of mine, NoaNoa) which is very much ginger snaps season stylish auntie Brown in looks and as I am a sucker for sweetface meowing I couldn't resist.


I would have liked to wear something less rustic than old wellies on feet, but weather permitted nothing else. Besides, the jewel of this picture is of course the very lovable dotty tummy attached to a very excited kitty than oozes with pride and not the least bit prejudice in the middle of photo (unless you hadn't noticed).

Have the best of a swinging good weekend!

Greetings from the Dotty Tummy Gals of Stockholm, Sweden


Thursday, December 17, 2009

december 17th - filofax


I love the notion and promise of new beginnings, adventures and challenges to come (planned or otherwise) held by a brand new calender for a brand new year. I used to have a large Filofax as a faithful friend for many, many years - before most people in Sweden had heard about them, that's how hip I am; I had a Filofax before most every Swede. I'm in general so not a fan of this era of technical gadgets, but at least I was true Swedish Filofax pioneer -. I loved the bookish look of it and the fact that the diary was of the one-day-per-page style. Lots of scribbles could be done. It was stylish, it was intellectual, it was good.

Time changed and I had no real use for a large calender. I've made do with a simple, company gift one for years. Thus old Filofax calender have been in hibernation.

For various reasons this had to change when 2009 comes to an end. Filofax is calling once again. But I didn't want to carry my old large one around anymore (a camera is so much more fun) and I didn't want a leatherbound calender, so I had to look for a new one. Which I have to admit was quite joyous and a choice rather easy to make.


I would have liked a mini sized calender, but the calender inset was ridiculously small, so I settled for the pocket version. In graphic model. In, what can only be described as, gorgeous red. If it's possible to be smitten by a calender I truly am. I wish the inset for the pocket version was a day-per-page, but alas I didn't found one when I bought my newfound red friend. That will be my must-have for 2011 instead.

Today I had my first meeting with new, red companion in handbag. It never made an appearance in plain sight, but it apparently had a very positive influence on meeting just the same. It rooted for me from the bottom of the bag.

Outcome from a very friendly meeting was that no I didn't get the internship as project manager for quite an exciting project, but they did enjoy meeting me so much they thought it would be nice to offer me another internship. Of a rather less than exciting nature though. But not without merits. And one thing can obviously lead to another.

On many levels I don't think I can afford to say no to this offer. Not wholeheartedly embracing it, but if I would to make more than the sketchy mental list I now possess in head only I think the outcome would be in favour of the pros rather than the cons. Just touch wood this public announcement of a probable decision kind will not come back and haunt me some 3-6 months from now...

That said, thank you for an initial positive influence, my friend in red, and here's to many more of those to come!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

december 16th - reflectors


Say hallo to a few of my current reflecting friends.

One important accessory this dark time of the year in Sweden is the reflector. Essentially lifesaving and affordable I do enjoy the fact that they come in so many different shapes, designs and colours (not at all when I was a child and the shapes were pretty much a circle, a snowflake and possibly a heart).

As reflectors are perishable goods you have to exchange them now and then, plus of course have them attached to every coat, handbag, dog's collar, pram and so forth. The lower the placement the more visible for drivers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

from fortune to unfortunate, but looks ain't everything


A while ago I was the fortunate recipient of a tea related blog give away. The package I recieved contained a sweet cup and saucer, teabags from one of my favourite tea merchants, Taylors of Harrogate, and a teapot shaped cookie cutter (thank you kind Xtiand!).


As Swedish as ginger snaps may be, they aren't my favourite to neither ate nor bake (but I do love the Christmassy wintry smell of them baking). However such a fine cookie cutter needs work and with a roll of dough from favourite café - bakery Gamla Enskede Bageri, what can go wrong? So from baking interrupted, ginger snaps where to be baked!


I'm still not sure what and why it did go so horribly wrong, but terribly so it went. The ginger snaps that went into oven (after the dought being of the uttermost un-cooperative kind) looked disturbed, the scent of baking smelled more borderline rancid than Christmassy, and the snaps that appeared after some time in oven looked like distressed hobbledehoys. Maybe the birds would like?

But I did the brave thing and tasted a little piece. It tasted alright. More than alright, rather nice actually. Spicy and not too sweet, way better than the average supermarket stuff and a lot better than most ginger snap things found in bakeries. They may look very unfortunate, but the tastebuds give all thumbs up. And look, some snaps actually do look like teapots (the cookie cutter was great).


Next time I may make the dough by self and from scratch. Because who am I to deny cookie cutter it's life mission.

december 15th - snow stockholm


To wake up to a winter wonderland is such a delight in my book. Hence I was very pleased when I looked out the window this morning. This is how Swedish winters should be.


The whiteness and subdued impression a snow duvet makes was a source of great fascination to sweet furry faces.


And despite the wind blowing harsh and cold, another kind of a winter afternoon in Stockholm offered very, very pretty scenes on this December day that went.


Monday, December 14, 2009

december 14th - baking interrupted


Today I had advanced plans of ginger snaps baking. Plans are meant to change said one of the furry inspectors and decided the baking sheet on kitchen counter was the perfect place for contemplation and scouting of premises.

And who am I to disagree. Instead of baking I had some lovely hours with a ball of thick wool-alpaca yarn in lovely hues and needles. After all this knitting of socks and such lately and very thin needles it's hard to grasp how quickly a project can go from start to finish. When daylight comes again, there will be photos of end result. For now, enjoy the skein ~

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