Tuesday, August 31, 2010

books on the last day of summer


The desire to get new books, more books is omnipresent. Thus this is my non-guilty word-pleasure for August - five new books.

Yes, despite the evergrowing heap of books to read I do decidely refuse to feel any guilt about my book buying ways. The last books before this order I bought in May, sadly I now realise I neglected to write blog about them, forgive me please. The order before that I aptly wrote about on World Book Day.

So, now, on the last day of summer, this is the package I feel joyous about -

L'élégance du hérisson - Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - oh I have been waiting so long for this book to come out in pocket edition. I hope it'll be such a good read as I have anticipated. Maybe the perfect book to begin my reading September with?

by Mary Prior - don't know where, don't know when, but somewhere in blogland I must have read about this rhubarb-book. As I have the freezer full of rhubarb I thought it would be nice to try something new and delicious, not only rely my rhubarb on simply awesome rhubarb cream, rhubarb crumbles, the odd case of sticky rhubarb cake and strangeness off rhubarb toffee.

Schott's Original Miscellany
by Ben Schott - some years ago I watched an episode of Marta Stewart and there was Ben Schott with his book of fabulous trivia (love the idea!). I promptly put it on my book-wish list and now it's finally mine. In this quirky piece one might find useful information such as; nouns of assemblage, how to tie a bow-tie, cockney rhyming slang, Miss America's hair colour from 1921-2003 (70% have been brunettes), personal ad abbreviations, a brief (alas) selection of court jesters, the Victorian timetable of family mourning, the Hampton Court maze etc etc and so forth in what must surely be considered completely captivating. I'm sure I will find it much entertaining and useful. And I will certainly want his other books and almanacs...

The lost art of gratitude
by Alexander McCall Smith - the sixth book in the beloved Sunday Philosophy Club-series. Can't wait to start reading. However I am tad annoyed that the book size apparently isn't the regular pocket size as my other books in the series, but larger. It may be a silly thing in the whole scheme of life, but I do like my books in a series to be of the same size and type (preferably pocket). So perhaps this stickler will change this book for a proper pocket sized version.

I had planned and so looked forward to go see mr McCall Smith live at the annual September
book fair in Gothenburg in a some weeks. Sadly that will not be. Disappointing that is.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie - another book I suspect I've read about somewhere in the blogosphere and though interesting enough to put on book-wish-list. I'm now thinking it may be something similar to "The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao" which I personally found a huge disappointment and far from my cup of literary tea. But let's hope not, let's hope for another great mind-evolving Autumn read.

Monday, August 30, 2010

La Consolante

It's been quite a while since i finished reading this wonderful book, but well, yes my book blogging back-log is still... impressive. One small book post step at a time is followed my some more to keep the back-log growing. Anyhow.

- which is a term used in the game of pétanque (called 'boule' in Swedish), a consolation play - is Anna Gavalda 's fifth novel translated. The English title of the book is 'The Consolation Match', and yes, I suppose it may be a clever title but I love the Swedish one which is one of its own but says so much more about the book 'Lyckan är en sällsam fågel' ~ 'Happiness is a rare bird'.

I have to admit that I wasn't as mesmerized and grabbed by the story - a story about coming to terms with life choices, death, loss and love - from the first pages -
as I have been with her previous books, Je voudrais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part -I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere - Jag skulle vilja att någon väntade på mig någonstans, Je l’aimais - Someone I Loved, Ensemble, c’est tout -Hunting and Gathering - Tillsammans är man mindre ensam -

the reason for not being able to stop reading was my pure and utter love for
Gavalda's exquisite writing. The kind of writing that is actually able to turn one into tears just thinking about it, her perfect blend of immediacy, intimacy, nerviness (the positive kind), lightness, the intellectual reasoning, the talking-inside-myselfness, the poetry. Her stories are life, the reading about the dirtier, grubbier, sad, tragic parts of life is turned into joy because of her fantastic way with words.

But after some 250 pages I loved the story, the characters too.

I can't say I have read anything quite like her, and the writing style may definitely not appeal to everyone. Myself I find the blend of easy read and clever intellectualism simply beautiful. And in many parts the recognition factor is both
liberating and frighteningly high. Thus leaving the books full of notes and scribbles. Which truly make her books the prime sort of reads.

Now I'm looking forward to her latest, short, novel '
L'Echappée belle' - En dag till skänks (A day given) to come out in pocket edition. Needless to say, if you haven't discovered Anna Gavalda by now - go out and do so. Immediately.

In the book is a quote by
E.M. Forster - the man who wrote books that have been turned into some of my favourite movies, "A Room with a View" and "Maurice" - which is just heartbreakingly apt for all of us who dream about a better world. (And with the Swedish elections coming up in a few weeks even more so). Read and weep ~

"I believe in aristocracy, though -- if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secreat understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but power to endure, and they can take a joke."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

nutty necklace


I've had a necklace of this style on my-to-create-list for many years, but never gone from thought to action. When I saw this piece at Växplats Nybyn earlier this year I thought it not only looked lovely in it's polished amber-like style, it was of handmade fair-trade kind and would serve as good inspiration to create.

Unfortunately the proprietor wasn't sure on the name nut that necklace is made of, only that it began with a T. Not that it really matters I suppose, but it would be neat to know. Thus any suggestions from the blogosphere would be much appreciated. Any nutty ideas?

I love its both rustic and delicate look, the glowing sort of yellow colour, the friendly egg shaped centerpiece and its well-made finish. I hope its price - which was from my point of life view very affordable - made a difference for someone who deserves a decent income in another part of the world ~


Saturday, August 28, 2010

växplats nybyn


Växplats Nybyn
is literally translated as Growthplace Newvillage, which certainly is a fine kind of name. For a fine kind of place. As this very much is. An organic nursery, garden, shop, café with mostly organic and fair trade goods and food. I only discovered it quite recently, but I am quite smitten.


The place is lovely, very lovely. Unpretentious, lush, natural the grounds stretch over a vast area of rural landscape. A relaxing countryside haven.


There are herbs, roses, medicinal plants, ground covers,


scents, granny plants, vegetables and


there is self-picking of flowers.


There are geraniums,


butterfly plants and


secret places.


Situated some miles outside the town of Norrtälje, some 60 kilometres north of Stockholm, it certainly is easiest to get there by car, even if there are some buses that will take you a good part of the way. Open May-September.

In the café you chose your own coffee cup from a table of odd ones, opt for a nice cake or organic ice cream, then take your tray and



sit outdoors on the veranda under grapevines,



in garden or inside the greenhouse.


If you're a member of certain charitable organisations you get reduced price on the things you buy - though I'd say that the prices in general there are really very, very affordable anyway. But a good way to show you philosophy of life of course.



Today it was squash day at Växplats Nybyn - as in the cooking of courgettes, nothing more violent than that - and we got to sample some lovely food (vegetarian only, which certainly is an extra plus in my book)



Food was excellent and I got some nice recipes and ideas to turn into dishes to come. A stroll of garden, sniffing of scents, enjoying of ambiance, shopping of herbs, vegetables and picking of flowers in fields of colourful abundance.

Which turned into a perfect a shoe per diem moment for the last weekend of summer ~

Friday, August 27, 2010

the last summer weekend ~


Sigh worthy is the fact that despite sunshine there was a distinct chill in the air today… Even if one can hope for many glorious Indian summer days to come, there's no denying that this weekend is the very last one of the summer that was.

It makes me sad, not that it hasn't been a wonderful fantastic weather (if far too hot at times) experience replete one, but saying goodbye to yet another summer that will never be again, that always makes me rather heavy-hearted and filled with melancholy.

By this time next week we’ll have said a final goodbye to summer past, hallo autumn already

So do have a lovely last summer weekend -
or I suppose, winter weekend for some... - I hope you're able to make the most of it, celebrate the long and gorgeous summer that was and bear farewell with some special treat of choice. I know I will.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

clever cat thursday ~ rutger & knut


Just two of my guys looking their usual clever (British Shorthair) self - yes looks can be deceiving - Rutger (blue-white) and Knut (redspotted), wishing a fine kind of Thursday to all ~

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

courgette cake


Today is cake day. At least as far as this blog is concerned. This is one moist, delicious, simple, very healthy cake as it contains a whole lot of courgette. Yes indeed. Health for the soul, at least and that certainly is no mean feat. So grab a courgette and let's get baking. You need as follow;

1,5 L cake pan - grease and sprinkle with bread crumbs

3 free range eggs
1,5 dl caster sugar - whisk together until pale and fluffy

75 g butter/oil
2 tsp grated lemon or orange zest
2-3 dl roughly peeled and grated courgette
2 dl roughly grated almond paste - blend all this into the egg-sugar mix

2,5-3,5 dl wheat flour
1,5 tsp baking powder - mix this carefully into the rest of the batter

Bake the cake in the lower part of oven on 175 degrees C for about 45 minutes.

Let cool, then dust with icing sugar for a prettier cake.

Make a pot of tea, pour yourself a cup, slice a piece of warm courgette cake, eat, enjoy, be instantly merry ~


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

no thoughts tuesday


I fear I'm sort of out of thoughts today. At least truly long blog-post-worthy thoughts.

It might have something to do with the fact that I was woken up very early (from very deep sleep) by the persistent high-pitched sound of the smoke alarm. That was scary stuff. Not the littlest whiff of smoke to be sniffed though. Thus the cause for ridiculously over-sensitive detector to react may be dust glomerating inside. What, dust, in my furry-purry house, nah...

Or it might have something to to with the fact that it was time for my annual dentist check-up today and it was a much dreaded one -
with the jaw tension issues and all, not the usual anticipated my marathon man-session. When it turned out not being as bad I had thought - but still ending up costing a whole lot of money, surely dentists must be very close to billionaires? - it seemed most of my thought energy of this beginning of week had been consumed by the-fearsome-dentist-appointment-thoughts.

So after the check-up - the *only* things that need a seeing to is a change of an old filling and a fix of a chipped tooth (yup, jaw tension caused) next month - my thought process kind of deflated, went flat and uninspired with a relieved sigh, a puff.

Whatever may be the reason, no more writing than this today. And for my fine shoe per diem moment du jour, the most lucky inauguration of good shoes, head over to just that, my shoe per dentist diem post.

Red they were/are. Add quirky, comfy -
which sadly the previous pair of red shoes never were for my feet -, good quality and they do tick all my shoe-boxes (including the much coveted sale-one I might add) very definitely -


even if, granted, my goal, one day, is to not wear or use any leather goods at all, but that, folks, that is very much another story, for another post...

Monday, August 23, 2010

moomin scissors


I am exhausted - Mondays seem to very predictably do that to me these days, ah well, at least I will be seeing a very nice Sleep Cycle curve tomorrow morning - thus today's post will be a short one. But perky. As in I've got a brand new pair of scissors. And you don't. At least I can't imagine you having a pair remotely as lovable as mine. Well hello there, Moomin Fiskars scissors, looking mighty fine today.

The Åland kitchen shop sales clerk and I were completely unanimous that this was a must-have, suddenly it was all so very clear that one was in desperate need of a new pair of scissors. And hands of anyone who thinks s/he can borrow it. There is no such thing as borrowing the Moomin scissors.

From now on, every cutting task will of course be a pure and utter joy. I'm sure you will agree, if not scared of sharp objects, that this is one of the most adorable, indispensable thing one might be lucky enough to call one's kitchen's own.


On Åland I also found a most perky dress, that instantly turned me into a Moomin character, someone quirky, perky, flower-powery, happy clad sort of a personal, mad blend of Little My, Mymble and Fillyfjonk.

The dress may appear in blog some time soon. What will return to blog after a good night's sleep is the wearer of said mad, happy clad dress - yours truly, undersigned, me, My-self and I. Tally-ho, ta-ta and goodnight ~*

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the green and the furry


Little Loaf does this a lot, put his paw on my foot, then sit there overlooking his dogdom (garden or house) as if in his Malte wisdom saying you are mine and I am yours, this is our life, we belong together.

Applegreen and furry.
Me and Malte.
Precious moments.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

happy saturday ~


I hope you'll have a fine kind of Saturday, weekend however you chose to spend it (even if lots of cat cuddling is one highly recommended ingredient to a weekend. Or any day really) -

as for us, we're off on the seas to spend a day on Åland again (I know, I know, haven't written a thing about the day spent there early summer, but there'll be a time soon for that too) this time with car, so we'll get to explore (like last September) some more than the capital of Mariehamn.

Here's to a lovely day for all well-deserving beings!


Friday, August 20, 2010

eating out - friden gårdskrog


One gem of a place (yes, a veritable smultronställe) to eat at, we found on holiday in Scania last year - oh summer gone by where art thou' - was Friden gårdskrog (~The Peace farm inn).

Tucked away at the end of a dirt road in the beautiful countryside (quite tricky to find) of apple kingdom Kivik this former apple orchard is a real unpretentious haven that serves (mainly) luxury pizzas with unusual toppings (made from organic and locally produced ingredients if possible). The whole menu is seasonally based.



Booking is essential, the place is quite small and I can only imagine how crowded it must be during the colder months when there's no outdoor seating available. We were lucky to get a table just the day before we headed back home last, unfortunately it was for early dinner and we were rather full still after a late naughty lunch (of which there will be tell tell in a later post. Yes I am working my way through a backlog of blog post drafts...). So I can't say I enjoyed the meal as much as I would have been hungry for real. And dessert was really very much out of the question (bu-hu).


But yes, the pizzas were really very lovely. Very fresh, very pleasing to the eye. A reasonable selection of vegetarian options to chose from, and every pizza with clever names. And if one isn't vegetarian the seafood pizza looked luxurious and was really very good. I was told.



Friden also produce their own apple juice (which we didn't try alas) and spirituous beverage. As well as having four B&B double rooms to let at a reasonable price. They have a huge garden surrounding the property and a playground for children amongst the greenery.



I think it was, is, a wonderful, unpretentious place for a meal. It must be really very nice to live nearby being able to pop by more regularly than on the odd summer holiday and such... Thus:

Food - 4/5
Service - 3/5
Ambiance - 4/5 (but too warm to sit indoors on a hot summer day)
Value for money - 4/5

Friden gårdskrog
Södra Mellby 26:7, Kivik
tel: +46 (0)414 - 210 36
mail (at) friden.nu





Thursday, August 19, 2010



Smultronställe. One of my favourite words in Swedish, literally meaning " places of wild strawberries", figuratively "lovely little spot" or "hidden secret place" (because it isn't necessarily a place you'd like to share with others, just your favourite, your own special site). I love smultronställen, I love the idea of them, hidden or not.

Do you have a favourite Swedish word? And why?
Or of course an English one?
Or a word in any language?

One of my favourite English words is "serendipity". I do adore what that stands for, and it's such a perky, happy kind of word, much like it's meaning.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

give me good vibes

buddha bracelet

Today I celebrated sunny colours, I wore orange (blouse, Elvira the handbag), red (skirt) and yellow (happy shoes). I felt indeed rather perky on this gloomy, humid late summer day.

I then went to a kind of dreaded meeting (hate them, but as things sadly are I have to go to them) which turned out to be quite mindblowing instead. It made me both laugh and cry –

f-ck “Landet Lagom”, that is Sweden. The saying can be translated to something like “The Country of Modest~Just enough~Temperate” where one should never show too much feelings, want too much, think one’s skillful in something. The home of the Jante Law (which I’m sure is true about many countries, but more often than not it does feels like a very Swedish thing) -

and yes, my spirits had lifted somewhat more when I went from said meeting.

Today was also a day of wearing the autumnal bracelet, I made a couple of years ago, a mix of semi-precious stones from far, iddy-biddy rocaille beads, antique coin, silver and hand carved pieces from China (which kind M brought me from a business trip) including a little Buddha guy. He constantly laughs and I chose to take that as a good sign of good vibes.

malte and the buddha bracelet

Wag the Loaf Tail and Buddha the Bracelet, the former give good vibes every day, the latter I should obviously wear more often for same reasons.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

yarn shopping


Yarn shopping, well that's one thing to beat any blues, or fill a void or possibly be a good-girl-treat. Or what the heck, who needs an excuse?! I'm a yarn addict and I'm proud of it!

Mini hanks, aren't they just adorablesque? (No I know there isn't such a word, thank you very much, spellchecking, I like it just the same, right?) I wouldn't dream of knitting something with them, for me they will just look peachy in a little bowl and make me happy and inspired whenever I glance at them.


Regnbågen (the rainbow) organic cotton hand-dyed in Sweden, they have the most amazing colours and are reasonably non-cheap. I'm hoping to finish a crocheted scarf (nah, really?) in a foreseeable future with a couple of skeins from this brand, but I thought it would be nice to knit one too. Thinking greenish and violetish would be nice together. Feels like a very calming scarf somehow.

The other three hanks are organic tie-dyed cotton yarn, I'm thinking the very original thought of... ta-da, scarf here too. Because one can clearly never get too many of those. And there are always new kind of edges, fringes and tassels to try out.


The big purple-white hank is actually an acrylic one - which I never ever ever use for knitting proper stuff - but I loved the blended colours and I thought it would be kind of neat to make a little Malte or kitty blanket of, thinking Christmas in August. I now only hope the idiot spelling of acrylic as "arcylic" on yarn label isn't a reflection of poor quality of product. Ah well, at least it will have given me some good hours of yarn-play in front of telly come chilly season.
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