Sunday, January 27, 2019

a shower curtain named bobby

somebody’s watching me, shower curtain 2018 đŸ˜»

A few years ago I saw a fantastic cat shower curtain on Instagram, from Society6.

Yes, I switch between my cross-stitched roses, the birdies and the Marimekko Unikko one (the duckiest shower curtain I gave to charity since I found the Peking duck depiction offensive, simply not the thing I want to look at in the shower. Or anywhere else for that matter).

But strangely enough it has been over 10 years since I had a cat shower curtain. Quelle horreur!

a shower curtain named bobby et al, december 2019

Browsing the Society6 website I found was can only be described as THE perfect one for a knitting, cat-loving, ex-British Shorthair breeder - meet Bobby.

a shower curtain named bobby et al, december 2019

That facial expression of contempt, betrayal and superiority in a delightful blend of smooch-worthiness is an expression well-known for any owner of a blue brit. Well, it's not an expression exclusive to the blue ones I suppose...

a shower curtain named bobby et al, december 2019

I rarely order things from the US anymore, as the Swedish customs have become very diligent in slapping on fees on everything big and small, be it gifts or not. Ie reasonably priced things tend to be very expensive in the end. I don't mind paying a reasonable customs fee of course, but I really mind paying postal fees for the so called service of our despicable postal *service* company PostNord -

which were bad enough when it was owned my the Swedish government alone, the lack of quality then plummeted to new lows when they merged with the Danish government, 40% ownership. And this past year, especially this winter the craziness has reached even lower lows of things disappearing,  being broken, advice notes not being sent or appearing in the app thus being returned to sender, mail being so delayed you end up paying extra fees for bills never reaching you etc etc. The list is endless. The only thing the has gone up is their prices. -

But this was obviously a must. It ended up taking over two months to get here. It should have taken a week. Reaching the Swedish border there was apparently a co-operation between the customs and PostNord, with no information whatsoever until 1,5 months had passed that I had to pay extra. Which I promptly did. And then it took 2 weeks until I got the advice note to pick it up. *Insert rolling eyes galore*

the shower curtain named bobby and friends, january 2019

But the happy smile on my face very time I walk into the bathroom, the urge to caress a shower curtain named Bobby's little soft nose - because yes, the details of the print are so unbelievably clear it looks both knitted as well as furry - and say sorry you had to put on that bobble hat, but you look darn cute in it, all that makes the wait worth it.

I'm not sure it's an ominous sign though, that the cats seem to communicate with Bobby? I do hope it's only admiration and not plotting a hostile feline take-over. If so, please send help.

the shower curtain named bobby and friends, january 2019

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

organic vegan food inspiration, part 7

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

Whether or not you're signed up to Veganuary it's not too late to sign the pledge or go vegan.

And remember, that people still are consuming meat and dairy, while also contributing to immense suffering, pain and violence, is one of the major reasons for climate change. And stop doing that, going plantbased, is also one of the easiest way to create a better world. For everyone.

Here are some inspiration for delicious vegan food - the previous plantbased inspiration posts are linked at the bottom of this post.

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

The dish above is supposed to be a adlay millet salad with beetroot served with a sunflower seed cream, however I scorched the adlay and ended up having to use buckwheat instead. It was okey, but I'd prefer more chewy texture. The sunflower seed cream with nutritional yeast was brilliant though and so easy to make.

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

Cauliflower in creamy curry lentil sauce with baby spinach, chili and wholegrain rice. Basic but nice.

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

Springrolls with cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, portobello mushrooms served with a wholegrain rice salad and tamari sauce. Lovely. And for every time I make my own springrolls the quicker the process is and the nicer they look. Hooray.

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

Empanadas with a spicy filling of portobello mushrooms, carrots, squash, garlic and chili. Served with a bean, avocado, baby spinach and tomato salad. It tasted much better than it looks I'm happy to say. Empanada might not be my thing to make.

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

Potato-leek soup with bread croutons and roasted pumpkin seeds. A basic, rustic and nice soup, but to make my own bread croutons was a great experience. That such a simple thing could add so much to the dish.

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

Polenta with oven baked aubergine, squash, red onion and almonds served with tapenade and rocket salad. I really really don't like olives/tapenade, but other than that it was a nice dish. Possibly a bit much work with the veggies for what you got in flavour/texture.

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

Vegan burger with potato wedges, tomato salsa and cabbage-carrot salad. The burger itself was bland, a bit soggy and too much fennel, but as a complete dish it was a great meal. And the salad was great. I'm really rubish at making simple side salads on my own, I'm always remembered how easy it is with these recipes but I still keep forgetting it when it's "a week without the food box" alas. (Good idea for this year's personal goals perhaps? Make more diverse, simple salads.)

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

Chili sin carne with quinoa, avocado and cherry tomatoes. No I'm not a great fan of tomato-based dishes in general, and this wasn't one of the exceptions. Still a basic, nourishing meal. And the quinoa made it a bit different.

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

Seitan-tortellini with kale pesto and fried tomatoes. Not every vegan enjoys kale and I'm one of those. No matter how it's prepared I rarely find it edible, too much of a chewy weed texture/flavour for me. However, to turn it into a pesto was actually a pretty neat thing (alongside almonds, nutritional yeast, lemon, rapeseed oil, black peppar and salt).

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

Pakoras with cauliflower, onion and sweet-potato on a bulgur salad with cucumber and cranberries. Quite nice, though perhaps a bit much work with the pakoras compared to what you got flavour- and texture-wise.

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

Korma curry with kidney beans, cauliflower, carrots and baby spinach. Not a favorite, very basic and rather boring imho. I'm not big on stews like this.

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

Another vegan burger with potato wedges and pickled red onion this time. Same burger as above, so bit soggy and too much fennel again, but pickled red onion is really fabulous!

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

Marinated tofu with fried black cabbage, carrots, rice and tamari sauce. Lovely and simple.

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

Pumpkin soup with chili, lime and coconut chips. Pumpkin soup is one of my favourite kind of soups, this was no exception. Wonderful and flavourful. Healthy comfort food at its best. I sprinkled a bit of chia and pumpkin seeds on top too for extra crunch.

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

Salad tacos with beanmash, avocado, tomatoes and purple sweet potato fries. Pretty colours but taste-wise rather bland.

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

Vegan hotdog in bahn mi buns, tabbouleh and pickled red onion. Simple and tasty crossover plantbased food. The hotdogs were seitan frankfurters, which are delish and very filling.

As usual, the recipes can be found on the Årstiderna website or in the app. In Swedish only, but I'd be happy to translate if you're interested in any particular dishes. (There's a limit to Google Translate's skills...)

So, what's vegan cooking for you this week?


Previous inspiration posts -

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

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

Sunday, January 20, 2019

ice ice baby and other january snippets

luddkolt’s british shorthair, january 2019 -

Thinking about my professional and personal goals for 2019 I thought "writing two blog post per week" could be one. That obviously isn't going to happen. Moving on.

Moving as in walking outside is otherwise currently not recommended on these latitudes, climate change offers all sorts of crazy, scary weather these days. And last week's heavy snowfall was quickly followed by rain and then the temperatures dropped significantly below zero C. Leading to knobbly, extremely icy roads and streets.

With little or no road maintenance this means most streets and roads in the Stockholm area, and probably in other parts of Sweden too, are beyond scary right now. For the first time ever I'm wearing spikes on my shoes, which does help, but still, scary it is.

vegan hot cocoa with extra 💜, january 2019

Did venture out to pick up a parcel today, and get some grocery. Apart from a rare sun shining it wasn't a pleasant experience at all. Noticed the neighbourhood's big garbage can was barely used, it's usually almost full the day before it's weekly emptying. I guess people actually have gone into hibernation.

I celebrated the icy outing with a big cup of hot cocoa. Vegan and dairy free of course, with oat milk, whipped coconut cream and plantbased marshmallows plus a sprinkle of cinnamon. It was really rather delicious.

vegan food stockholm and suburbs, january 2019 -

Between the last post and the ice I've had some lovely lovely green lunches and inspirational talks with friends and aquaintances. I've continued the quest for my tribe, had a couple of interviews, but as far as I know and feel I'm no closer to finding it alas.

stockholm & suburbs, sweden, january 2019 -

I've had my second meeting with the physiotherapist, which revealed both good and bad news, partly things (mobility and pain) has improved, but partly the mobility will probably never be what it was, since the wrist and the bones have healed rather differently than the original position. I still don't regret saying a firm no to surgery, with all the risks that come with that option.

Slowly things will improve more, apparently you'll have to wait up to a year to evaluate the situation. And you adapt to new circumstances, and how things are. Even if the compensating with the right arm and other muscles for the loss of mobility in the left hand/arm has led to other aches and pains at times, it's doable I guess. It could be worse.

vegan skincare and snoopervisor, january 2019 -

I got a pedicure as a Christmas gift from my mum, I try to go at least once per year, preferably twice (pre-summer and winter), it was bliss. I stumbled over a pair of irresistable cat socks on sale on my way there. So as an extra treat I could put on a fresh pair of colourful socks after the treatment. It's the small things.

stockholm & suburbs, sweden, january 2019 -

On our way to late lunch afterwards we had the most bizzare incident with what can only be described as a mad mad elderly woman on the bus. She started a fight, that even got physical, with another elderly woman (innocent to the kerfuffle) over the impaired seats. I think we all froze because it was so unexpected and crazy, and who knows what the mad woman had in her big bag.

Things calmed down, but I later heard from a friend that she had also been a witness to a similar incident on the same bus route and then the bus driver had stopped the bus until security guards got there and removed her. I've rode that bus route countless of times over the years, but this was certainly the first time anything like that had happened. I do hope I won't cross paths with that crazy one again. Touch wood.

5 years anniversary of marimekko happy coat # 1, january 2019

I was told by Facebook that my fabulous happy coat number one turned 5 years old last week. Time flies.It's still one of my best (clothes) buys ever.

And I was finally brave enough to put my happy coat number two into the washing machine. Even if the washing instructions say "machine wash 30C" I've dreaded it, who knows what can happen to a costly (worth every penny!) fluffy quilted jacket when it spins in the washer... But I don't want to use the dry cleaners unecessarily either.

It went well. Phew. I don't know if it helped that I washed it with three new tennis balls, using the old trick for down jackets (which this obviously isn't). But so pleased it's done. With a positive outcome. That coat is so very I. And it's a good memory from a rough year, when everything changed.

unikko poppeli coat, dec 2018

I still haven't used my new anorak, the last thing I bought in 2018 (meant for future dog walks but which is to pretty for it anorak), partly because of the weather but mainly because buying a coat with big black flowers was obviously a less that well-thought through idea. My two reasons for never getting or wearing black are a) it's a depressing, boring, uninspiring non-colour for people that only wants to blend in and b) it's a magnet for pet hair and lint.

And if it's something I'm mentally allergic to it's clothes and fabrics with fuzz. I'm super careful to not let the cats near my work/out and about clothes and only wear the shabbiest of comfy cuddle-friendly clothes at home. It has worked well for all these years. Apparently I let my guard down and thought "surely a sturdy partly-black cotton canvas coat can't be that liable to cat hair and lint?" - I was wrong.

unikko poppeli coat, dec 2018

Something I discovered when I took these pictures. I had been super careful with the coat, and still it was full of cat hair and lint. I know black clothes in stores are all fuzzy hanging on the rails already, with all the black-wearing Swedes I guess noone cares about that (but me). There's only so much a lint roller can do.

That said, I've invested in a new, much recommended heavy roller and refills, and have decided to try and not let the pet hair and lint issue bother me. At least not that much. Let's see how that works... Maybe a good lesson for 2019?

handcarved duck hook and zigne 💛, january 2019

I've bought a cute handcarved hook for the coat, so it can hang pretty and by itself. I chose a duck, and not a cat, simply because the animal hooks with beaks or protruding noses were more pleasing to the eye. From the Swedish company Wildlife Garden, which has a lot of lovely garden and animal related interior things.

spirit animal - guardian angel 2019 đŸ˜», january 2019

As I mentioned earlier, I've contemplating a haircut of change. A way to start the new year fresh I suppose. I will never have the time or inclination to put a lot of time into styling, even if the frizziness often is annoying. Keep it simple is my hair motto (with great shampoo and conditioner and hair paks of course).

One morning last week I looked in the bathroom mirror and was finally so tired of the dull, dry hair ends that I just took the scissors and made a blunt cut. Managed to cut much shorter than I had planned, but I like the look. Of which I don't have a decent picture yet - and no, it isn't me in the picture, but my newly arrived, much belated thanks to our rubbish Swedish postal *service* PostNord Christmas greeting, spirit animal/guardian feline angel. Thank you Lizzy, she's adorable!

I'm still in a blended state of shock/liberation. It was a very long time since I had it this short. I can still get a tiny ponytail, but on the other hand I rarely do that anyway. New hair, new year, here I come!

new year, new bras 💙, january 2019

New year also means new bras, or at least it will from now on since it's such a great thing to get new at the beginning of a fresh new year. I was delighted to discover that my reliable model for 15 years (yes, really, I'm so relieved I've found the model I'm comfortable with, trying on underwear is one of the most dispiriting activities ever) now comes in pretty spring colours too. So tired of the boring black, beige, white. Baby blue and peach are so much nicer than that. Now I wish for red, green, pink, orange, yellow, pale grey, navy and violet too...

vegan food stockholm and suburbs, january 2019 -

Musn't forget to acknowledge we apparently have a government in Sweden again, it only took the toddler politicians 4 months to come to an agreement. An agreement I suppose is neither very bad nor very good. However the most pressing issue, the dire need of drastic changes in our habits for at least a slim chance to evade the worst climate change consequences, that has hardly been mentioned. Which is heartbreaking as well as infuriating.

On the subject of climate change, if you haven't read the report about the planetary health diet from EAT/Lancet, you really should. I don't know how many research reports that are needed for people to change their eating habits and politicians to set the rules, an endless amount it seems. If we're going to have a livable, peaceful future on this planet it needs to be plantbased. Period.

spirit animal - guardian angel 2019 đŸ˜», january 2019

Now, while under siege of the ice I'm planning to figure out and set my goals for the new year. I'm so relieved and grateful I mostly work from home, -

Not only for the ice situation, the commuter train delays all autumn have been ghastly, and it has become even worse after new year's. I don't know how people who do commute on a daily basis can stand it. Especially as the ticket prices have gone up again, while the service only gets worse. Swedes are simply too docile. -

that I'm able to take that kind of step back. I have the enclasping goals set already, I just have to break them down in more tangible entities. Focus.

I'm also planning to have groceries delivered, which will be a new thing for me. And dusting off the excercise bike might be a good thing too. And what better time than now to tentatively work myself back to a yoga routine.

Onwards and upwards, 2019!

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

Saturday, January 05, 2019

welcome 2019

the future is vegan 💚, scented candle from thehappywhale.se, jan 1, 2019

For the first post of 2019 I planned-ish to be a new, focused I - write about a specific topic only. And it was going to be worklife, since it's the area I will focus on this year. But then a lot of other things nestled themselves in as write-worthy. And as I am I, and proud of it, here goes.

The first thing I did when 2018 turned 2019 was to light the wonderful vegan candle (from thehappywhale.se, she has a sale on them until Sunday btw), which I'd saved for the occasion, with hopes its amazing sentiment and scent would send its whiffs of sweet kindness and compassion over the whole year (and years to come naturally).

pelle has got a brand new fluffy bed, new year’s 2018-19

The first thing I did for the cats was to give them this plush bed. I would never buy anything this fancy for them myself, but someone gave it away so yes, please. It's so soft, fluffy and pretty I wouldn't say no to getting one for myself to hide and hibernate in actually.

As it would be very nice that they didn't destroy it quickly in their usual manner, I've tucked it away high up in a book shelf. (I'm sneaky like that.) I knew Pelle would love it, and indeed, it took him about 5 seconds before he realised what I was doing. I swear he didn't leave the bed for at least 24 hours. Snoring, purring, cleaning himself, being your average king of the household from high above the rest. He makes his usual inspection tours now, but he always return up there, to his cosy nook.

last books - first books, 2018-19

On New Year's Eve I got a proposition for a possibly new, interesting gig. Yesterday I got my first job interview booked for next week. Even if neither of these potential jobs pan out, that we're not a great match, it's still a good feeling that things are moving in the forward direction. The momentum is on, bring it 2019!

The last job meeting I had in 2018 interesting enough neatly tied in with the very first back in January then. To be honest it was kind of a dream gig, with so much potential and amazing visions. But it all went... well, internally turbulent and nothing I could do but watch and wait. Did I say 2018 was a mad mad year... I'm very very cautiously optimistic about this project now. Which obviously is the huge lesson from last year - I've lowered my expectations on the world and people considerably.

Maybe that will bring more burst of happy surprises than last year's string of misery?

last books - first books, 2018-19

The day my cast was removed, November 1, I stumbled over the fact that one of my favourite writer, Marie Hermanson, had a new book out in pocket. It will forever be the day I removed the plaster/World Vegan Day-book. I'm half way through it, but I obviously consider it the last book of 2018.

The book heap above is what I will start my new year with. And among them are the two latest in the beloved Sunday Philosophy Club-series, by Alexander McCall Smith. Aptly named "The Novel Habits of Happiness" - obviously the book I chose to start the year with!

brilliant vegan tarte flambee aka fancy pizza, jan 1, 2019 đŸŒ±đŸ’š

The first thing I cooked in the new year was this brilliant plantbased tarte flambee (basically a fancy pizza), adapted from the Årstiderna organic vegan food-box recipe. That something as simple as nutritional yeast mixed with oat cream or unsweetened soy cream, add garlic, salt and peppar, can create such a delicious cheesy base spread for dairy-free pizza is nothing short than magic I'd say.

One of my best food discoveries of 2018.

welcome fluffy vegan tote bag (that isn’t a cat bed), marimekko, jan 2019

The last thing I bought in 2018 was a practical coat suitable for future dog walks, since my 10 year old anorak is pretty shabby and full of holes. When it arrived it turned out to be a *bit* more fancy than intended for dog walks. Somehow it's difficult to imagine it full of potential muddy dog paws. Still, pretty, practical and durable. The old anorak has to be creatively mended.

The first thing I've bought in 2019 is this lighweight, fluffy vegan handbag. Because with the ex-broken arm it's sadly really difficult and painful to use the Re-KĂ„nken backpack as it's intended. And as I've been forced to use and burden my right arm more than usually since the left arm isn't fully functional (yet, hopefully) I've developed a painful right elbow and muscles. Thus I wanted a lighter handbag to carry things in than my usual messenger bags that are pretty heavy for the shoulders too.

Hopefully this will do the trick. And no it really isn't another perfect catbed, little mister.

welcome fluffy vegan tote bag (that isn’t a cat bed), marimekko, jan 2019

The average Swede buy 50 pieces of new clothes every year. And most of it obviously isn't organic or sustainably produced. We desperately need to do better. Me included. Last year I got 25 new pieces for the wardrobe, including two pair of shoes. This year I will be much better at walking away. 

lovely vegan breakfast at mahalo sthlm, sweden, jan 2019

First thing I ate out this year was a lovely vegan breakfast at favourite place Mahalo Sthlm, oat latte, the perfect avocado sandwich with pesto and sundried tomato, plus an overnight oats with mango, passionfruit and raspberries that was saved with the Swedish no food waste app Karma.

That was also a new first for the year, the first time I used the app, since I don't live in the inner city and since the vegan options are few and far apart it's basically zero opportunities for me to use it. But still, a brilliant way to fight food waste if you're able to.

pitbullflowerpower calendars 2019 and snoopervisor zigne ❤️

The first thing that arrived in the mail, but ordered a month ago (thank you, Swedish postal *service*), were these wonderful Pitbull FlowerPower calendars by Sophie Gamand. Too cute, and for a good cause of course. I do believe they're so sweet that Zigne approves of them, despite depicting the inferior species called dogs. Read about her work and get yours here.

december ootd selfies, 2018

I've been contemplating a new haircut. Haven't been to the hairdresser for two years now. It's easier than you might think to do a reasonable straight cut yourself, however it's nice to get it professionally done.

Should I get a shoulder length straight cut or not. But I know I always end up feeling a bit lost and not I when I get shorter haircuts. On the other hand, the days of looking like a steel wool hair-ball are slightly more than I'm comfortable with.

No matter good intentions and fabric qualities I always end up looking wrinkly and dishevelled after a day out and about, the same goes for my hair, it has a life of its very own, no matter intentions and great products it always end up looking wild and unruly, never sleek and professional. And I have no patience for products and hair tools that involve a lot of work and time on a regular basis.

I'm grateful that I do have decent hair on my head, and this is obviously a luxuary problem in the big scheme of things. But even those can take up a lot of contemplating time. And a symbolic cut of out with the old, in with the new might be well-needed. The thinking continues I guess...

stockholm, sweden, jan 2019 (norrmalmstorg)

First photo I captured of Stockholm 2019 was a morning with a rather magical light, a golden light full of promise of new beginnings and amazing things to come.

Hope your new year has gotten off on a promising, golden, joyous start too. Let's make this a happy year, we can do it!
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