Wednesday, September 30, 2009

enter skyeblue el naturalista iggdrasil clogs


As much as it may seem so, this isn't the incredible Hulk stepping into my garden showing his true feminine colours, only little ol' me celebrating the fact that I've been such a diligent pupil for these past months, cramming more courses than originally planned and finishing the last one today, *hurray*.

And a celebration in style does call for new shoes. Somehow.

I am aware of acquiring quite a few shoes lately, but I was in real and urgent need of comfortable shoes of the right kind, thus they have all ticked most all the right boxes;

:: irresistable looks (incl gorgeous colour and cute details)- check
:: comfortable, foot hugging - check
:: well though through (incl organic) design and excellent craftsmanship - check

:: on sale - check for some

This model - the Iggdrasil clogs, siblings to the so moodlifting Oxfords - was actually the very first El Naturalista shoes I ever tried a few years back. It was love at first try, like stepping into old, incredibly cushioned slippers, however it took until now to get a pair. The inauguration of these skyblue - just the name, just the colour, just the hue makes me happy - will naturally have to wait until spring. Because they do so fall into one of my definite clothes and shoes no-nos category; no tights or socks ever with sling backs, clogs, slippers or peep toes. Shudder.

But come spring, come warmer weather, I am sure they'll make me and my feet very pleased. As well as the not so small detail of being a reminder of a job well done. On the last day of September 2009.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

top three conditioners


ongoing paw approval of conditioners

From all years using conditioners (teens until now) I can safely say that not many have been much to neither cheer nor write blog about. For me a top notch conditioner should practically have a detangling effect just by the hair getting a sniff of the bottle content. Suffice to say, not a lot have passed that test with flying colours.

But there were two, now three, conditioners that pass my discerning conditioner demands. Two, now three, conditioners I keep returning to over the years (even if they certainly don't keep me from trying out others for a change now and then in the hope of making the top conditioner's list longer);

1) Paul Mitchell Detangler - containing carrots, so of course it's a winner, need not say more.

2) Aussie Miracle Moist - this one even smells lovely and uplifting containing macadamia nut and other Australian natural goodies.

3) Björk & Berries birch apple - that this conditioner with a simply amazing fresh green apple scent was so incredibly good, kind and detangling for my hair, leaving it soft, shiny and with a whiff of fresh from the apple tree scent, was rather a surprise I have to admit. And a 300 ml bottle lasts, only a dollop gives a great untangle effect when used combing through with fingers only.

Since as much as I adore many of this fab Swedish natural essences brand's skincare products finicky me am usually rather hesitant to use something other than hair salon products on my wisps. The track record for non salon haircare products fails to impress undersigned's hair. But as usual give me an irresistible scent and I'm yours, or well, you are so welcome to come home with me. If you're a candle or skincare-perfume product that is.


This is a sadly very empty bottle. Imagine it filled with creamy pale, pale green conditioner with the mood lifting fragrance of crisp, juicy green apples.
Do you have any favourite conditioners you'd like to share or recommend?

Monday, September 28, 2009

monday musings

:: The countdown for last day in class that has turned me into a computer wiz - not really, but it has been overall great fun, interesting and I would now love to get into practising the whole shebang for real - has finally begun. Friday is class out. It has been intense and I'm so tired, inside out. Maybe I'm a wuss, but absorbing new stuff, cramming information and problem solving pretty much every day 11 weeks straight has left me rather washed out and I'm so looking forward to the upcoming weekend of deep sleep already.

And after deep sleep, for whom it may concern, there will be a lot of catching up on email replies and such.

:: The cold a few weeks back came and went without too much fuss. For tin can me it was a ridiculously light kind of cold. Touch wood. Wee piglet visit perhaps.

:: Wanted - one pair of red leggings last seen on August 31st 2009. I've looked everywhere, yes I have, clean laundry piles, laundry basket, wardrobes, hangers, nondescript piles, they are nowhere to be found. Please come home. The sooner the better. Preferably the very now.

:: Every weekday morning I am amazed - in the very very non positive way - over all the sluggish high school kids who instead of walking for five minutes (at the most) to get from the train station to their school, stand waiting (yes) for the bus that will take them one bus stop to the high school. The only disability they show is insufficient brain function, indolent jerks. Just ridiculous beyond belief really. And I bet they don't eat their five veggies a day either.

In my school days we did walk five miles one direction in blizzards. With no shoes on.

Not really. But we did walk. A lot. And there was just not thought of to take the bus, train, tram whatever when one could walk or ride the bike.

:: I do believe my (very pre-birthday) treat of a pedicure tomorrow is very well deserved. Oh the delight of someone else doing the scrubbing, the foot filing, the massaging, the pampering. Pure bliss of the tired feet kind.

the teabook


As inconceiveable as it may seem, some places (non payment of course) do offer very less than drinkable teas. Then this nifty little thing called a tea book come handy for having your own personal preference drinkable tea with you crush safe at all times.

I got my cutie in this Etsy shop - because it was not only very appealing to the eye, its name 'the naturalist' naturally spoke to me, not only on a shoe level. And I got some nice crafter's favourite complimentary teabags. Plus the amount of time it would take me to create something remotely similar would be a whole lot of waste - but there are other shops offering similar tea books and of course, for the friendly with the sewing machine it is a doable project.


~ Happy tea drinking galore day!

- myself I am just about to get my first cuppa of the day (late I know), leaning towards cherry flavour to perk this Monday morning up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

stripey woolly leg warmers


Not quite like the original stripy sweetheart (turned canvas), but still I am rather pleased with the outcome of these crocheted legwarmers in wool.

Despite them being back in some people's wardrobes for some time now, myself I haven't sported legwarmers since the eighties. As long as it took me to accept the reinstatement of leggings - me now think they are brilliant worn right -, it took me even longer to warm up to the idea of making leg warmers to actually wear again.


But I thought these simple ones would be a nice, quick project - and a naturally good excuse for getting some new yarn - that could be whipped together in front of the telly. (And yes I did decide on yarn and made them way before the matching shoes entered my world actually.)

And they did turn out to be just that, super simple to make I think they'll be a rather nice and perky addition to autumn/winter wardrobe. I hereby declare October to be the perfect month for the inauguration of leg warmers on Pia ~


Saturday, September 26, 2009

strawberry in champagne and other marzipan delights


This Danish sweet treat is really something I shouldn't like at all, since it consists of three things I (my tastebuds) do not like;

:: marzipan - until ten something years ago I didn't eat marzipan at all, I found it quite repulsive, as far as my tastebuds were concerned marzipan fell into the category of inedible/indrinkable things (like beer, capers, egg yolks, olives, sundried tomatoes, wine and such). I totally blame Anton Berg for my nowadays not so reluctant attitude towards marzipan.
:: chocolate creams containing liqueur
:: dark chocolate - usually bitter nastiness compared to the smooth lovliness of milk chocolate as far as I'm concerned.

But I do like it. Quite a lot. Not that they are a regular part of my daily diet or sweet intake (honestly), but when I on the odd occasion have them these Danish fruit-jam liqueur marzipan covered in dark chocolate discs from Anton Berg are just... lovely.

These delicious discs come in six different flavours; Plums in Madeira, Strawberry in Champagne (my favourite since they sadly no longer carry the fab flavour of Kiwi in Cognac), Apricot in Brandy, Cherry in Rum, Grape in Muscat Wine (boring) and Rasberry in Orange Liqueur.


Needless to say obviously, this is a highly recommended sweet treat. And as one or possibly two discs are quite satisfying as far as sweet teeth are concerned they also get thumbs up when it comes to no danger of over-indulgence.

If I could find one or two drawbacks they are that
A) they come in boxes AND individually wrapped and that seems rather wasteful,
B) despite their delicate content they do not make for very good pictures.

But oh, do they taste good. Oh yes they do.

Friday, September 25, 2009

six books


Ah, my weekend will definitely involve making some new bookly acquaintances from this fine little pile of freshly arrived books I'm all starry eyed over. From top to bottom there is;

:: Till dess din vrede upphör by Åsa Larsson - (Until your anger cease) my definite favourite female crime writer, Swedish, former tax lawyer her books are so much more than the average mainstream not very well written suspense novel. The stories not only extremely well-written but inventive, multi layered, reality rooted and rather gruesome. This is her fourth book about lawyer Rebecka Martinsson. I am so looking forward to the reading of this book.

:: The Stranger House by Reginald Hill - another favourite crime novelist, this book is however not about stablemates Dalziel and Pascoe but a free-standing story. Now in pocket edition. Should be a neat read.

:: Kinesen by Henning Mankell - (The Chinese) I have to admit I've never read a book by this Swedish mainly crime novels (about chief inspector Wallander) author, international bestselling at that. I've seen most of the Swedish film/TV adaptions of Mankell's books but I've just never been intrigued enough to take on the books. This book (that apparently the whole Dutch Olympic team got to read before the last Olympic games in China) I have however wanted to read since it was released, it seems quite fascinating and now it's finally available in pocket edition.

:: We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee - I've already begun reading this rather original real life story about journalist Mee who, with his family, bought a rather derelict wild life zoo in the English countryside.

:: Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith - second book in the 44 Scotland Street-series. Need not say another word than delightful it will be.

:: Virka! by Frida Pontén - (Crochet!) I borrowed this at the library at first (courtesy my mum really, since I more rarely than rarely frequent the fine library system), found it an enthralling and sweet book with a blend of old and new techniques, full of simple patterns (some more must-do than other). It has a rather wonderful colourful happy feel to it and many sweet photos that really makes one want to immediately crochet, again and again. The equivalent of a candy/toy store for yarn addicted grown ups.

Overall the patterns and explanations are easy to follow, some need tweaking and there's pretty much a total lack of specific yarn information as well as the amount needed for the projects. Which I suppose has both its pros and cons, it does make room for personal improvisation and creativity. But when you can't find that special yarn which looks irresistable in photo or have difficulties to estimate consumption, it is somewhat annoying...

Something that obviously didn't stop me from coveting the book for myself instead of settling for a library version.

Have a happy book reading, crocheting weekend ~

Thursday, September 24, 2009

clever cat thursday - living in a box


A perfect example of one scene that might meet me in the morning; in the middle of the living room, one rather large madam thinking this papery accomodation is top notch for splendid furry creatures - this particular compact living is a box from 'Kivik's cider factory, from the heart of Österlen' one gorgeous part of Scania, the very south of Sweden, a place I surely wouldn't mind living in. If I could take Stockholm with me. But that's another story.

Still lack a perfectly conceivable answer to the attraction between (the smaller the better) boxes and cats.

And as usual when there's a box that's indwelled - there's always someone waiting to make a sneaky takeover.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the perks of autumn


It still remains to see if this autumn will be as lovably colourful and stretched as last year's, but here and there there are some glimpses of awesomeness. Yes, not counting the tea and candles, tweed hats, woolly yarn and birthday girl part, autumn has some pretty obvious perks.




And one might still find the perfect weather and opportunity to
have irresistable cakes outdoors.


Happy Wednesday ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

autumnal equinox and waldemar two


Today is the day of the autumnal equinox - which is very obvious in the mornings, quite suddenly pitch dark they are -

but more importantly it is the second birthday of one extraordinarily sweet (mostly) furry black boy named Waldemar. Since he was born the tiniest in the litter two years ago, he has been such a spunky and keen little helper in all things impawtant.

Here are some highlights from his two years;

:: the compact living modern upbringing
:: two weeks old and one month old
:: one on a blanket
:: hosting a teaparty
:: two months old
:: giving lussecats an authentic touch
:: being a sweetie
:: sampling lenten buns... and the day after
:: no april fool
:: pendant posing and on wheels
:: doing the bread basket curl
:: de-nutting
:: like father like son
:: tulip marauding (one exception to the sweetie rule)
:: waiting for the concierge
:: a taste of meringue heaven
:: inspecting national day pastries (he obviously has a sweet tooth, bless him)

~ Happy birthday little shiny liquorice fellow,
I'm so glad you
firmly decided not to move habitat ~


Monday, September 21, 2009

the winners of the whisks


This isn't a fabulastic new movie nor is it a grandiose on the rise band (at least I don't think so), no this is the not so simply revealing of the three recipients of the miniscule wire whisks.

The three winners are as follow - but first some glimpses of the pretty exciting drawing, the pictures just don't do the whole hullabaloo justice, take my word for it, excitement galore only begins to explain the thrill ~

can we pleeeease begin now
the drawer who could barely curb her enthusiasm
even one squirrel visitor wanted to be part of the flush

And the paws say the distinguished winners are *ta-da* ;
I hope you'll like the wee whisks that are coming your way soon, if you could please e-mail me with your snail mail info and maybe mention which colour you prefer (orange, purple, red), hopefully you have different preferences, and the whisks will be sent asap.

And of course, thank you all for kind and sweet comments about my first attempts on wire work!

woolly colour monday


On this rather gloomy Monday morning (I'm sure there's morning somewhere still) behold
, the yarn ten days later, glimpses of what hopefully will be respectivelly one fine flowery shawl and one simply awfully cute scarf - tweaked the original child pattern into a more befitting size for a grown up. Since I see absolutely no reason for thise adorable specimen of a perk me up scarf should be limited to little girls (or boys for that matter) only -

the latter is rather timeconsuming with tiny needle and a pattern that needs full attention (not really the perfect thing to be working on in front of the telly, my favourite place to knit and crochet), but totally delightful to make and watch slowly turning into a very appealing shape.


Still let's just say that I'm quite grateful for the fact that any snowstorms are *touch wood* still very far away. And even if there was one threatening to strike tomorrow I'm certainly not depending on this pretty piece's completion for a neck warming friend. I am after all a (happy and proud) member of NASSA (Non Anonymous Shawl Scarf Addicts) ~


Sunday, September 20, 2009

the naming of the dead & exit music

It feels rather bittersweet when having to say goodbye to a book character you've followed in 10 books. I didn't realize there was that many of them, but yes, eight add two are now standing in my bookshelf. All read. By me. "The Naming of the Dead" and "Exit music", the two last books (ever) by Scottish crime novelist Ian Rankin featuring jaded, grumpy, too much whisky drinking, smoking and eating bad food but with a strong sense of what's right and what's not inspector John Rebus.

Just noticed that there are apparently 17 books written about Rebus, but only 10 translated into Swedish. How bizarre. As I picked up my first Rebus book in Swedish (Black & Blue), found it well written (translated) I've just continued reading them in Swedish and never thought there could be more, non-published books in English. I should of course known better. When the last book have been read I feel it would however just feel strange to step back in time, go back and pick up the not read ones.

One might say that Rebus is pretty much the average troubled with no private life to talk good about semi-alcoholic policeman in modern crime fiction personified. But his world of crime does have some extra perks that far from all crime novels have;

:: Set in Edinburgh, they do show the darker side of the city and lives that's usually very far from visible to the briefer (or more well off) visitor to the grand city. The books paint a rather bleak and grim picture of the Edinburgh life. On the other hand every city has the not so charming backside and it's the multilayering and history that makes most places as well as people interesting to know.

:: They are well written - which is imho so very far from the case with crime novels in general. Unfortunately. Because a well written crime novel is just an awesome way to spend reading time with! - well worked through with plots, interestingly and often tied to current political issues and tides. As well as the always and everywhere annoying office politics (including the always present people too often in charge whose only interest clearly is lining their own pocket on other people's expense).

:: The depiction of gorgeous Edinburgh and Scotland in general makes one feel very present, some streets and places very familiar, others not. The collection of characters are often very interesting, from all walks of life with a dry, quite entertaining, taking the edge of all the grimness humour weaved in.

What I personally would have liked from the books are more discernible, distinct stories. Because I find that after reading 10 of them I have to say, despite being of high quality, I wouldn't be able to tell one from the other. (The perfect example of very discernible crime novels is Swedish Arne Dahl.)

This is the end of an era. The Rebus era. I'm glad to have made your acquaintance, it has been overall very good to read you.

last chance on the whisk giveaway


Not that the three little miniscule wire whisks (the red, the orange, the purple) wouldn't be perfectly happy to go live with three of the already commenters on the original post. However, the distinguished and very eager little furry helpers do think it would be so much more fun and game if there would be more tickets (paper) to choose from (play with).

So, if you are interested in being one of three recipients of one pair of very useful (if you're a doll) mini whisks, leave a comment in the original post no later than midnight tonight (Sunday Sept 20th) Swedish time (CET) and the winners will be announced tomorrow (Monday 21st) evening.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

el naturalista iggdrasil oxfords


As it happened, just because my poor, aching and discerning left foot was in desperate need of (seasonal) change - and I really didn't have the heart to leave the right foot without a matching one - some new shoes have moved in.


I had planned to get a new pair of comfy autumn shoes (before this painful business began), but well, who can say firmly 'no, just one pair' to feet who screams 'pain' and 'change'? I might be a big softie, because I clearly can't.

Two pairs were really just rekindling with familiar models (nothing wrong with that of course) - and as one was on sale and one was bought for the refund for the still mourned faulty yellow pair that doesn't strictly count as anything than a shoe re-investment rather than an actual buy. Perfect woman logic - but the el naturalista iggdrasils I had ogled for a long time and when I tried the oxfords on (had to go up one size though) they were just incredibly comfortable, supportive and kind to feet. Hence had to have.


After having worn them two days in a row, walked a lot (without socks/tights, no blisters, touch wood) I think they're simply lovely. They render a very springy walk while hugging my feet in a lovingly still giving room for movement way. I'm especially fond of the very soft, sturdy and shock absorbing heel area.

Now I just hope the feeling from these first couple of wear-days will be a true sign of quality and comfort to last. Touch wood. Again.

They will also look pretty awesome with some nifty socks.

Last, but not least, I do love their quirky, cute looks - very 'me' some would say - (that might look rather clownish on a very short person), the round and slightly uppish toes, the recycled soles, the craftsmanship and despite so not being a purple person, I totally dig their gorgeous, moodlifting somewhere between wine-red and purple hue. I believe happiness can sometimes be found in a pair of (comfortable) shoes.


Friday, September 18, 2009

three local waterholes, part I - Öråker Lada


Now, let me finally properly introduce the first of three local waterholes in my rural suburb - all three of these waterholes have opened up pretty recently, all of them includes cafés but their opening hours and offerings apart from the café-bit are quite different, so hopefully there is room for all three of them to stay in prosperous business - Öråker Lada (lada = barn).


Apart from the sweet, unpretentious little café the barn is also home to different kinds of creative businesses; furniture (import and tapestry), antiques, pottery (and classes), photography, art, jumble sales, yoga, meditation and massage and there's room for more (and private functions). Sometimes one can find small amounts of locally produced organic food at the barn and they also host different exhibitions, lectures and happenings.

Easiest way to get there is certainly by car, walking seems quite dull but weather permitted the best (exercise and views) way to get there is of course by bicycle. (Preferably a pink one, with ladybug bell and sunflower garland basket. )

the cheese sandwiches on homebaked bread are just perfect
the antique shop
cinnamon bun and berry pie,
so well deserved after a bike ride in head wind
the café

Öråker Lada,
Open Sat - Sun 11-16
(11 am-4 pm)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ladybug windchime


Meet the ladybug windchime, carved from a coconut and (no longer unidentified wood) bamboo *thanks, Titania*, picked up in Athens, carefully brought home as hand luggage, lovingly hanged on the veranda, prettily chiming away.

Until I decided I had to take it down in order to get a decent photo in good light of it's cuteness. Then happened one of those most-accidents-happen-at-home things - no stupid details will be revealed other than that there were one sore ankle, angry rose shrubs and thorns, some blood and sore bumps in head involved - and suddenly chime was in many more pieces than intended.


The gluing of pieces back together again went reasonably well, the reconstruction of the whole chime did not. It hangs on the veranda again, but it just doesn't look nor chime like it did. Such a pity due to one ridiculously clumsy owner of one once upon a time very cute ladybug wind chime. I'm so sorry, little coconut bug, please forgive me.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the dead hour

Crime novel "The Dead Hour" by Scottish writer Denise Mina is unfortunately one of those books I just couldn't force myself to finish, after some 40 pages I gave up. I was very less than impressed by the first book in the series about budding journalist Paddy Meehan in 1980ies Glasgow (The Field of blood), I felt it painted such a bleak, quite depressing, unbalanced picture of the life and living there and then add one of those annoying weight obsessive main characters that can totally ruin a book.

But as I loved Mina's brilliant Garnethill-trilogy - Garnethill, Exile and Resolution - as well as enjoyed her free-standing novel "Sanctum" I was willing to give the sequel the benefit of the doubt. Turned out I shouldn't have. The story never grabbed me, the mood in the book was just as depressingly gloomy as its prequel. And an always-on-a-diet-insecure main character is just such a nuisance.

So no, not a book, or series, I would recommend at all. But do read the Garnethill-trilogy, it's a fascinating and insightful blend of an exciting thriller with a political edge add social criticism with an unexpected, ragged underdog main character.

I do hope her latest (non-series) novel "Still Midnight" (scheduled for pocket edition here in 2010) will be more Garnethill than Paddy Meehan in style. Because I still look forward to a good read when I think of Denise Mina's writing.

kiehl's essence oils


I (mostly) heart Kiehl's and
in this cute little bag hides...


these wonderful essence oils - grapefruit, coriander, musk - that definitely fall into the great-gifts-category. Rather ridiculously expensive in Sweden, this sweet scented gift was kindly brought from far far away.

A surprising triplet (grapefruit was my only wish) in a cute package, ah I was very pleased indeed. The grapefruit scent has a wonderful swoon factor - as pamplemousse scents often have - the coriander is almost as perfect, I've never liked musk scents - even if synthetic to my nose that scent is foul, repulsive giving me an impression of something, someone unhealthy and unfresh - but I find this particular version to be somehow milder and well, acceptable. Far from sure it's a keeper for self though.

The only drawback to these pretty triplets, and a rather major one at that, is that the scents are quite, quite volatile. Which means I won't be investing in - or pretty please asking for - refills when they have been all used up. Which is indeed unfortunate for such wonderful scents ~


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

smart dog tuesday - muddy nose whisk reminder


Being of an old rat catcher breed now showing distinguished cat herding skills it is important to use one's olfactory sense to the max. Dirt and mud do contain a world of useful information.


And with this useful nose of mine I'm also instructed to give a reminder of the miniscule whisk giveaway, leave a comment here before Sunday the 20th and you might be one of three recipients of a pair of mini whisks.

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