Tuesday, June 06, 2023

thank you may, welcome june 2023

June 6 is not just the sixth day of June in Sweden but also our National Day,  our Independence Day since it was this day in 1523 the union of Denmark was no more. And obviously today is even more special since it marks 500 years since.

As I have written before, there are many things, too many, that have gone completely awry with this country (like far too many countries all over the globe obviously). And it has gotten even worse with the current completely incompetent government of asshats we are cursed with. So yes, there is definitely a gazillion facts to be angry, appalled, gobsmacked, worried, sad and infuriated over. The world is crazy, and so are a lot of things in Sweden. However it’s a beautiful country, and it’s a decent democracy (which is more than you can say about far too few countries in 2023), so for that - happy National Day Sweden!

Also any excuse (as if you need one) to bake and make a vegan cream cake is a good thing, right? Right.

Used the same recipe for the sponge I always use, from the Swedish Vegan Baking Bible bake book, filling is raspberry jam and dairyfree custard (Oatly). Topping whipped oat cream, blueberries and white, vegan chocolate. It was good. But it’ll be even better tomorrow once it has had proper time to rest and set.

My original plan was to write another spring has sprung post but as Summer is now upon us - I’m deeply grateful for every day of not extremely hot weather, so far it has been +25C at the max. Even if it was exhausting it wasn’t unbearable. We do desperately need rain though. With this much sun nature is gasping for water and I fear there will be more forest fires to come here too.

So instead of a spring post here are just some random photos with texts from the world according to me from these past few months. Here goes:

You know about my love for pretty, colourful bed sheets by now. And even if I do prefer to buy my Marimekko beddings second hand I have been known to get the odd new duvet and pillow cover. I’m not perfect, despite the rumours of excellence, so yup, it happens. So even if I had planned to treat myself to the 💗❤️ pillow cover only, I couldn’t resist getting the duvet cover too. The design reminds me of fabrics, designs and colours from my childhood. I vaguely remember even having a very similar duvet cover back then. It’s just lovely. Crisp, high quality cotton, that will last forever.

- Oops, realised now I already wrote about the heart one in the last post… - 

The cows and calves bedding in the second photo I actually won in a second hand auction. I was absolutely adamant to win it as it’s one of my top 5 favourite Marimekko designs. I already had the apple green pillow covers and as pink and green is THE best colour combo ever it would be dreamy to get the matching pink bed set too.

It’s just wonderful. Such a perfectly happy piece to have.

Just admiring how pretty and perfect a vegan dough can be when the circumstances are right. It’s been a while since I last baked breads or buns now, despite my lovely lovely kitchen machine. But after the mishap with my mum completely misunderstand the temperature of the warm milk and butter, and be succumbing to getting a baking thermometer again, it has been smooth baking all the way, baby. Yay.

I currently can’t remember if I wrote about the bagels I baked a couple of months ago. But anyway, I did. And they turned out great, for being the first go after not having had the opportunity to bake some since 2017. I really want to make more of them. Soon. 

And the launch of plantbased Philadelphia cream cheese in Sweden happily coincided with my bagel baking. Yay! Not that there is much difference between the vegan Philadelphia cheese and Oatly’s cream cheese PĂ„ Mackan (not sure what it’s called in English) which been around for ages. But I think us Swedish vegans that haven’t been vegans since birth fondly remember how great Philadelphia cream cheese was and have missed it. 

Even if my days/years as Årstiderna organic vegan food box Instagram- ambassador came to an end last autumn, I still order some special fruit and veggies from the company now and then. This was the first time I bought their strawberries from a Spanish organic farm. It’s fascinating that the strawberry season starts so early on those latitudes compared to Sweden (which usually is just now in June, depending on the weather). The texture and flavour were also widely different to ours. They were much harder, and still sweet despite being somewhat green, in Sweden that would been they are far from ripe. They were great to eat as snacks, but I also used them in food, like topping on my favourite vegan silken tofu pancakes - if you haven’t made pancakes with silken tofu yet you must! Absolute perfection. 

- and in a hearty salad with smoked tofu. Such a fantastic flavour combo, smoked tofu and strawberries!

A house is not a home without cats, and every day I am so grateful my furry darlings are back with me, with us. I still don’t let them into my bedroom, but as little mum let them sleep in her bed in her apartment she has continued to let them do so here too. Especially Ågot loves it lots. So you might say Ågot is more her kitty now and Ztina remains my special sweetheart.

We have been reluctant to let them out in the garden again though, which feels sad, but with the craziness that followed upon the loss of Pelle and his escaping from the garden and getting sick, the 20 years of non-escaping happy cats in the garden have been erased by the past 1,5 year witch-hunt from Swedish authorities. Something which I will never forget or forgive. It is just unacceptable behaviour from an authority.

Ztina has been out in the garden a couple of times, only interesting in eating grass (and throw up indoors) not climbing the tree, so that feels more doable. However there seem to be more ticks this year, I’ve removed two of those nasty ones from her and she even got somewhat sick from one of them, but luckily recovered to herself after a few days of mostly sleeping. It doesn’t feel good to risk things when she also sleeps in my mum’s be though. Even if we’re both vaccinated against TBE there’s still Borrelia to concider…

And it’s not as if they’re very unhappy about not having free access to the garden when I’m home, as they used to, they seem to have adjusted well to slightly different routines. And surely having free access to sleep in a hooman’s bed must be concidered a luxuary upgrade? 

This year two of my photos were chosen for the municipality’s environmental calender every household gets for free. Cherry blossoms for April and the church/cemetery with lilacs for May. The winners don’t get any prizes like we used too, but apart from a couple of years they were such ridiculously ill chosen prizes that I do think it’s wiser with no prizes but the sheer honour of it anyway.

- Ah well, mentioned this in my last post too… -

It’s getting late and it’s now time to read a few pages before I sleep. As I’ve already uploaded a bunch of photos to this post it seems easier to continue to write on this tomorrow instead of starting a new post. Or maybe I’ll change my mind overnight and move the photos below and start a new one.

Let’s sleep on it, m’kay?

Friday, May 05, 2023

spring has sprung, part III

I had planned to head into the city this past week, to watch the magic cherry blossom trees in bloom in KungstrĂ€dgĂ„rden again. I haven’t seen them since pre-pandemic 2019. But then little mom got a terrible cold, and then a week later it was alas my turn. Still recovering, hopefully I’ll be reasonably alright again this upcoming week. But sadly I think that most of the city cherry blossoms will be gone by then. Here in the suburbs it has been unseasonably chilly (gratitude!) so they haven’t blossomed yet. So I will at least be able to enjoy some darling pink blossoms 2023.

This year two of my photos were chosen for the municipality’s environmental calendar. The cherry blossoms above for April (the in bloom season last year was quite different from this year obviously) and the lilacs at the church/cemetery for May, below.

Have you watched ’The Diplomat’ on Netflix already? If not you really should, especially if you, like me, loved ’The West Wing’. Great actors, snappy dialogue, setting, multilayered and cleverly woven current story. With that explosive season ending it will be difficult to wait for season two…

Prior to Easter I stopped by my ”new” favourite tea shop in Stockholm. Which happens to be Sweden’s oldest tea/coffee merchant so it isn’t very new, but it was just a very long time since I last visited (2017 I think, and of course right before new year’s last year) and I’m very much smittened bu the whole atmosphere and of course all the colourful, stylish packaging and tins. I bought teas for myself and gifts for a couple of friends. Even made a little not too shabby reel that I still haven’t figured out how to post in blog. Ridiculous I know, but there you are. 

I also used that black (and only) Marimekko dress I bought second hand last autumn, for the first time. As the model is much shorter than my usual dresses I just couldn’t figure out to wear it during winter, as I don’t have any long enough winter coat to cover it up properly.

But here you are, me in a black dress for the first time in 20ish years.

The dress is straight, I would have prefered it a-line, but it looks fairly good anyway I think. The tights are from fabulous Snagtights, 80 denier colour Mustard. Boots, my ol’ trustworthy El Naturalista Iggdrasil. 

And yup, it’ll be such a relief when (and how) we’ll be able to finally clear up the hallway again. Living in post-moving chaos isn’t a lot of fun.

That’s why I feel the need to create some pretty, cozy and relaxing corners here and there, so I don’t feel/see the mess existing side by side all the time.


For Easter I changed the sofa covers and added new (bought second hand) cushion covers. The green striped fabric is old, but unused that we brought with us from little mum’s extensive stash. The cushion covers are all Marimekko. It brings me joy to find them second hand and then change them during the year. A small collection I want to grow. 

The candle lights are also the Marimekko/Iittala classics Kivi, and this bowl is from the same collaboration called Mariskooli. That one I actually from fellow British Shorthair breeder in Finland, when she was here with her female to mate her with Knut (I think it was). To be honest I wasn’t really s fan of Marimekko back then (20ish years ago), and it wasn’t really my style I felt. But I am so grateful I kept it, and let it collect dust in a kitchen cupboard, because now I love it. And it was such a nice thing to finally bring forth for vegan Easter candy.

And I even painted my nails for Easter. It happens extremely rarely these days. From being a great fan of polish, addicted even, I just find it icky and well, unhealthy really, these days. But my old speckled eggs are nice to use for Easter at least.

I’ve also recently found that it is possibly to find Bath & Body Works online (second hand, so to say, but unused) in Sweden. Considerably more expensive than in the US/Canada stores, but still. When you miss something bad enough… I got a few bottles of hand soaps earlier, loved them, and bought a few more for Easter. (Not that one would use them all up for one Easter, but there will hopefully be more and the prints are adorable.)

I wrote about the 💗❤️💗 Marimekko pillow cover I treated myself to for Valentine’s day, didn’t I? The print reminded me so much of sheets I had as a kid. And when there was a short special price on all beddings I went back and got the matching duvet cover. Isn’t it marvelous?! Such a happy, colourful design.

The leopard print bedset above was the one I got as a birthday gift in 2022, and also as a memory of darling Zigne. It’s Marimekko (duh) and very cute, but also of concideeably poorer quality than other Marimekko beddings. I should have pointed that out to customer service back then, but I was crushed from the loss of Zigne and all the nastiness I went through from the county administrative board at the time (which then turned into the witch hunt madness), so I didn’t bother. I can still let them now about the sub par quality of course. 

The other pillow cover in the photo I won in a second hand auction pre-Easter, it’s lovely and unusual. Different designs in one print. I suppose it’s rare enough to keep in special storage and not use, but really, when I buy something it’s meant to bring joy AND be useful at the same time.

Currently this crisp bedding brings me joy. The birthday gift I gifted myself last year. I needed it. Feeling old, tired, grey and totally exhausted after a hellish 1,5 years, I really did. Finally a Marimekko bedset with the Unikko print. 

Used with an old sheet my grandma embroidered it gives me a nice, wistful and grateful feeling at night.

The Maria Lang book is the last one I got as a kid, for Christmas in the 80ies. And the book that nudged be into focus on collecting all her books during the pandemic. And I managed to get the ones I didn’t already have, all but one second hand, fairly quickly. It was a fun little self-appointed challenge. When this book is finished I have only nine more to go before I have finally read them all, cronologically.

Little pockets of joy are so very important. Especially in the world we are living in now. Wars looming, dire climate emergency, societal structural collapses, financial worries, and people being ruder and weirder than ever imho, then crisp clean sheets, books, plantbased deliciousness, colourful things, nature, cat purrs and alike are essentials for reasonable well-being and sanity. According to me. 

What are your essential little pockets of joy in these truly troublesome times. What are you grateful for? How do you survive?

Be kind, be safe out there.
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