Monday, 29 December 2014

My New Year's Resolutions

The tree has moved to the balcony, the last pieces of wrapping paper have been tidied away and I feel that familiar itch to organise. A new year is on its way.

I sometimes catch myself saying I'm not a person who makes New Year's resolutions, we all end up with the same promises after all and break most of them before the first month has come and gone. But then I do make them anyway, if only in secret, because January 1st feels like a day when anything can happen and we can start our lives with new conviction.
I might not be doing the half marathon in Hyde Park just yet, but if you do, you get free bananas!
Before my 30th birthday I wrote an entry about how I would like to improve as a person. Those ambitions still stand and I hope I've made at least a tiny bit of progress. In addition to that, I would like to spend 2015 taking better care of my body. I believe mental and physical wellbeing are closely connected, at least that's the case for me. I know how much happier I feel when I exercise. I know how much more energy and creativity I have when I eat right and sleep well. And still I find myself neglecting my body a lot of the time, often for no better reason than that I just "can't be bothered". What a load of bovine excrement. I can't be bothered to be healthy and feel happy?
This guy used to be a prop in a short film. He now sits on my window sill. 
Years ago I posted Buddha's wise words: "To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear". It inspired me then and hopefully it will do it now. I'm one of the lucky ones, at this point in my life I can choose to be healthy. Not everybody gets that choice. They find strength in other ways of course, I guess I partially disagree with Buddha there, I believe you can have an immensely strong mind even when your body is giving way, but for those of us who have both, it would be disrespectful not to take good care. Or at least that's what I feel, and this year I will do my very best to practice what I preach. Hopefully it will also help me embrace new experiences, new people and new opportunities throughout the year, and spend lots of time doing the things I love. I guess when it comes down to it, my resolution for 2015 is to pack the year as full of life as humanly possible. 

I hope you had an amazing time over the holidays and look forward to the new year! You still have a couple of days to think about a resolution, but if it's not your thing then don't stress! Just enjoy yourself.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Finn vs swede


It's the evening before Christmas Eve and the Queen and I are getting excited! Looking at my massive grocery shopping you would never guess I'm cooking for one this Christmas.

I headed for uncharted waters today. I got off work early and decided my craving for the Finnish Christmas dish Kålrotslåda/Lanttutlaatikko, a sort of swede casserole, was greater than my fear of making it.

The swede put up a good fight, tough as nails. I quickly gave up on the idea of evenly chopped cubes and hacked away like a mad woman with a massive knife. My flatmate also gave me a hand and together we conquered. 
Don't get me wrong, it's not exactly dangerous cooking, I wasn't Heston Blumenthaling it, I'd just never made it before. In my family we usually buy it ready made because one brand makes such a good job of it. I was just dreading that first bite after all the anticipation and hard work (it does take some time and effort) only to realise it's nothing like what I'm used to.  
To the mashed swede is added a mixture of egg, cream, Nordic dark syrup and spices, so it's not for the sugar shy. 
But! Whether it tastes like my childhood Christmases or not, it is now out of the oven and I'm actually a little bit proud (if I may say so myself). At least I made it! I'll have to wait a while before I can try some, but even if it's not exactly the same, I'm sure it's going to be fine.
It looks quite orange, like I made carrot casserole instead, but I'm pretty sure it was swede! The "decoration" on top didn't quite reach its potential either ... But hey. 
I've decided to make some of my other favourite Christmas foods as well, but that will all have to wait until tomorrow. Christmas in Finland is basically watching potatoes boil and cursing them for not doing it any faster!

I hope you have most of your prep done as well and can enjoy the time to come. Merry Day before Christmas!


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Chatty Woman

Puh! My ten days of Christmas marketing have come to an end and it's been a blast. I feel a bit like Santa, having supplied so many people with Christmas presents. Some sales were pretty stealth as the recipient was standing just around the corner. Between an American drama teacher, a Brit who runs guided tours in North Korea and many more, I also had some brilliant chats and realised all over again how very nice people can be.
I had to say goodbye to my headless friend. His name was Ralph. 
Only two more days in the office and then it's time for Christmas and over a week of nothingness. I can hardly believe it. I don't know when I last had that many days off without any task or mission. I do have a holiday goal though: spend time outdoors in actual daylight!

I hope you had a great weekend and look forward to the festive week ahead. Eat. Rest. Read a book or watch a film. Try not to stress!


Thursday, 18 December 2014

My Christmas Tunes

I wrote about some pretty gloomy music in my last entry so I thought I'd present you with something a bit more festive! I love Christmas music. Growing up, we began listening to it in November. And I was always in one choir or other and therefore practiced harmonies for the Christmas concert well before the actual holiday. 
When I came home yesterday evening a package filled with overseas Christmas gifts were waiting for me. It cheered me up no end after a long day. 
 There's always been a mix of Nordic, American and British music. Finnish Christmas songs can be quite melancholy, but still beautiful. My favourite Christmas music however is anything sung by the King's College Choir. To me, they're Christmas. We would save them until just before Christmas Eve, when we decorated the tree. My grandparents had them on LP, my mum on a rather worn out cassette and I now have them on CD and iTunes. I'd love to hear them live some time!

I'm always a bit sceptical of modern, newly written Christmas music, I just don't have that same emotional connection to it, but today at the office I heard a new song for the first time and did actually quite enjoy it. Here it is:

What's your favourite Christmas music?

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

Sunday, 14 December 2014



How's your weekend been?

I had the pleasure of spending mine at the Barbican Christmas Market selling Plane Clothing. The customers and fellow stall holders were all lovely and I made some decent sales so I'm very happy indeed. Happy and tired. But no rest for the wicked! I'll be doing it all of next week as well, in addition to my days at the office.
Oh crap, that one t-shirt has unfolded itself. Photos don't lie!
Why not come along and have a look? I can't promise you an extra discount, but I will give you a smile and wish you a lovely evening.

Have a great start to the week!

Friday, 12 December 2014

My play's playlist

Music has played a huge part in my life. It might not be obvious because whenever I'm asked what my favourite music is, I get flustered and forget everything except Itsy Bitsy Spider and Mary Had a Little Lamb. But most of my spare hours as a child and teenager were dedicated to music, mainly through playing instruments, and music has always had a considerable influence on my emotional state. 

When I wrote my MA play I didn't set out to find a playlist for it, but three songs became important to me quite quickly. They sort of introduced themselves at key moments and got me in the right mind set. I admit, they're not the most uplifting songs, and the play does touch on some dark subjects, but they still have a special place in my heart and the play does have lighter, humorours bits as well! (I can't bear to watch anything that is nonstop doom and gloom.)

Now that the play is "done", I thought I'd share my unofficial writing playlist with you:

Gunfight - Laurence Fox

Live and Let Go - Anna Bergendahl

Some Die Young - Laleh

I'm interested to see what kind of music future projects bring along. Do you have songs you keep going back to for any reason? 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

I have a tree!

Ho ho ho! How are you? I bought a Christmas Tree today. Granted, it's a tiny tree but it stands prettily on my desk and I'm very happy with it!
I always struggle to photograph Christmas trees, they're never as pretty in pictures.
I was even happier when I remembered I'd brought some of my favourite decorations over from Finland. I'd forgotten about them until I began looking for last year's Christmas wrapping paper. Sometimes I do think ahead!
Most of the decorations carry special memories. I still have the origami star my cello teacher made me when I was 18. I also have the Sydney Opera House I bought while living Down Under. There are also several decorations I made myself or bought for my first tree when I moved away from home.
The tree is carefully watched over by my traditional looking Santa. My mum loved Christmas and had a growing Santa collection that came out of the cupboard every Christmas. I'm glad I managed to get at least one of them back with me.

Do you have a favourite decoration? I hope your week has started well!


Friday, 5 December 2014

A Stealthy Christmas


With plenty going on, I haven't really had much time to think about or prep for Christmas yet. But you don't escape that easily! Christmas sneaks up and pounces when you least expect it. Like today when I did my regular lunch outing and a group of Santa hatted younglings had lined up to sing Christmas songs to passers by.
London hasn't really embraced the winter wonderland look just yet ...
Now these things might not always be as cute as planned, unless your own child is involved, but there I stood all misty eyed before even the first song had ended. It got even worse when they started singing a traditional Lucia song. A slightly odd choice I thought, while recovering from sentimental flashes. The UK doesn't celebrate Lucia on December 13th the way the Nordic countries do, but then it turned out that the kids were from a local Danish school so mystery solved!

Aah, Lucia, the annual popularity contest disguised as a celebration of light and Christ and the one day of the year when girls fight to have their hair ruined by melted candle wax. (Please ignore my sarcastic remarks, it's actually quite lovely.)

I hope December is supplying you with Christmas cheer in suitable dozes and you don't feel too much stress. Relinquish the stress! And have a great weekend,


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Enablers

Enabler: one that enables another to achieve an end; especially :  one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior. 

I've received some lovely notebooks in the past couple of weeks. People know I'm a bit of a notebook and stationary junky, and as a professional (?!) writer I tell myself it's almost okay. 
How can you say no?
However! I wish I could handle the situation better. In human relationships I'm a very faithful and monogamous person, but when it comes to notebooks I'm a massive cheat! I can never finish one before starting on another. Sure, my intention is always to stick with what I've got, but then along comes something new and shiny with all those empty, inviting pages and off I go! 
I have coerced other writing tools to help in my deceit.  
I lie too. How many times have I promised a notebook to treat it nicely, to write in it with my prettiest handwriting, only to fill it with scribbles barely I can read. Day in and day out it gets knocked about in my bag and only appears when I feel I have something important to say. 

Is this fair? Is it okay to have several notebooks on the go at the same time? (I'm working on different projects after all!) And do they take offense when I write in haste, trying to keep up with the thoughts in my head? If so, I apologise. It is never my intention to be hurtful, but at the same time I can't promise to massively improve. Time for an intervention?

If not, please do feel free to feed my habit. 

I hope your week is going well!