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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Death on the Thames


What better way to start your Sunday than listen to a talk about the myths and mysteries of the Thames, as part of the Totally Thames event. At least Lotta and I thought it would be a good idea and got on the HMS President at Victoria Embankment.

A few things I learnt during the two talks by Robert Stephenson and Scott Wood:

  1. The bottom of the Thames is littered with skulls. Disembodied skulls. There are theories about these skulls but nobody really knows what they are doing there. 
  2. Even now, 30 to 50 bodies are found in the Thames every year. 
  3. The London sewers used to be very busy. "Toshers" spent their days down there looking for treasure, anything valuable that had been flushed or swept down the drains. In addition, there are stories about lots of pigs roaming the underworld.
  4. People have tried to whip up new river myths, like the Angel of the Thames, for marketing purposes, but our experts were less than impressed. (Lotta and I did not have the honour of spotting this "angel".)
After the talk, two slightly nauseous Finns climbed back up on deck and onto the street and strolled to the Barbican for lunch. I had a sudden urge for fish and chips which turned out to be a good choice. I just hope my cod hadn't been fraternising with all those skulls ... 

I hope you've had a good weekend so far!


Saturday, 20 September 2014

DAY 33. Coco, black beans ... What?

I woke up today bitten by the baking bug and decided to try something new. I found this recipe for a chocolate, raspberry and black bean loaf on who has a lot of recipes for different diets.

This loaf is gluten free as the beans replace all flour. It's also dairy free and since I had some leftover Natvia from another bake, I decided to use that instead of regular caster sugar. It does however contain a few eggs.
I'm not sure it turned out quite right. It took much much longer in the oven than planned. My British Bake Off dream would definitely have ended ... And the taste isn't very strong. But with more berries, or maybe ice cream or cream, it's still pleasant. You would not know there's 400 grams of beans in there. And the shot of coffee gives it a bit of a kick. I still prefer my sweet potato brownies though. (But other people seem to have made it a success so why not give it a try?)

Oh well, it was fun to bake again and you learn new things every day!

Have a great evening!


Friday, 19 September 2014

DAY 32. A week in pictures


I'm struggling to write about anything specific today. Not because it was a bad day, it was just uneventful from a blogging perspective. Instead I decided to do a random photo cavalcade from the past 7 days. Imagine it's the 1980's and I'm boring aunt Edna who just figured out how to make a slide show. (No snoring in the back, please.)
The shadow of a lamp against a wall. (Okay so I was bored and had access to my phone. Things happen.)
A nice day to have your lunch break in the park. 
A Helsinki beach in September. The giant seagull on the pole isn't real. 
Why not pick some mushrooms while on a walk through the park?
A victim of sloppy painting. For some reason it reminds me of space. 
Finnish liquorice ice ream! (Need I say more?)

And finally a random dinner, because we all know blogging is all about the food photos. Anyone still awake? If so, Aunt Edna thanks you. And the photo scraps from my phone, who didn't make the first cut, also appreciate it very much. 
Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

DAY 31. The Abbreviation of Doom

Show me a person who enjoys writing CVs and I shall buy him/her a coffee!

I don't. The words Curriculum Vitae makes me break out in a cold sweat. But after days of procrastination I finally managed to get my writer’s CV up to date and looking decent. (That’s the happy bit of this entry.) I need it for a submission so I had no choice but to bite the bullet and list my achievements.
This should be enough, right?
The thing is, when it comes to my “normal” CV I’m pretty happy. I’ve had several jobs with responsibility and challenges. My writing resume however isn’t as impressive. I’ve written plenty in my life, but apart from my novel most of it has been non-fiction: news, human interest, magazine articles and press materials. There are 19-year-olds with more playwriting and screenwriting achievements than me. 
Then again, I only just started. My feet have barely left the starting blocks and I’m stumbling towards the first hurdles. I can’t expect myself to have a long list of awards, publications and productions already. And there's a catch-22. If you don’t send something off because you're embarrassed by your pitiful CV, you forfeit the chance of getting another notch on your belt, and without that notch the CV will remain as pitiful. Ergo; swallow your pride.

In the end, my CV doesn’t look that terrible. It could definitely do with more padding, but for now, it will do!

Again, if you love CV writing, good for you! Why not help me out over that cup of coffee?


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

DAY 30. It smells like ...

Scented candles! You know autumn is here when I go all gooey eyed (nosed?) for chunky candles in large glass jars. I spent a good part of my lunch break today sniffing wax, trying to decide which smell was my favourite and imagining chilly candle lit evenings.
I sniffed these months ago and remember loving one of them. Now I can't remember which one! Ro maybe? (Funnily enough it means both tranquility and "to row" in Swedish. Come to think of it, I have felt quite tranquil rowing on peaceful lakes.  Photo borrowed from:
 To be honest, the idea of a scented candle makes me more excited than most candles themselves. A lot of them become overbearing in a small room. Everything suddenly smells of Apple Blossom and you wake up with a headache.
This Apple Blossom did smell lovely today ... Photo borrowed from:
But there are nice ones as well. (Very nice.) It's just too bad that the good candles can be painfully expensive. There are plenty of other things I could spend twenty odd (or more!) pounds on. Sensible things. … Boring things. Sigh.
If you need me, I’ll be in the candle section.
Hope you’re having a great week!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


This evening I attended the opening of my friend Andrea's degree show in Fine Art. It was great. So many different styles and techniques. They'd all worked really hard to express their own ideas in a unique way.
As writers we're always told to engage with other art forms. We might not be painters or dancers or musicians, but it's all storytelling and we can always be inspired. It's amazing how other people's creative work, however remote it might seem from our own, can make us think in new ways, re-energise a tired brain.
My Gran. Artist's age unknown.
I've never been very good at drawing. I love working with colours, but making something look the way it's "supposed" to look has never come easy to me. But then skills rarely come easy, I've just spent my time on other things instead, like music and writing. When I was in Helsinki my grandmother gave me an album full of things she'd saved over the years. Articles and letters I'd written, articles and reviews written about me and my work, and drawings I'd made her as a child. I'm glad she kept them, even though I'm pretty sure she never had blue hair or arms coming out of her cheeks, but they're one way I told stories even before I could write. And she's always been very supportive of that.

Well done to everyone who showed their work today! Thank you for sharing.


Monday, 15 September 2014

DAY 28. Touchdown!

Today I'm again grateful for having landed and arrived home safely. I didn't even lose my cool when I had to stand all the way from Heathrow to Kings Cross and then change tube lines with my massive suitcase in classic London rush hour. Yay me! (I probably accidentally managed to piss someone else off though, so sorry about that.)
I swear I haven't been paid to show this photo. It's just what my bag looked like when leaving Helsinki. Now if a certain bread company did insist on sending me a lifetime supply of bread I might not necessarily refuse ...
I'm glad I finally got my large rucksack over. It's been on a few adventures and hopefully there will be more to come!

But right now, I just want a shower and a cup of tea,