Thursday, July 19, 2018

public transport shambles, forest fires and baby hedgehogs

baby hedgehogs 2018 ❤️, july 19

I was going to write a lengthy post solely on the nothing short than complete shambles that's the public transportation in Stockholm this summer. But I won't, this will be a three piece post from infuriating, to even more infuriating, to cute overload.

Let's start with the closing of the two major commuter train hubs in the city - the Citybanan and it's two new stations are not even a year old and they costed about 17 billions SEK plus 4,5 billions for new trains - Odenplan and Stockholm city (which is the central station) - because of faulty escalators.

The new commuter train stations are built really really deep underground, below the subway system. So it takes quite a long time before you reach the ground coming with commuter trains to the inner city these days. And the escalators are obviously very long and steep. And scary.

Last Monday there was a frightful incident with one of these scary, long escalators, it scampered and changed direction and a lot of people fell. Luckily noone was seriously injured. Up on inspection of the escalators - from the company Otis - it turned out there were serious problems with corrosion. The escalators aren't even a year old.

They had to close down over 70 escalators and since that means there aren't any safe exits from the stations, subsequently the stations were closed too.

Odenplan is opened up again - but I'm seriously not keen on using that station any time soon. Stockholm city is still closed a week later. In the middle of the holiday season. Here's a bit more information about the situation (in Swedish.)

There are currently so so many other construction works in the public transportation system in Stockholm. I thought I'd point out everything, but I won't because it's exhausting and infuriating. The reason for the embarrassing shambles basically being politicians and authorities have mollycuddled car traffic for centuries and just ignored the dire need for maintenance and modernisation of the public transport system and railroads.

Not to mention, corruption is more vastly spread in Sweden than we like to acknowledge, this situation makes one think about that too.

baby hedgehogs 2018 ❤️, july 19

Which brings me to the next infuriating, but also heartbreaking, thing currently happening in Sweden. It started to be unseasonably warm here in late April already. May was really warm, and global warming was a very obvious fact. Early June was slightly cooler, but July has been nothing short than awful with temperatures +30-34C for weeks now. In many parts of the country it hasn't rained for over 10 weeks. And that has naturally led to extensive forest fires. Over 60 of them.

And the reaction, or rather lack of reaction, from the government and many authorities is simply appalling. Even a moderate amount of true leadership shown here in this man-made disaster situation would have sealed the upcoming election in September. But no such thing. I guess the government and its prime minister aren't very interested in keeping their positions come autumn.

The last straw was the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces saying on the news the other night, that they can't use the helicopters on ground for waterbombing because it's holiday season and the collective labour agreement and holiday laws forbids a suspension of the holidays. It's not our responsability. Seriously.

It's a national crisis, the country is literally burning. The brave and amazing fire fighters and volunteers on the ground can't fight this alone. The lack of strategy and planning is just mad. For f*** sake, get this under control and deal with the bureaucracy afterwards. The stupidity and lack of leadership, be it in politics or authorities, is absolutely mindboggling. Yet, again and again, they get to keep their position (and being paid way more than they deserve).

Needless to say I won't be voting for the current government. I most certainly won't vote for the opposition either. Neither stands for a society and future I want to see. This year I will only vote with my heart, mind and good conscience. I would be deeply ashamed if I didn't.

baby hedgehogs 2018 ❤️, july 19

Given this extensive heatwave I haven't had a decent night's sleep for weeks now. The house is heating up during the days and there isn't enough time for it to cool down until bedtime. I refuse to use more energy than needed ie use the heat pump's A/C system. Besides it showed serious signs of giving up for good by the end of winter, and since I'm not able to replace it as things currently are I need to save it's possible last use for winter.

I don't know how people can function in heat like this. I can't. Taking it one day at a time, like wading through syrup. I desperately long for rain and cooler days. A nights. As do nature. And the cats.

Which brings me to the lack of hedgehog visits - this 17th year anniversary of being a blessed hedgehog drop inn owner - since that first, very early, sighting in May. But then last night I suddenly spotted a tiny one in the garden, the smallest ever.

And this late afternoon there were suddenly a whole family here. One big and three tiny, smaller than the palm of my hand. They're curious, active and slightly mischiveous. And too too adorable. So now I'll just have to help them grow strong for winter, with lots of kitty food and water.

The cats, and especially Zigne, thinks it's super interesting and exciting to open the distinguished inn again.

It's tiny, preferably four pawed, things like this that help keeping the ever present Weltschmerz (and anger at the state of the world in general) at bay. They did appear just when I needed it. Blessed and grateful am I.

baby hedgehogs 2018 ❤️, july 19

Thursday, July 12, 2018

simply delicious vegan chocolate mousse

vegan food at home, may - june 2018 -

How about a lovely, super easy to make, dairy-free chocolate mousse? Healthy too. Only three ingredients - and topping of choice.

The average coconut milk is usually too liquid and not blended enough, so I always use the GarantSkafferiet's coconut milk in a box which has the perfect creamy consistency. If you don't live in Sweden I'm sure there's a decent equivalent in your country too.

Vegan chocolate mousse
2-4 servings

1 box of GarantSkafferiet coconut milk
2 tbsp cacao
agave syrup (to get the sweetness you prefer)
and topping if you like (eg raw cacao nibs, raspberries or other fruit)

Make sure the coconut milk has been in the fridge for hours so it's firm. I find that if you sieve the cacao into the coconut milk you don't even have to whip it together, stir it with a spoon is enough. Blend the three ingredients properly. Ladle the mousse into small bowls. Add topping of choice. Enjoy.

The mousse can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

vegan food at home, may - june 2018 -

Monday, July 09, 2018

the okonomiyaki, the veterinarian and the job news

årstiderna organic vegan food box food ambassador, july 2018 -

Started the week with a third veterinarian visit with Ztina, her breathing had become quick and shallow again last week and maybe the dosage needed changing.

The veterinarian was very hopeful at the first check-up a couple of weeks ago, that it was the infection that had caused her heart problem and that her heart medication could possibly be phased out. But alas it turned out she needed to get back on diuretic because she showed signs of lung oedema again. Hopefully this in combination with her heart medication will get her back in normal shape.

She's such a trooper. Grumpy sweetie.

ztina revisiting the veterinarian, july 9, 2018 💙💙💙

I finally got the much awaited news about the job I applied for a few weeks back. They were happy with the interview but had decided to go with the candidate with more social structure experience. That's their choice obviously, and noone can say it was the right or wrong choice. I'm sure it was a great candidate with fine communication skills. And there was absolutely nothing I could have done differently, my skillset is what it is at this moment in time. Nothing to dwell on, just moving on.

I think it was pretty brilliant I was one of the final three candidates in fierce competition. The job just wasn't for me. My kind of people, my kind of organisation is still out there to be found. And after I had put the phone down I applied for two other jobs that I've had an eager eye on too, but held off applying since I focused on this one. One door closes and who knows what will open instead? That's exciting. And now I'm still open to more gigs and new clients, that's awesome too.

And for the very right and special client I might even, on occasion, wear a read nose.

the i and faces of july 2018 -

Then I ended the day with cooking, what turned out to be, one of the tastiest vegan food box meals to date - okonomiyaki with pickled cucumber and hoisin sauce. It was actually mindblowingly good. The okonomiyaki consisted of grated carrots, sliced white cabbage and spring onions in a batter of chickpea flour and psyllium seed jelly (what a brilliant binding agent!). Here's the recipe in Swedish.

the i and faces of july 2018 -

Now I'm going to listen to music, cuddle my poor little fluffster on a summer evening sun chair, acknowledge how much in my life I'm truly grateful for and great doors unknown I'm looking forward to see opening soon.

Friday, July 06, 2018

dressed for happiness success

the budgie skirt, july 2018

Earlier this year I decided I'd post outfits more regularly on Instagram - despite hating to post pictures of myself, other than shoe per diem ones - to inspire people to dress in colours more. The world needs it. Colours equals happiness. And hopefully kindness can tag along there too.

Regularly for me means about once or twice per month. Since I find vegan food, cats and such more fun to photograph than myself. And I'm really not keen on seeing other people obsessively posting selfies either - thank goodness for the new IG mute-button... You can unfollow without unfollow, now, how brilliant is that? - so why should I contribute to that I wonder.

the budgie skirt, july 2018

But then sometimes I'm pretty pleased with a particular outfit. And I'm even more pleased when I'm able to thrift something in my own wardrobe that match, the idea I have in my head.

So when my two year old budgie skirt from Palava was finally altered last week I couldn't wait to take it for a spin of course. And this is what I came up with day one.

the budgie skirt, july 2018

The blouse is about eight years old, organic cotton in a folklore model, with little birds embroidered at the neck, from Gudrun Sjödén. Haven't used it for years because one of the cats tore a hole in it and I being lazy as usual when it comes to mending, altering and such only just recently mended it. (I will never be a pro on mending, but at least I can wear it now.)

The blue organic cotton cardigan I got in the Marc'O Polo store in Berlin 2011, since I tore a hole in another cardi I had with me, and it has been a faithful, much worn summer companion ever since. It's such a lovely blue hue. And I love how there often are endearing memories attached to specific garments. In this case a bit wistful, I miss Berlin and I miss M, but it was a lovely trip with good memories, as always.

the budgie skirt, july 2018

And the shoes are one of my favourites, the yellow El Naturalista Tesela mary-janes from 2010. At least I can never be accused of not being consistent in style. And how utterly fab is it that these shoes, eight plus years later, still are great to look at and walk in? Quality and comfort trumps everything.

Never mind my messy hall, cat food bags and heaps of paper recycling is life too.

In 2013 I bought the Impi dress from Marimekko. I still think it's one of my best garment purchases ever. It's such a carefree and happiness instigating dress - and being very A-line you can indulge in how many cakes your heart and tummy desire without the dress showing, if you are so inclined - which I've had so much fun in over the years.

the marimekko impi dress et al, june 2018

And since I happened to wear it when I stepped in to the Marimekko store a while back and their new fitting rooms are perfect for outfit selfies I snapped one. Same cardi as above, sandals of 2015 from ART shoes (still super comfortable too) and obviously the Re-Kånken. It's so sweet how no matter what colours you choose you can match everything with that dress.

Since I think it's a perfect summer dress (and yes, it has pockets) I've been meaning to turn that model into other dresses with old, pretty fabrics. But well, since I wasn't able to alter the above budgie skirt until two years had passed that is a major project I don't see come to fruition any time soon...

the marimekko impi dress et al, june 2018

And since all good things come in three, here's a third outfit that makes me happy - apart from that time an idiot (clearly) snapped a selfie of himself and the seminar audience in which I looked like a super-sized, striped and unflattery fluffy pastry. And posted it on LinkedIn. Oh the joy - the fabulous Marimekko Tasaraita dress, a classic pattern from the 1960ies which is a symbol for equality. It's a very Little My-esque power dress in cotton poplin, and I hope and think it'll be an awesome dressy companion for many years to come.

Even if one of the features that makes it special, the drawstrings, gave me a slight headache a while back. One day I noticed that one of the strings had mysteriously disappeared in to the waist tunnel. And then the other one did too. I couldn't for my life figure out the construction, so I ended up having to go back to the store asking for help. Where I was fortunate enough to stumble on a clerk that had experience with the same issue.

the marimekko impi dress et al, june 2018

Turns out the two pesky little strings go from left to left side and right to right side, meeting inside the waist tunnel. Which is elaborately designed below the button-up chest part of the dress. I thought the strings where one front and one back. But no, the dress is designed like those ol' gymbags with drawstrings you had in school.

Well-made and interesting, but not the easiest concept to grasp at first. In hindsight it's very logical, but not there and then. Now I can at least sort the issue myself, if it would appear again.

So at the end of this post, my question is of course,
are you already dressed for happiness success in colours or 
are you now inspired to?

the marimekko dress et al, june 2018

Sunday, July 01, 2018

goodbye june, welcome july

luddkolt’s british shorthair, june 2018 -

Time to say bye bye to June as well as another cosmo geek week. With plenty of cat cuddles. Given the amount of oxytocin I constantly get refilled like this, one might think I should always be happy and content. Alas, life isn't as simple as that. But as with vitamin D supplements, who knows how I would feel without it?

lars lerin exhibition, liljevalchs stockholm, sweden, june 2018

:: I really enjoyed the Lars Lerin art exhibition at Liljevalchs. But as brilliant as he is as a painter, and award-winning writer, with a sweet and very likeable personality, I'm really glad Mondays are free entrance to the museum. Because unlike the Spring Art Salon, where you could spend hours, this exhibition is a rather quick thing to walk through. And 20 minutes were spent listening to an introduction. I do recommend a visit, his art is fantastic, but I would not recommend paying a hefty entrance fee for it. So go on a Monday.

stockholm, sweden, june 2018 -

:: Since the exhibition was a rather quick thing we could leisurely enjoy one of my favourite transportations in Stockholm on our way back, the Djurgårdsfärjan ferry boat. On a day with perfect summer weather it's such a mood lifting treat.

vegan food stockholm, june 2018 -

:: Followed by vegan lunch at a favourite place, Légumes, which has opened up on a new location, super conveniently located near the commuter train station. And we caught a ride home well before rush hour. It was such a lovely, unpretentious way to start a new week.

vegan food stockholm, june 2018 -

:: I had the second interview for the job that sounds great. It was a really nice ambiance and I felt it went very well. But as always, who knows who I compete with. What's meant to be will be. If it was up to me, I'd love to get the position, it still sounds amazing in so many ways. You know, that delightful blend of being able to contribute lots as well as learn plenty and have a very varied role. I will know this week. So, once again, fingers firmly crossed, dear internetz.

luddkolt’s british shorthair, june 2018 -

:: On the not so bright work front is the fact that one of my coaching participants has turned out to have a really troublesome attitude. I guess that was bound to happen sooner or later, but it's exhausting and infuriating and I don't get paid nearly enough to put up with things like this. So I've decided this will be my last round of coaching, it doesn't give me that warm and fuzzy feeling no more and I've helped several individuals already. And learnt a lot. There's a time and place for everything, and my involvement in this has come to an end when this round is over (with a last meeting in November).

The face of Ztina above is a perfect illustration about how I feel about this right now.

vegan food at home, june 2018 -

:: A well-known fact is that the Swedish summer begins with the season premiere of Midsomer Murders - unfortunately it ends with the last episode too... - which happened this week. I also stumbled over the perfect new flavour for it, the classic vegan Singoalla biscuits (now sans palmoil, so I can actually enjoy them) with strawberry-rhubarb cream. Perfection with a cup of tea.

Alas the episode itself was a really bad one (The Ghost of Midsomer Abbey), I do hope it picks up for next week. After all these years the plots get more and more strained, but I guess most of us watch for the picturesque settings and quirky characters not because it's a clever story.

stockholm, sweden, june 2018 -

:: A couple of years ago I wrote this guide to Stockholm. I've edited it a few times since, and it's still a work in progress obviously. But if you're coming to Stockholm this summer it's worth a read and keep for smultronställen not to be missed!

it only took 2 years but now the waistline is altered and i can finally wear the lovely palava budgie skirt, june 2018

:: Almost two years ago I bought this beautiful budgie skirt in organic cotton. It didn't fit as expected alas. But I decided to keep it and alter the waistline because of its dreamy qualities. It *only* took two years but now it's done! With the help of a neighbourhood dog lady the skirt is now finally wearable. And the pockets are kept so it's perfect in every way. Now I just have to decide what to wear with it, perhaps a yellow blouse - which will pick up on the yellow budgies - or just a plain white T-shirt. Such a happy birdy skirt!

Current music crush is this - I'll be there with Jesse Glynne. What an amazing voice. I don't like the video (apart from the pink water) though. And doesn't it look like there's something wrong with a couple of the horses legs? That's just saddening, I hope I'm mistaken.

luddkolt’s british shorthair, june 2018 -

Thank you, June, you ended on a better note than you started. You certainly have been eventful, enlightening and helped me grow, and for that I'm grateful.

Hello, July, let's be awesome together, okay? 
Thank you kindly in advance.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

fresh new potato salad

årstiderna organic vegan food box, june 2018 -

Made this potato salad for Midsummer - recipe from Årstiderna vegan food box - and not being a fan of neither vinegar nor mustard I was a bit sceptical. But again, the flavour was amazing. And it's really a great eat in season summer dish.

new potato salad
4-6 servings

1 kg new potato
1 spring onion
3-4 tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, I'm sure any will do)
0,5 dl rapeseed oil
1 tsp strong mustard
salt, black pepper

Boil the cleaned potato for about 10 minutes, until done. Let it cool in its water.

Chop the spring onion finely (both onion and haulms).

Whip together a dressing with vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper.

Chop the cooled potatoes into 2-4 pieces, add the chopped spring onion and blend it with the dressing.


årstiderna organic vegan food box, june 2018 -

It went really well with seitan sausages and a salad of white cabbage, green beans and cherry tomatoes. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

marimekko unikko sneakers and sustainability thoughts

marimekko unikko sneakers, june 2018 - and zigne ❤️👅

A few months ago I stumbled over a really great article about a new book called "Vi är vad vi köper" (We are what we buy) written by a professor in PR and advertising and a cultural anthropologist. We are basically trapped in the consumerism pattern of the market economy and not at all the independent and rational beings most of us like to think we are. We buy our identities and personalities with the brands we buy.

marimekko flagship store, stockholm, sweden, may 2018

I haven't bought the book yet, but I've listen to a few of their podcasts and they are really interesting. I'm well aware I too buy things to reinforce my personality. As a LOHAS, as someone who love colours, patterns, good design but still care deeply about the environment. I could obviously do much better, stop buying anything but food and consumables. Haven't reached that point just yet though.

With the thoughts from the article fresh in my mind I visited the newly renovated Marimekko flagship store in May and saw this quote above from the founder. To sell a lifestyle, I've never really gotten that concept. Or rather, I've never understood why some people just want to fill their homes and lives with most everything (they can afford) from one or a few brands only.

Sure, I love some brands for their design, quality, durability, environmental efforts too, but I would never, even if I had the money, let myself and my home be a walking advertisement for the brand. What a sad void of personality and independent thinking.

marimekko unikko sneakers, june 2018

Pick some key pieces, mix'n'match with second hand and old things you love - and not everything old and loved need to reach the point of falling apart... -, that's my way of being what I buy.

Which brings me to the pod part 3 "Gisslan" (Hostage) about the clothes we consume, fast fashion vs slow fashion. Did you know that people in general buy 50 new clothes pieces every year? And that the average Swede have 160 pieces in their wardrobe?

I most certainly have a lot more than 160 pieces in my wardrobes - and I even had a massive clean-out about 15 years ago - which I suppose is rather embarrassing. On the other hand I have a lot of things I love to chose from, to mix'n'match with. I always sell or give away to charity more than I buy every year. Plus I most certainly don't buy anyway near 50 new garments annually, in fact I was even gobsmacked by that number. How is it even possible to justify, if the circumstances aren't very special?

marimekko unikko sneakers, june 2018

So how did I justify what was in this box? A snazzy cotton skirt (with pockets of course) and a pair of at least as snazzy sneakers? To be honest I probably can't, more than I have lots of old loved things to combine them with, they are of great, long lasting design and quality, design that makes me happy. Which in the big scheme of things aren't reasons enough. I know. But sometimes you just, for various reasons, have to...

marimekko flagship store, stockholm, sweden, may 2018

And yes the purchase was vegan. The pretty Unikko flower sneakers are made of rubber and recycled cotton canvas. And as you can see by my little red feline photo bomber (with her tongue out!) they have been paw approved. Looking forward to wearing them on a non-rainy day in a not too distant future.

We are what we buy, so what does your purchases say about you?
Are you proud of it or are you on the path of change?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

organic vegan food inspiration, part 4

årstiderna organic vegan food box, june 2018 -

High time for some more vegan food inspiration, don't you think?

The dish above is a delightful chickpeas in korma curry with tomatoes and almond cream (the cream is more like milk, but it does tastes lovely in the curry instead of coconutmilk). And since I made it on the Swedish national day the other week I also decided to play with our flag's colour. Plus there's always a snoopervisor close at hand lending a helping paw as a finishing touch.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Meze with za'tar spiced hummus, grilled aubergine and squash with a topping of red onion, tomatoes and parsley. Served in pita with fresh cucumber. Delicious!

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

årstiderna organic vegan food ambassador, march 2018 - vegetable wok misodressing and cashewnuts

Vegetable wok with noodles and miso dressing. Nice but basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Chili sin carne with borlotti beans and avocado. Nice but basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Portobello mushroom burger with fried onion, avocado and relish. Had it not been for the fact that the mushroom turned tiny when fried it would have been great. Plus it lacked potato fries etc to be a filling and satisfying meal.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Vegetable lasagna with sunflower seeds served with a cabbage-spinach salad. Unfortunately this one was really dry since it didn't have the usual generous amount of bechamel sauce. It was a nice touch to make "cheese sauce" with boiled potatoes, carrots and sunflower seeds, but it just wasn't enough moisture.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Pakoras with sweetpotato and squash served with cabbage salad and tomato-chili salsa. Looks rubbish but tasted great. I'm just not a skilled enough pakora maker.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Yoga pot with turmeric, blue peas, broccoli, carrots, tomato and sweetpotato. Enjoyed the flavour but not the hard texture of the blue peas. Would have been much nicer with chickpeas.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Corn pudding with caramelized onion and spinach-tomato topping. Delicious! The recipe said corn bread, but obviously that was not going to happen with these ingredients, the pudding was lovely though and left overs on day two were even better.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Noodle salad with green beans, spring onion, broccoli, sesame seeds and peanut dressing. Lovely! Sesame seeds is such a gorgeous, simple thing that add extra oomph to any dish.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Green pea soup with asparagus and sprouts. Lovely! As the soup is made from scratch and dry green peas it's not sweet and the fresh, grilled asparagus on top is just amazing.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Buckwheat stew with black beans, portobello mushroom and coriander. Not a favourite. I usually love coriander, but here it wasn't nice at all, neither were the tomatoes. That omitted and it would have been nice.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Seitan sausages with potato wedges, pickled cucumber-red onion and marinated red cabbage. Lovely and very satisfying. Simple to cook but with a lot of flavours and textures. And pickled vegetables, what a great thing!

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Congee pot with portobello, red onion, celery and peanuts. Much ado about not so much, the portions turned out very small and the tamari sauce made it very salt. The crispy, fried celery was a nice, new experience though.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Quinoa-amarant salad with ovenbaked beetroot, red onion and sunflower seeds. I do love beetroots but this was just too much with both raw beets in the salad and the ovenbaked ones.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Pitabread with spicy cauliflower, caramelized onion, marinated red cabbage topped wih coriander. This, my friends, was amazing. So much flavour and textures, the cauliflower and onion was ovenbaked in a generous amount of rapeseed oil and it was so lovely to soak that up with the bread. Perfect picnic food.

You'll find the previous food posts here -

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

And the recipes (in Swedish) at Årstiderna website (or in the app). If you're keen on a translation of a specific recipe, or have any questions, please let me know in the comments.
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