Monday, July 06, 2020

vegan hand creams

vegan handcreams, june 2020

Anyone else who has issues with very dry hands, due to this constant handwashing these past five months?

Here are a bunch of vegan hand creams I've enjoyed using. They're all very light, so I suspect they're not perfect for winter use. Stronger stuff is needed then.

I love Molton Brown's, but they're a bit pricey. Adore the rhubarb rose scent, smells like summer and childhood to me. Lily of the Valley and star anise is nice, but turned out Fiery pink pepper smells like spicy, cheap after shave alas.

Body Shop's hand creams are always nice, but I prefer mango and the Christmas scents.

EOS hand lotion with cucumber scent is lovely. Smells a lot like my old body cream favourite cucumber-melon from Bath & Body Works.

Treacle Moon Wild Cherry Magic is a delicious scent. Haven't used it much yet, so I just hope it's as good as it smells.

When you're basically have to shop everything online, it's a bit of a guessing game whether you'll like it or not. I try to keep my shopping down to the very bare essentials these days obviously. (Books are considered essentials, right? Right.)

I remember when all this stay-at-home began, how I would perk myself up with wearing a bright lipstick every time I went out. That only lasted a month. Then it turned out to be so impractical with take away food or nicecream eating out. And you get so used to not wearing it that when and if you do there's a tendency to smear it around the face since you forgot you wore it.

The only makeup I wear now is my must; bare minerals original foundation powder (because of my now dermatologist confirmed, rosacea) for cover. After my twenties I've never been big on makeup (funny how you like to cover up that beautiful youthful skin, but the older you get, the least interesting it gets.), but I enjoy the simplicity of lipsticks and eye pencils. Or at least I used to, it seems kind of pointless now. Life in itself is truly down to the bare essentials I suppose. And that includes good hand creams in the times we are living.

What's your favourite vegan hand cream/s? 

vegan handcreams, june 2020

Sunday, July 05, 2020

july 2020 tea delivery

tea delivery, july 4 2020

I haven't had a soy or oat latte for five months. I've given up trying to make my own lattes ages ago, they're never nearly as good as the ones at my favourite coffee shops. I'm glad I'm an avid tea drinker though, those special coffees are treats, not something regular anyway.

And during these five stay at home months I've certainly gulped down teas galore. So it was hight time to order more, old favourites and new flavours. Given I order so much tea myself, I don't need to co-order with one of the neighborhood dog ladies, to get free shipping, but it's kind of a tradition by now so there you are. These days when you can't pop by the tea shop as usual, this is how we do it.

cat in the hoods 💗, july 5, 2020

I placed the order on Thursday, expected it to arrive at the pickup point (my local Coop store) mid next week. Imagine my surprise when the package was sent on Friday and I got a notice it would be ready to pick up on Saturday already!

It arrived at 11 am. But it was raining and I had a very rare headache so I decided to have a very peaceful day, and just rest.

When I woke up this morning it was absolutely pouring down, and it did so for six plus hours, Wonderful news for nature! When the rain stopped I decided to take a walk and pick up that tea box at last. I love to pick up boxes that smell delicious, and so did this one.

tea delivery, july 4 2020

One my way home a neighborhood kitty wanted a sniff and a cĂșddle. Which I never say no too obviously. Got home right in time before the rain begun again. The un-boxing was a delight. And as usual I've got the purrfect helpers.

My little berry Zigne poses with the rooibos tea TrÀdgÄrdsbÀr (Garden berries). And Pelle immediately claimed the empty box as his. Something for everyone in that order.

The flavours I got this time were - Fruitbomb (herbal tea that's recommended for ice tea), rooibos organic vanilla, rooibos wild strawberries elderflower, rooibos winter apple (favourite!), rooibos mango passionfruit (favourite), rooibos strawberry cream and the garden berries.

A great cup of tea really is soothing for a troubled soul. Not just a cliché, it's actually true. I always feel much better and calmer after having one. And right now, many of us need a lot of comforting. Tea is one of my best go tos for that. Alongside cat cuddles. Needless to say.

 tea delivery, july 4 2020

Saturday, July 04, 2020

organic vegan food inspiration, part 8

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box ambassador, november 2018

It's been 1,6 years since I last posted one of these vegan food inspiration posts. So about high time! The recipes (in Swedish, but easily translated) on Årstiderna's website, scroll to find Veganska matkassen's recipes. I'd of course be happy to answer any questions if you find the translated recipes weird looking.

The previous plantbased inspiration posts are linked at the bottom of this post.

On top is a glimpse of ovenbaked butternut pumpkin, chickpeas, gomashio salt and kale topping. Not a favourite, too much work for little reward I'd say. And then I'm not a fan of kale either.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, nov 2018 -

Fattoush with fried polenta, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and smoked paprika. Pretty good, but not memorable.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, nov 2018 -

Chili sin carne with amarant, borlotti beans, squash, carrots and spinach. Alas, not a fan. Tomato based dishes rarely excites me.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, nov 2018 -

Beetroot risotto with calcot-onion and yukina. Pretty good. The onion topping didn't add much though.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, nov 2018 -

Samosas with potatoes, peas and onions. Salad with white beans, fennel and tomato (was suppose to be black chickpeas, but I burnt them when I cooked alas). I generally enjoy samosas, but as it's a dish that often returns in the box I've grown tired of them. And I also find that when you fry them they get too greasy, but in the oven not crispy enough.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box ambassador, december 2018

Spicy sweet potato soup with coconut, carrots, chili, lime with a topping of gomashio salt, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. Soups are always great dishes, no matter flavour. Many thumbs up. Great comfort food on a cold autumn or winter day.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box ambassador, december 2018

Crispy springrolls filled with cabbage, carrots, basmati rice, leek, chili, garlic, onion and tamari. Just like samosas, I find they have a tendency too be too greasy when fried. So even if they're good now and then, I don't enjoy them often.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbix, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Pumpkin gnocchi with pumpkin cream and a topping of a delicious vegan parmesan topping made with cashew nuts and nutritional yeast. Absolutely delicious. I always love the gnocchi dishes and those cheesy toppings. Brilliant stuff.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbix, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Bahn mi with vegan sausage, coriander and pickled winter radish, salad and carrots. Lovely. I'm a great fan of bahn mi-sandwiches.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Oven baked romanesco cabbage on a bed of beluga lentils, carrots and red onion. Topped with tahini dressing. Very good. Although the outerworldy beautiful romanesco isn't really made justice visually in the dish...

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Another top notch dish - pita bread with hummus, fried chickpeas and cucumber-tomato salad.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Oven baked purple sweet potato with quinoa-cabbage salad. Topped with water cress and tahini dressing. Good flavours, but a bit too much work put in for the end result.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Quesadillas with kidney beans, carrots, onion, spinach and tomato sauce, served with mashed peas. Delicious!

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, january 2019 -

Massaman curry with coconut milk, potatoes and crispy carrot-turnip topping. Very good.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan food box ambassador, february 2019 - pumpkin soup with thyme, hemp seeds and fried rye bread

Pumpkin soup with thyme, hem seeds and fried rye bread. Very good.

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, february 2019 -

Risotto with fennel, peas and a brilliant vegan parmesan cream. Served with a fresh, green salad. Lovely dish!

Ă„rstiderna organic vegan foodbox, food ambassador, february 2019 - italian bean casserole

Rustic Italian bean casserole. Not my kind of dish.

Previous inspiration posts -

Organic vegan food inspiration 1
Organic vegan food inspiration 2
Organic vegan food inspiration 3

Organic vegan food inspiration 4
Organic vegan food inspiration 5
Organic vegan food inspiration 6

Organic vegan food inspiration 7

Friday, July 03, 2020

all the pretty dresses go granny toddler style

granny toddler chic, june 3, 2020 ‍♀️

All the pretty dresses I was so looking forward to wear again this spring and summer, is mostly a sad reminder that the world isn't what it was merely 4,5 months ago.

all the pretty dresses... june 2020

My initial goal was to hang the main dresses I'd chosen to wear for the season on my bedroom wardrobe doors as a reminder to use at least one pretty dress per week, despite the stay at home situation. Go grocery shopping, go for a walk, go buy take away, heck, go to the garbage bins, make an effort wear a pretty dress!

I think I've blogged about this dresses on the wardrobe doors-tradition of mine years ago, can't be bothered to look for that post though. And somehow, now more than ever it seems important to loo at pretty things and remember the fun you've had in them and the joyful things that will hopefully, maybe, perhaps happen to them, in them, again.

People seemed to enjoy the idea when I posted it on Instagram last month, which was nice. I think we all need a bit more (superficial) pretty in our lived these days.

granny toddler chic, june 3, 2020 ‍♀️

I've lived up to my original wear a pretty dress at least once per week-intention for over a month. Then the plantar fasciitis hit and the live put on hold got put even more on hold if possible (and it was).

And then last week, amidst the heat wave my left armpit went a bit itchy (which has never happened after I began using the toxic-free, vegan Nuud deo a year plus ago). When I took a closer look it looked like a pretty bad serious rash even. Which I've never experience during all those years with conventional deos (itches yes, rashes never). I read up on what could have caused it, allergies (which I've never had either), careless shaving, sweating, bad hygiene, excessive moisture was mentioned.

As I've never had any such issues, heatwaves or not, I thought it was the deo that caused it, even if it's pretty weird it would happen over a year down the line. Stopped using the deo, cleaned and dried the area extra carefully. And I thought it looked better after some days. Used the deo again. It got really bad. Am in a conversation with the company, if they have any suggestions what might have caused it. But also went to the pharmacy today and they said it was probably fungal infection due to the hot weather. Oh the joy. So I got a healing powder to begin with, maybe I need to get a cream too, but let's see how this works for the upcoming week.

granny toddler chic, june 3, 2020 ‍♀️

I'm not at all keen to see a doctor for this, and especially not during these social distancing times, so fingers crossed it will work magic. And I will be really sad if the Nuud deo has anything to do with it, hopefully it is just the heat. The world is weirder than ever now, and who knows, these sort of bodily reactions might quite possibly be a twisted part of climate change. Everything is connected, so who knows.

The not so nice extra news though is that this treatment (without strong medicinal creams I'd imagine) might take 2-6 weeks to heal. Plus then one's supposed to use the powder for two extra weeks. Not using deos during that time. Oh the joy times two.

If times were "normal" I have no idea how it would be possible to function like that around people. Or maybe I'm just too priveleged seeing it that way. But most of us do not enjoy feeling sweaty, stinky and icky, if not caused by exercising or hard work. And having to wash your tops after one day's normal use isn't very fun, when airing should be enough.

So that brings us back to the pretty dresses goal, that's just not on the table anymore right now, if washing after one use is what needs done. So T-shirts it is from here on, until this has healed.

granny toddler chic, june 3, 2020 ‍♀️

With this situation in combination with the stay-at-home-times my once frequent granny toddler style, seriously toned down over the last years, has returned with a vengeance. I. can. not. be. bothered. If it's a reasonable colour match I mix anything. Which I'd never normally do if I was doing something professional or were around more people. But nothing is normal now. Or it's a very new, unfamiliar normal.

So I give you today's slowfashion (always) outfit form top to bottom -

- Happy hamster on a scooter t-shirt (still one of my favourites, bought in Krakow in 2014)
- Grey cardigan, Filippa K (about 10 years old I think)
- Flowery skirt, Marimekko (haz pockets)
- vegan sneakers, Marimekko (Unikko pattern ftw)
- Re-KÄnken, FjÀllrÀven
- shopping tote with calves (!), Marimekko (Helsinki 2012, oh how I miss that city...)
- snoopervisors and shoe loving kitty: Pelle and Sigrid

granny toddler chic, june 3, 2020 ‍♀️

Thursday, July 02, 2020

dogs' best friend

the hoods, july 2020

My mum, THE best human ever according to the neighborhood's dogs. Because she ALWAYS has dog treats in her pockets. And they have learnt to see and smell her from far far away. Sometimes to their humans irritation, but mostly they think it's quite enjoyable and fun. Albeit somewhat embarrassing, because when the dogs have spotted her they no longer listen to command. And whatever they're occupied with seize to be of interest.

Her daughter however, is super boring, she never have dog treats in her pockets. Bah.

Some dog owners, for various reasons, don't want their dogs to get treats. And my mum isn't very good at picking up those vibes. So now and then there are pretty awkward moments. But I suppose hat in the big scheme of things, like life, that's merely a glitch.

the hoods, july 2020

The other day we went for a walk, and were lucky enough to run into this adorable gang. And they were ALL up for treats. Some more shamelessly than others.

Oh how I love a good meet cute. And more so these days, when life is generally rough, frayed and listless. Those little shiny happy moments, at least for a while the bad stuff is tucked away.

the hoods, july 2020

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

ice ice tea

vegan food at home, june 2020 -

Let's keep the July 1st post light and refreshing. (And aren't you terribly excited that there will be one post every. single. day. all through July...? I kind of am. It's a plan, something to focus on, but with a light heart. Perhaps I'll even get to tick some old backlogs, like the Schwarzwald trip, nearly four years later...) Let's talk ice tea, cold brew ice tea.

During the recent heatwave I decided to get serious about ice tea. And as I find it totally weird and wasteful to boil water (in a country with delicious, healthy tap water available) to cool down, I decided to try the cold brew method.

It's brilliant. Fill a 2 L jug with tap water, add 2-3 teaspoons of your favourite tea, put in fridge for 6-8 hours. Great if you have a jug with a built strainer, when you pour the tea into a glass with ice cubes (and maybe favourite fruit of choice) the next day. But I realised the loose tea managed to find its way out and into the tea anyway, thus I always ended up using an extra tea strainer when I poured it.

vegan food at home, june 2020 -

When you try a proper homemade ice tea you realise THIS is how it should taste, light and refreshing and nothing like those sugary nasty bottles you get at supermarkets and cheap cafes. If you'd like a hint of sweetness I guess a dollop of healthy agave syrup would work though.

The top glass is filled with orange-cactus rooibos from tea shop Tehuset Java. One of my favourite tea shops, and when things are as they are currently, I co-order with one of the neighborhood dog ladies, for free shipping. Time to get a new delightful order placed, because the amount of tea drunk these past months...

The pretty jug is from Löv tea, I first spotted it in the fab flagship store in Berlin in 2015, decided not to get one. Regretted that deeply. Shipping from France was very expensive, but then they had a special deal a couple of years ago and I got one. It's Lövely. However it also makes me wistful, and reminds me of how much I miss Berlin.

As does the second Berliner Weisse coupe glass. I actually have a few bottles left from 2015, but I want to save them for a time/times when there is truly something to celebrate. So I use it for other fine drinks. And soak my brain in melancholy memories instead.

The glass contains mango passion-fruit rooibos, also from Tehuset Java. One of my favourites. Excellent ice tea flavour.

vegan food at home, june 2020 -

Cold brewing tea also means you get fuller flavour and no tannin acid, so it works great on green teas too. I was sceptical but it worked. This glass is a joy of organic green rooibos Mirabelle from Kaffetheket in VÀsterÄs.

What's your favourite ice tea?

PS Remember to drink plenty of water when you drink lots of tea, not doing that and you'll be prone to constipation. I know too well, after my tea calendar bonanza in 2018, when I wasn't aware of that fact.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

bye june, hey july 2020

Ă„rstiderna organic #vegan food box, june 2020 -

I'm thinking about challenging myself to actually write a little blog post every single day in July. Because there isn't much else one can do these days, other than walk, cook, eat, drink tea, read, cuddle cats, watch movies, meditate. Life continues to be very restricted for most of us, who don't own or have access to a car. I think most of us feel life is on hold, the waiting game prolonged.

I've struggled with setting the tone of this post, will I keep it light and positive, or will I simply tell it like it is. Life is made up of both, even in these troubled times for all of us. And I haven't exactly shyed away from the difficult stuff before...

So, even if I'm grateful to be an intro/ambivert, and ever so grateful I'm not of an addictive nature, this is *starting* to take its toll on me too. Even if I enjoy my own company, and solitude, I also feel lonely. People with loving partners and good families probably don't get it. Nor do people with friends they have deep and meaningful relationships with. To be quite honest, I don't think I have anyone like that in my life anymore. There, now that's said and out there.

During these months, no one has gotten in touch to hear how I'm doing. And vice versa, after the first few weeks I have felt zero inclination to reach out myself. The energy levels are limited. People are working, from home or wherever they feel comfortable and safe to be, they're only interested in social distancing contacts with people close by. If anyone with a car was interested to meet up in my neighborhood, for a take away lunch and a walk and talk, I'd be happy too. But few people seem to have cars and the ones I've asked have said "sure, but maybe later", and that later never happened...

I'm not the least bit interested in having more Zoom- or Skype talks than those which are work or pro bono-necessary. They're just stressful and unproductive, they never fill me with joy or inspiration. The only contacts I have with people these days (apart from darling little mom, grocery store clerks, the neighborhood's dog ladies and such) are via short comments on social media. Which on the one hand feels quite insufficient, on the other hand quite enough for my current energy levels.

The times we're living in are traumatizing for most us, so maybe this is the new normal (at least for us not prone to alcoholism or violence...) and perhaps that also means we only have just enough energy to focus on the immediate close circle.

I know I feel that way, but at the same time I feel lonely. On the other I don't have the energy to spend on a lot of interactions. And if I start reaching out to more people, perhaps I'll feel it's a bit overwhelming in the end? It's enough to cope with my own thoughts and personal issues. Weltschmerz as well as personal worries. And even if meditating does help, it's only as much as that can do to keep the demons away. One day at a time, one day at a time. Reading, cat cuddling, cooking, walking, repeat. Who said it was without complications?

I found June to be a particular bad month, on a personal level. (Because we all know what a shi**y month it was for the world, so no need to dig into that. And this is after all, my little world within the world, so...). It began with a plantar fasciitis from hell in my left heel (not had one since 2009, but this past year I have been wearing more sneakers than usual and I find that sneakers generally give much less support to my feet than regular shoes. Sure they are seemingly comfortable and kind, but overdo the walking in them, there will be a hefty price to pay...

So I had to spend a couple of weeks resting, stretching and hobbling out to the garbage bin regularly  (in different shoes, just to see which ones would work best for a painful heel). Finally last week I did my hobble in the vegan wedges I got in March, and they felt very promising. The next day I did a longer walk to the grocery store, and it was painfree. Huzzah!

Taking it slowly, but so far two walks this week and I'm hopeful to be back on my usual walking track within a foreseeable future.

The job processes I was recently positive about, didn't lead to anything. And others haven't either. It's absolutely crazy that it is this hard to find my kind of people, my kind of company. I'm weird and wonderful, but apparently too many companies and organisations find me weird and incomprehensible. No matter how qualified I am, no matter how much potential and visions I have. That in itself is deeply disturbing, and depressing. Maybe I should just give up finding a job in Sweden, and find one abroad that accepts and encourage remote working?

But all in all, I'm really at lost on what to do now, where to look, where to find, at last. When you find yourself, after much work and effort, in this position, you kind of have to truly trust that universe has your back...

Last week's depressing heatwave didn't exactly help the mood either. I'm grateful for cooler weather and two days of several rain showers now though. But nature is in desperate need much much more water, more rain.

Before the heatwave I immensely enjoyed my little, shabby, green haven of a garden. Lilacs, honeysuckle, rhododendron... Roses, mock orange and now clematis. I wish they could blossom for a longer time though. It's fleeting time of immense beauty and calls for intense appreciation of nature's little wonders.

One of the cats passed away last Friday. He suddenly got poorly and rapidly lost weight after Midsummer. Over the years I've gotten (too) well versed with cats and cancer, and its often very quick process. I used to dash off to the vet, and followed by painful procedures with always poor outcomes. After those times I decided to never again submit 10+ years old cats to that stress but keep them comfortable at home and if possible let them pass away in the comfort of their well-known surroundings and alongside friends.

He drank water, didn't ate very much, enjoyed cuddles, slept a lot and kept to himself. On a very warm and humid Friday evening he fell into the final sleep on the veranda. As the vet was closed by then I had to wrap him up and keep him in the freezer over the weekend. That's how you have to problem solve things, even the very sad things. On Monday morning I put him in a box, walked to the vet, and paid a hefty price for the cremation. And that was the end of Waldemar Warwick.

He was a fun, weird kitten and young cat, but as a grown up, older cat he wasn't one of the cats with big personalities, but a more subdued fella. But still, he was part of the cat puzzle in this residence. He had never been sick once, always a healthy sight in shiny, black fur so this came very unexpected. He would have turned 13 in a couple of months.

With a cat gang now between 8 and 16 years old, most of them never having been sick a day in their lives, I guess you can never tell which one will be next. It feels a bit like being in the Agatha Christie novel "And Then There Were None".

I can't imagine my life without cats, but with the immense joy, gratitude and furry love comes sorrow. There have been countless of tears shed over cats lost, over the years. And well, this experience didn't exactly add anything positive and joyful to my current mood. But there you are, life.

I had high hopes for June, those were really put to shame. I'm not even sure what lessons I've learnt from it. Life is rough, but there are always people who are worse off, be grateful for the good things you have, have had and will have?

Now half of the year is gone. And EVERYTHING is topsy turvy, can you please, gorgeous July, turn into something positive, uplifting, beautifully solution based and inspiring? I need it. And I'm not alone.

See you tomorrow. One little post at a time.

Monday, June 01, 2020

first guest at hedgehog drop-inn 2020

first guest at hedgehog drop-inn 2020 - may 24 ❤️ and Siri

Another post second day in a row. Not something you should get used to though. But when I realised I had done a blatant mistake and not mentioning the news of the first distinguished guest at Hedgehog Drop-Inn 2020 in yesterday's post I though s/he deserved a post of her/his very own. And what better way to start a new month, than sharing an adorable, mood-lifting sighting?

If I've done my calculations correctly this is the 18th year of summer hedgehogs visits and stays, but I first wrote about them in 2007. I am so honoured they've find sanctuary here ever since. Even if there are probably new guests every summer, they might be a family that tell stories through generations  about the magical garden with plenty of food, water, sleeping places and curious fluffsters.

first guest at hedgehog drop-inn 2020 - may 24 ❤️

As they usually turn up in late July/early August, I couldn't believe it was actually a persistent wee hedgehog that was trying to get in through the garden gate, when I heard the noise on May 24. but there s/he was, strutting down the garden path. I know they're little clever pricklies and can get through and in via very small openings, but I'm surprised at their ingenuity every year.

As I've done my best (or succumbed completely to my inner garden gnome of laziness plus the garden elder weed that invaded some years ago... for a good reason though!) to let the garden be as it is, to offer a haven for biodiversity, they might hibernate and live somewhere inside here too.

first guest at hedgehog drop-inn 2020 - may 24 ❤️

From feasting on luxurious kitty food (the only I had at home at the time, I usually buy cheaper bags when hedgehog season begins) it was time for a stroll and a cat nap. Because this is just how much the cats looovez when the hedgehogs appear for the season. And sights like this makes my heart explode of cuteness overload.

Just what one needs to see and be in in these worrying times, wouldn't you agree?

PS After letting the garden grow wild like this for some years now it has become just what I wanted, much more popular amongst bees, bumblebees, butterflies and other insects. My little humble contribution to biodiversity. My very own green green mess of home. DS

Sunday, May 31, 2020

goodbye may, hello june 2020

garden and neighbourhood nature, sweden, may 2020 💜

I lied. I'm sorry. It did take another month for a post to appear here again. I'm too tired, jaded, worried, sad, angry, heartbroken (take your pick for the day) to feel inspired, energized and happy enough to blog these days. It's really difficult to look forward to things, imagine a prosperous future. The feeling of Weltschmerz on your shoulders is particularly heavy in these times.

Not happy enough to do anything substantial or newsworthy really. Funnily enough I read a lot, which usually is something I struggle with (loosing my mojo for) when I'm in a low place. But there you are. And go for walks and cook. The nature is gorgeous this time of the year and the weather has been on the chilly side of early summer (which I'm grateful for, we need lots of rain). But still, the world is very limited and small right now.

Oh, and I do a lot of guided meditation, a few times each day, between 15-45 minutes at a time. Have however not found the peace and serenity in it I had hoped and waited for. Somehow I think the times we are living in are too overwhelming for that to happen. It will take time, a long time. But one thing that has improved, my mind doesn't wander as much as before. That's at least something.

smiski peace & yoga, may 2020

I finished both courses I took this spring, the Science of Well-Being at Yale and the shorter one in Swedish on Climate, Environment and Consumption. The first one was great and very inspiring - but as I said, the rough and extraordinary times we are living in makes it a real struggle to apply all that new knowledge in real life... - the second one was alright. No new information for me, but a lot of useful things to brush up on regarding sustainability and choices.

My best tips for being a better earthling and champion for sustainability and peace are still -

  • Go Vegan! And do it NOW.
  • Buy organic and avoid palmoil.
  • Consume less, consume better.
  • Fly less, much much much less.
  • Stop your routine-like driving everywhere. (Yes, I know, public transport just isn't an healthy option currently, but things will not stay like this forever. Walk, bike and take the bus/train. Do the healthy, sustainable thing.)
garden and neighbourhood nature, sweden, may 2020 💜

I'm involved in a couple job processes. But to be honest I don't have a good gut feeling about neither of them. When a process is stretched out and you don't get updates, it just doesn't feel ... right anymore. You question the company, you question yourself, and is it really such a great match... Oh how illusive is that dream job of mine...

Vegoforum was obviously cancelled in March due to corona, but last week it was turned into two digital seminars with focus on sustainable, healthy, vegan school meals. Great speakers, great insights, and very inspiring. I wish we could all go out and make a quick and radical difference right here and now with all that inspiration.

I'm also doing volunteer work as a board member in the non-profit association SMMI (Svensk Mat- och Miljöinformation, Swedish Food- and Environmental information) now, Vegoforum is one of their projects. The mission is to promote, teach and inspire about a sustainable food chain and the environment, tied to the Agenda 2030 and its sustainable development goals. It's lovely to *see* the knowledge and dedication of the people involved in the movement. But as much as I love that, this too is a struggle as we're confined to Zoom-meetings (so not a fan. Who knew that a simple telephone call/conference would feel like a relief one day... for an Odd Phoney) so far. 

vegan thai food, pgad thai takeaway neighbourhood food truck, sweden, april - may 2020 -

After M's passing in 2016, I never eat take away. I cook everything myself, unless I'm eating out obviously. But the fact that a Thai foodtruck that can veganize about 20 dishes on the menu, has opened up nearby has been such a lovely change during corona-times. Have had a few take aways with my mum so far, the food is great (and especially the tofu is perfect) and it's kind of a weekly-ish highlight. I hope they get enough business in the neighbourhood to stay put. We'll kickstart June with a Thai lunch too, happiness boosters are few and far away. Even for us who has so so much to be grateful about during these troubled times.

selfies, may 2020 -

Last week Marimekko had a digital runway with participants all over the world showing their summer outfits inspired by Marimekko, on Instagram, instead of the annual Helsinki fashion show. It was really sweet. And one of those little treasured happiness boosting things to watch people of different sizes, colours, gender and ages loving their outfits and strutting their stuff. This was my wee contribution, love the Unikko filter for Instagram. And yes, I did a vegan Maria Nila colour refresh a couple of week's ago again - mixed pink pop and cherry red.

As there are currently no reasons to dress in all my pretty dresses or favourite clothes in general, I try to at least take one out for fresh air once per week. Which basically means, let's make a dress effort for walks to the grocery stores or the Thai foodtruck.

garden and neighbourhood nature, sweden, may 2020 💜

As much as I was and is proud of the Swedish covid-19 strategy I'm now very less than proud of the blatant negligent and careless attitude of far too many Swedes when the sun came out. I know that I wrote about that last month too, but seriously, people are indeed idiots. And watching the news, it's most certainly not a Swedish thing only. Idiots everywhere.

And I can't say I'm any happier about the open up-strategies in other countries either. Much too soon, too casual I'd say. Opening up to the second wave. And thus putting further strains on all the incredibly hard working hospital staff (will they ever have time to heal, rest, recuperate and get a decent pay I wonder...). But there you are. Life and people are currently particularly hard to grasp and relate to, on so many levels.

selfies, may 2020 -

Goodbye, May, you have been pretty, you have been a struggle. Thank you for the insights and lessons, but I'm sad to say it wasn't very good to meet you this year.

Hello, June, I really hope, wish and keep my fingers crossed for more joy, kindness and progress. Can you, please, pretty pretty down on my knees please, make some dreams come true? And if there's anything more I can do to make that happen, please do show and tell!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

the waiting game

cherry blossom trees, stockholm suburbs, sweden, april 2020

”Step outside, take a breath, listen to the calm and gentle sounds of nature. It is the sound of recovery.”

I know, it's been a long month since I last blogged. It's probably been a month of many ups and downs for us all. A bewildering month of many adjustments, a lost month but also full of insights and learnings.

Myself I also managed to catch a nasty cold - I'm pretty sure it wasn't Covid-19, as it was acting like my colds act, only it was prolonged into 2,5 weeks before I felt really well again. So during those weeks I only ventured out a few times to the garbage bin at dusk, to avoid people.

I haven't been in to inner city Stockholm since March 16, thus obviously haven't travelled by bus or train since then. Just walked around the neighbourhood and to the grocery store (it's great to get there at 7 am when they open up, perfect for social distancing). It feels surreal, life's taken a time out somehow.

I'm still proud to be a swede and our strategy of course, but I'm appalled at the selfish flippancy too many people seem to show as of lately, filling up restaurants, restaurateurs not taking responsibility despite clear restrictions, not taking the social distancing seriously as if spring and warmer weather is some magical overnight cure. The stupidity and ignorance, mindboggling.

#vegan shoes el naturalista, march  2020 - and loving snoopervisors 💚

Before corona struck I bought two vegan shoes from El Naturalista. I've been eyeing them for a year, but resisting since I (obviously) don't desperately need new shoes. But now there was a decent sale on, and I would (also obviously) love to have a few more non-leather shoes. I'm also thinking I'll finally sell some of my El Naturalista leather sandals, that I have only used a couple of times (not really my style or fit, but once I thought they were a must...), so less in more out.

#vegan shoes el naturalista, march  2020 - and loving snoopervisors 💚

Unexpected feline bonus of the purchase, Ågot absolutely adored the mesh bags that came with the shoes. You might think they were drenched in catnip.

Before corona I also had my discerning eye on a gorgeous skirt and dress from Marimekko. But I have to say that, nowhere to go, noone to see, working from home and only going for walks and picking up groceries has been a most effective way of curing shopping urges. And given the gazillion emails about sales, new collections at reduced prices I get every single day, I'm not the only one. I also think that with incomes and future job situations being really worrisome for many of us now, shopping for things that aren't a must seems pretty crazy. I mean, I already struggle to use my existing beautiful wardrobe right now.

cherry blossom trees, stockholm suburbs, sweden, april 2020

Talking about shopping and consumerism, one of the two online classes I've been taking this past month is about Consumption, environment and climate. I can't say it's been an eyeopener as such, since I've spent so many years already reading and learning about the topic of sustainability. Obviously. And the obligatory test I took about my ecological footprint clearly shows that if people lived like me, the planet would be healthy, thriving place for us all. Yes, the combination of vegan living, chosing organic, slow fashion, not owning a car or flying a lot, choosing energy from renewable sources and more, can truly make a huge difference. It both infuriates and saddens me that people still don't get that. When politicians and big businesses fail us, we could make such a big difference ourselves just with our daily choices.

sheep o’hoy, suburban, sweden, april 2020 💙

My other class is a Yale-course on the Science of Well-being. It's great! I'm also proud of the insight it has given me, that my main signature strength is Perspective, followed by Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Humour, Creativity and Love of Learning. I do love my perspective strength, but I have to say that given how the world looks and people still behave, it has also always been a struggle with this blessing. I so wish people would finally learn how to connect the dots, our current situation is such an obvious, heartbreaking lesson from Mother Nature we MUST. I will now embrace and acknowledge my strength more, use it even more for a greater good.

I'm now on the shivering last weeks of the course and rewiring my brain, which in my case is meditating regularly every day. And you know how long I've been struggling to make that a routine, in vain. I still struggle with focusing. But now I have better tools and insights to make it happen. And the quote from the course "A mind-wandering mind is an unhappy mind" has certainly striked a cord.

I've also applied for a university course at Stockholm Uni - Resilience Center on Sustainability Science. They've changed it into a digital class, still in Swedish, but available from anywhere in the world this time. I hope I'll be accepted, it's pretty much exactly what I've been looking for in vain until now. It'll start in late August, part-time for 6 months. I'll know if I got in in June. Fingers crossed.

cherry blossom trees, stockholm suburbs, sweden, april 2020

As an intro/ambivert I don't miss interacting with people that much - I still go for social distancing walks with my mum and the neighbourhood's dog ladies - but I do miss the freedom of just taking the bus-train to the city, museums, walks, seminars, meetings, fika, lunches, you know, all those simple things we take for granted. Most of all though, I missed not being able to experience the blissful cherry blossom trees in KungstrÀdgÄrden this year. Last year seems like another world... Which, crazy enough, it truly is.

But I'm also grateful for the fact that the sadness over that has been alleviated by the fact that there are actually more cherry blossoms trees in my neighbourhood than I realised. They're obviously not as impressive as rows of 20+ years old trees, but the sight of them still light up my heart and mind.

selfies, april 2020

I didn't get the job I went to an interview for in March. I was over-qualified, I was told that before the interview, but there were other benefits and great things about the job in question so I didn't mind at all. But it wasn't meant to be.

I've applied to two fantastic sounding jobs lately, they both get me salivating really (that is an extremely rare thing), last day of application hasn't been yet. So I'm holding my fingers crossed more firmly than ever before. Please join me in that firmly-fingers-crossing activity.

shoe per diem, april 2020 -

I promise there won't be a month's hiatus until the next post. I want to write about books, the fact that lipstick has become one of my small things in order to keep up some sort of normalcy, about all the lovely vegan food I've eaten, cooked and baked (yes even that, I haven't baked since 2017!) recently, about the thai food truck that has put up doors within walking distance and that they can veganize pretty everything on the menu, tea, feline shenanigans, great TV-series, movies and much more. So for a month lost to us all, April 2020, things still happen, life is slow but still very much there around us, within us. Savouring the little things is more important and obvious than ever before.

Goodbye April, I won't miss you, but you've been a master teacher of what's important and of what must change.

Welcome gorgeous, green May, I hope you will be a kinder teacher and great enabler.



"...you've been wandering in between, the things you have and your longings and your dreams..."
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