Monday, December 31, 2018

goodbye 2018, hello 2019

zigne #tbt happy new 2019

Promised to not let the last post of 2018 be a collection of lowpoints. So here's another much nicer wrapup. Music and wishes.

most listened to on spotify 2018 - haevn all the way, baby 😍😂

I've come a long, long way since the New Year's post of 2017 - but one thing that I still obviously treasure is the fabulastic music by Haevn. As the Spotify Wrapped list shows - Haevn, all the way baby. And I apparently listen 140% more to alternative artists than the average Spotify-user. There you are, even an oddball when it comes to music. How weird, what on earth are people in general listening to?

And yes, Where the heart is is still my theme song. It speaks deeply to my heart and has that perfect bend of being mindfully calming, invigorating and inspiring.

top 9 on instagram 2018

This is My Best 9 on Instagram from the year that was; cats voicing their opinions, plantbased food and selfies. Which is a symbol for my general hope and wishes for the year to come - 1. More delicious, veganhashtag, kind and healthy food for everyone. It's vital for the planet, the animals and a peaceful future. 2. That people start listening to all the animals and nature constantly voicing their opinions. Habits must change, there is no planet B. 3. Less selfies, more kindness, care and compassion for the world around us. And for myself I hope that 2019 will be the year I finally find my tribe on a professional level and that we’ll create magic and meaningfulness together. Thank you for all the tough, important lessons 2018.
Welcome 2019, may you be brilliant, sparkly, joyous,
with plenty of fairness and solutions and
less, much less of pettiness and problems.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

learning lessons, letting go of 2018

the tea advent calendars of 2018 (johan & nyström, tehuset java and teegschwendner) and the body shop 🎄💚☕️ -

On the last shivering days of 2018, what's better than doing a little virtual purge of a few things that caused 2018 to not be the awesome year I had envisioned, but quite the opposite, another really bad one, with madness, sadness and lowpoints.

How about a few words on the nastiest, most deceitful client ever, namely Färgbygge. A Swedish paint company with strong ties to the anthroposophical movement claiming they had a unique non-toxic paint rival to none on the market.

However it turned out to be a highly unprofessional, sectarian company that, to cut a long, crazy and infuriating story short, filed for bancruptcy. After they had moved their assets to a new company, which automagically then appeared under the same name as the old company, but with a different corporate identity number.

First thing they did in the "new" company were to take the selected employees to a boosting holiday in Italy. Just how many customers, business partners and suppliers they've cheated along the way, who knows. Quite a few I suspect. From my, and others, experience it's a company with zero business ethics. Not a company I would in any way recommend dealing or working with, if you want your blood pressure to remain a healthy level. Or expect to get paid for your work.

And given everything they did to avoid full disclosure in court when they were sued by the Swedish Paint Trade Organisation for false marketing, I would not trust their so called organic, non-toxic, all-natural paint either. What's on the tin is most likely not in the tin.

More information regarding this can obviously be found in public records and other written materials, not subject to NDA in any way.

I still scold myself for being stupid and naive, even if I know that's not really the case. Trusting people to be honest, decent and fair, that's not stupidity. And it most certainly isn't as if I didn't questions things and situations all through the costly project.

Noticed they've done a lot of removing from and revamping of their social channels recently. And continued to paint a false picture of themselves and the brand, including conned new (I presume un-suspecting) business partners into collaborations. It's just a sad, unhealthy and unprofessional company. But I also believe in karma. One day everyone involved will get what they deserve.

And the start-up team I was so happy and grateful over during this project? Well, as I've written about before, they let me down completely and we haven't had any kind contact since spring. My gut feeling was clearly muddled, I may have been in too happy a place back then (is that possible?). Not people I'd trust to work with again, which is, admittedly, sad, since before everything went horribly awry we had so much productive fun. But there you are, do not trust so easily just because it sounds, looks and feels so good. It actually, possibly, maybe is too good to be true.

I've also let the coaching gig for international talents-integration project go, after the latest round which was basically disastrous. My warm and fuzzy feelings for the project disappeared for good. So much disrespect for my time and experience, we're simply not paid for all the time and effort we put in (hello serfs) - it never seize to amaze me, the fact that just because you're a freelancer or consultant you're often expected to accept subpar payment for high-quality work.

No more.

If I could have a pound for every time I'm approached by a recruiter on LinkedIn about "an amazing opportunity" which end up to be for a measly sum of, not uncommonly, 75% less than my usual hourly rate, I would be a rich gal. Sums which are simply impossible to make a decent (not luxuary) living on.

So as everyone else seem to blast their horns on how spectacularly, superbly amazing their personal and professional life have been in 2018, I'm honestly owning the fact that it has been one of my worst. So much madness, worry, sleepless nights and lowpoints galore. Not to mention the climate angst.

Which I don't know how not everyone, with an ounce of IQ, acknowledge and engage in, instead of tooting their own admirability and infallability when they sum up the year.

During a year with a whirlwind of crazy things happening. With people, companies, politicians, societies I really don't get, and have lost patience with and trust for, I must say that what has kept me going on a sometimes steady, sometimes wobbly path forward, are the golden, sparkly moments of amity, collusion, very special people and ideas. And the best of cats. Always the cats. An abundance of gratitude for that.

It has also been a year of massive personal development and growth. Funny how those two things always go hand in hand, the struggles, the setbacks you grow from. Never the successes, they're simply the delicious, juicy cherry on the sundae of struggles.

I'm also grateful for the absolute knowledge that I'm a better person and earthling than I was at the beginning of the year. That, if anything, is something to toot a bit about.

And that my BS detecting skills have, alas, risen to new, unforeseen heights.

So relieved 2018 is over soon. And if it's even possible to look past the climate angst, I do believe 2019 will be brilliant, shiny dressed in a general fabulousness.

I refuse to let this post of some of the really bad memories of 2018 be the last one for the year. So more to come before the bells finally toll for the year that was.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

it's beginning to look a lot like sustainable christmas

vegan facial oil and ceramics 💝 - from keramihacker and meanima, sweden, december 2018

Despite never having been a fan of Christmas - which basically has become a holiday that celebrates consumerism and gluttony in dead animals and alcohol. - I do enjoy the lights, indoor snuggles, endless cups of tea, time for quiet reflection, doing kind deeds and giving thoughtful gifts. So in this post I'll give some tips on that. I know, it's to late to order something to get in time for Christmas, but a gift is a gift and giving/getting it as a New Year's is just as fun in my book.

the woman in the window, nov 2018

Talking about books, that's always a great gift. I quite enjoyed "The woman in the window" by AJ Finn. Similar to "The girl on the train". A well written suspense story, partly predictable, partly not. Don't forget, there are plenty of great (many newly published) books to be find in thrift stores too!

december outfits, 2018 - the ultimate christmas sweater

By the way, The Christmas Gift of the Year 2018 in Sweden is the recycled garment. Which is heartwarming of course, but more a trendy sign of the times naming than something that will have a real impact unfortunately.

And no, I'm not giving away the perfect blingy Christmas sweater for the ultimate not so crazy cat lady. We have spent a lot of time together one month per year, for four years now, and hopefully will for many more.

ztina and zigne turns 7, december 18, 2018 ❤️❤️

Of course you can adopt an orangutang, plant a tree or many, give to a good cause, volunteer at the local shelter, adopt a cat or dog or someone else in need of a loving home or give something handmade or homebaked. But that doesn't have to exclude giving a kind, bought gift to someone you care for.

body shop advent calendar 2018 & snoopervisor zigne 😍😘

Vegan, palmoil free handcreams Xmas edition from Body Shop. Even if one says Candy Cane, the smell is nothing like the amazing seasonal candy cane scent from Bath & Body Works though (lucky you who has it available in your country...). I'm sure they'll go on sale after Xmas. Good stuff and great for the handbag. Might stock up on them myself...

handmade christmassy earrings from makemyclay 🎄, december 2018

Cute christmassy earrings from Clay My Day (I got mine at the vegan Christmas fair, but she does other things too). But hey, lussebulle earrings, a must!

vegan skincare, the inkylist, and snoopervisor zigne, december 2018 -

I've finally landed in some sort of skincare regime that suits my dry and sensitive skin, mostly Dermalogica products, which are pricey but great, cruelty free and long-lasting. Got the Dr Botanical Moroccan rose superfood facial oil from a friend last year and I was sceptical (as sceptical as I am about serums in general). But it does not only smells absolutely amazing, it does something great with the skin. On the very pricey side but also very long lasting.

vegan skincare, the inkylist, and snoopervisor zigne, december 2018 -

I've now tried a couple of cruelty free products from The Inkey List, as a comparison, that people seem to rave about. Good quality budget brand. But I'm not impressed at all with the acclaimed Rosehip facial oil, a cheap bottle with no pimpette thus really difficult to dose a tiny amount of. Plus it leaves the skin surface oily.

The Turmeric facial cream on the other hand is quite lovely. Smells a lot of turmeric - which a real superfood plant - and leaves skin supple and rehydrated. As the bottle is 66,66% smaller than the Dermalogica I use, the price is pretty similar to it.

vegan candles and scented candle from the happy whale - and zigne ❤️, december 2018

The wonderful, handmade vegan candles and scented candles with a message are from thehappywhale.se, them I bought at the fair too. They burn bright, steady, slowly and don't drip at all. And the pink grapefruit sent is wonderful. The future is vegan.

vegan food at home, december 2018 -

The delightful vegan pralines in many flavours, from vegandelights.se, which I wrote about in the previous post.

shoe per diem, dec 18, 2018 -

These El Naturalista red boots aren't vegan, thus I wouldn't buy them today but some other from their vegan range - so far less colourful alas, but they do have the Iggdrasil model too and I'm very happy with my new vegan oxfords - but this is their 9th winter season and they are still going strong. How amazing is that? The soles are from recycled rubber and the leather vegetably tanned. This is simply great quality to last. And if I didn't say no to new animal leather products and were in need of great, comfortable, durable boots I'd get a pair or two asap. (Yes you can gift things to yourself too.)

Their made to last for many years, and that's reflected in the price, but nothing good will come from buying cheap, That will only be costly for your wallet, comfort and the environment in the long run. Buy less but buy better. Buy more good quality.

december outfits, 2018 -

These fluffy socks are from Thought Clothing. A sustainable brand which has some lovely bamboo socks I adore. Browsing their website for those these came up when I searched bamboo socks, so I ordered a couple for those cold cold winter nights, without looking carefully at the description. (Stupid me.)

december outfits, 2018 -

Unfortunately it turned out they were not made from bamboo, but from a plastic bottle turned into yarn. Ie fleece. And fleece isn't a sustainable material since it when washed the microfibers sheds and enters the waste water and thus seriously pollutes the environment.

The socks are really fluffy, cosy and warming on cold winter nights, but truly sustainable they are far from. It surprises me that a company such as Thought make them. Buy their fantastic bamboo socks instead!

Or if you like the idea of recycled plastic bottles, a Fjällräven Re-Kånken backpack which you don't have to wash.

vegan nail oil and ceramics 💝 - from keramihacker and meanima, sweden, december 2018

Last (and least) on my list of kind gifts is this bottle of organic vegan nail oil from meanima.se. I met her at the Christmas fair and she has oils for face, hair, body, baby and tattoo care too. Handmade and aromatherapeutic.

The wonderful ceramic Christmas ornaments with vegan quotes are from Kinga Kremer, the fantastic ceramic artist who made my silver Vegan ring.

stockholm, december 18, 2018

A subscription on tea or coffee, gift card for the movies, massage, pedicure, season tickets to a concert hall or museums, plantbased cooking classes (or why not an organic vegan food box?) are other great gifts.

Happy Giving 2018!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

the fortnight diary of a tea-a-holic, part II

the tea advent calendars of 2018 (johan & nyström, tehuset java and teegschwendner) and the body shop 🎄💚☕️ -

Better late than never, here's second post of (technically obviously not) the forthnight diary-thing. But who cares. Late November- December snippets it is.

First of all, a plethora of fabulous (and not so fabulous) teas from a certifiable tea addict deserve a proper post, not just a few snaps and a brief mention, right? So despite the slightly misleading title and good intentions, I'll not write about tea now.

stockholm, sweden, december 2018 -

:: Been to the movies twice, one time definitely more enjoyable than the other. Which wasn't the movie's fault but the five teenage girls who kept disturbing the movie - Fantastic beasts, the crimes of Grindelwald - by talking, fiddling with their phones, running in and out from the cinema room during the film, and then leaving a mess on the floor with popcorn and trash. Why on earth pay 145SEK to "watch" a movie when you do anyhing but watch? Plus disturbing everyone else who actually do want to watch. Parents, teach your kids manners, please!

The tricky thing is, if it's not a full theatre with lots of people sitting nearby to react, you have to either tell the disturbers to keep shut, which they most likely won't. Then you have to go out and tell the staff to intervene. Whatever way you react/act or don't, you will have missed a lot of a movie you've paid a hefty ticket price for. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The other movie was "Mamma Mia, here we go again" which was very enjoyable . Not as great as its prequel, but still. It's fantastic that ABBA's music is still so catchy, clever and moving, it gets me every time. That blend of I want to dance - I want to sing - and then I cry a bit because I'm so impressed by what Björn Ulveaus and Benny Andersson have created, still create. And proud they're Swedes that have touched the whole world with their memorable music.

sergels torg, stockholm, december 1, 2018

:: Sweden is full of ugly people these days, if you know the saying "Fur is worn by beautiful animals and ugly people". Because every winter is getting worse, when it comes to these nasty hats with fur pompoms and coats with fur-trims walking the streets. Mainly worn by women. Plus they dress their babies and toddlers in fur trimmed clothes too. So many animals who suffers and die for this vanity. It's shameful, infuriating and heartbreaking. In 2018, when we really should be more enlightened as a specie in general. Instead the winter streets are overflowing with the ugliest of people.

Causes for Weltschmerz everywhere.

luddkolt’s british shorthair, dec 2018 -

:: I've had my first appointment with the physiotherapist. It was good to get some feedback. Which was of the both positive and negative kind. In parts the hand/arm is well on recovery, in others it seems to be a long way to go yet. But I got some more rehab instructions, including squeezing rubber balls - which is why I have a heart in my hand often these days.

Have another appointment in a month and hopefully the mobility and strength will have improved some more by then.

little my ☂️sweater 💜, nov 2018

:: The tangible Christmas gift to myself this year was this marvelous Little My sweater, which was worn by the proprietor in one of my favourite shops in town, and I treated myself to an early gift with my alter ego. Supercosy, organic cotton turtleneck in a versatile A-line shape. A happy sweater.

What's you Christmas gift to yourself this year?

luddkolt’s british shorthair, dec 2018 -

:: Now left on my wishlist for Christmas and 2019 - if you don't count the environmental conscious, animal friendly, gender equal, kind, vegan world that we all need - is a job that speaks to my heart, with my kind of people and a decent, regular paycheck.

:: Which clearly would not come from the completely bizarre interview I was at last week. At a world leading niched Swedish company, I'd never heard of beforehand. I just stumbled over the ad on LinkedIn and thought it sounded fun, the role was as global social media manager, within a field that interests me.

The warning bells started to chime when I got a mass-email to an interview with lots of suggestions of times. Add they wanted copies of a) my university degrees and... *drumroll* my high school degrees... Which could have been relevant many decades ago, now it's just... crazy.

However this level of weirdness peaked my curiosity for an interview, so I went.

I really shouldn't have bothered. Because it was one of the most unprofessional interviews I've ever been to - similar of sorts to the 2016 debacle, a case of clearly living in parallell worlds. I wasn't offered a glass of water, tea or coffee, simply ushered into a room where the guy - in my mother's age, who said he had worked all his life in big business and now offered his services where needed. He had never worked with HR. - showed images and talked about how amazing the company was, world leading, outstanding luxuary products, how much revenue and growth they had, how they only hired THE best (even if it took years to find them) yada yada. Not a single word about work environment, well-being and staff turnover.

Then it was time for tests, as usual completely daft personality tests, which have no real scientifical proof of relevance and is simply a lazy way of recruiting. I refuse to let anyone judge and value my competence from such tests, so I don't know why I ended up doing them. And clearly he hadn't read neither CV, application nor those *very important* copies of degrees.

When it was finally time for me to ask all my questions about the company and what they could offer, well then he just thanked me for the meeting and said bye. Seriously. At least I quickly asked how they work with CSR and sustainability - "I don't know, that's not something we've talked about during my 10 years here." I. was. gobsmacked.

That a company in Sweden 2018, which prides itself in being world-leading at that, doesn't take CSR seriously, that's just ungraspable. And totally off-putting.

So the next day I emailed them telling we weren't a good match since they clearly don't see the importance of social and environmental responsability. And a couple of useful links to start working on that. Not that they will, since obviously it's a company solely interest in monetary growth. It has been a privately owned company since start (in 1968) but they plan for introduction on the stock exchange next year. I don't think their lack of CSR work will be a positive aspect for that. Hope not.

I'm pretty sure they wouldn't find me to be a THE best persons-person anyway, but it felt good, really good to say a firm no before that happened. Staying true to myself and my path in life.

The quest continues, for my tribe.

bobbaloo brooch 💙 surprise gift, dec 2018

:: A few weeks ago a little surprise box arrived. And in the box was this wee one. A very special pretty little bobbaloo brooch that brightened the day. Welcomed to the Scandinavian Bobbaloo Settlement by Gingerbob, because it's that time of the year. Thank you again for the kindness, D, I'm so touched.

vegan food at home, december 2018 -

:: If you're looking for some special (vegan and palmoil-free) chocolate pralines for yourself or as a gift I can recommend these from vegandelights.se that I got at the Christmas fair. These are pumpkin spice, delicious, but they have other flavours too.

vegan food at home, december 2018 -

At the fair they also co-operated with the animal rights organisation Earth for Everyone, which mainly work with rescuing stray dogs in Iran and trying to improve the complete lack of animal welfare laws there. So by chosing this chocolate you also support a much needed animal welfare work.

the tea advent calendars of 2018 (johan & nyström, tehuset java and teegschwendner) and the body shop 🎄💚☕️ - advent 3, december 16, 2018

Now, Happy Advent Third, I hope you've had, are having, will have lots of cosy moments, hygge, candles and tea, and if possible cat snuggles galore.

Monday, December 03, 2018

the vegan ring and other little fabulous christmas fair things

christmas fair with vegan corner, stockholm, sweden, december 2, 2018 -

There will be a part two of the last post, but let's pause that for a moment and contemplate the fact that finally this beautiful, handmade, silver ring (and its delightful ceramics ring holder) has moved in with me. Vegan. Because I care. A simple and self-evident statement of compassion, kindness and true environmental engagement.

I first saw the ring in the Instagram feed, by talented ceramic artist Kinga Kremer - yes there's a webshop and yes you can order worldwide - whose clay work I first spotted at one of my favourite vegan cafes Mahalo last year. Because beautifully glazed plates that states "Tofu never screams", brilliant. And I knew the ring screamed my name.

christmas fair with vegan corner, stockholm, sweden, december 2, 2018 -

When she told there'll be a Christmas fair with a vegan corner in December, and that the limited amount of rings would make their debute there I knew it was a must. Yes I was the first one in line yesterday, and yes I was the first one skip jumping up the stairs and yes I was the first one at her stall saying "hi I'm here, now I want a ring!".

Since my left hand is still swollen on and off I didn't want to get a non adjustable ring for that, so opted for the right ring finger. But apparently that hand was also swollen that day, since the ring is much too big now. However it now fits the left hand middle finger instead. But luckily all fingers are vegan so that's fine by me. Also a perfect finger to make a certain gesture with I suppose.

christmas fair with vegan corner, stockholm, sweden, december 2, 2018 -

When M was alive we used to visit 3-4 Christmas fairs every year, not really for shopping, more for the ambiance. I don't think I've been to a single fair these last few years, no need for ambiance, no urge for shopping and the best ones always seem to time-consuming to get to by public transport. I'm glad this wasn't and I'm glad I went. Not only because of the ring, but also because it was so nice to meet people I follow/following me on Instagram and have a chat. As well as meet new vegan businesses to support and follow.

christmas fair with vegan corner, stockholm, sweden, december 2, 2018 -

I got some vegan candles - perfect for the Advent candlestick of course - nail oil and delicious vegan chocolate pralines (where the surplus goes to homeless dogs in Iran). I'll show and tell more about those companies and kind Christmas gifts in a later post soon. If you want handmade, caring, cruelty-free, environmental-friendly, useful gifts and support small business owners you might find something interesting there.

christmas fair with vegan corner, stockholm, sweden, december 2, 2018 -

The cafe at the fair had also been taken over by vegans, which was an extra treat. I really enjoyed the spicy Persian saffron tea, and the grilled sandwich was unpretentiously nice but the saffron bun just dry and boring alas. Which made me think it's high time to bake this year's first batch of plantbased lussebullar...

advent 1 and zigne, dec 3, 2018

All and all it was the perfect way to spend the Advent first Sunday - early arrival at the fair, spending a couple of hours there, coming home early, being happy about the fine finds, having a reasonably slow rest of Sunday, planning the week, drinking the daily cups of the tea calendar teas and watching movies under heaps of cats.

And obviously, making good use of the new vegan candles. With the usual fire mezmerized snoopervisor, Zigne. If a cat could be an arsonist, I'm pretty sure she would be, little fluffster. Her behaviour always makes me think of this song -



Which I love, not always in the mood for, but every time I hear it this powerful paragraph sticks

"All you have is your fire
And the place you need to reach 
Don't you ever tame your demons
But always keep 'em on a leash"


It may not be a theme song, but words to live by. 

So thank you, November, you were lovely (despite the lack of sun).
Welcome, December, I wish for kindness, sparkles, lights and awe (and the arm to heal and improve well), I hope you can deliver. 
Thank you ever so much in advance.

the tea advent calendars of 2018 and the body shop 🎄💚☕️
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