Friday, 30 April 2010

Bank Holiday Weekend Happyness!

This weekend is Bank Holiday weekend here in England - meaning Monday is a public holiday. It is traditionally a BBQ weekend for many...
The weather has been amazing this week with temperatures over 20 degrees, but that is all about to change and drop down to 12 degrees apparently... That is so typical of the climate here - we will normally have "everthing" during one day. The saying is that "if you don't like the weather, just wait 10 minutes and it will change"...!

Never mind, Our Boy and I are so looking forward to the visitors coming from Norway tomorrow evening it doesn't matter what the weather is like. The garden is blooming - the lilac has just sprung! - and we get to spend some days with some of our favourite people in the world!

But before then I need to "liaise" with the vaccuum cleaner and some water to make the house presentable...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Crisp Bread or "Knekkebrød"
Last night I watched "Jamie Oliver in Stockholm" where he was making various Scandinavian dishes (or his take on them) and was delighted to see that he baked crisp bread - very similar to what I had done just a couple of hours before! ;-)

Knekkebrød is one of the things I miss and I can't get the variety here in England as we have in Norway. I was therefore delighted and very inspired when I saw Dentinista making crisp bread (knekkebrød).
It is soooo easy! And very tasty.
No more Ryvita for me!

I more or less stuck to this recipe and the translation for non-Norwegian speakers is here:

3.5 dl rye flour (as coarse as possible)
3.5 dl oatmeal
1.5 dl sesame seeds
2 dl sunflower seeds
1 dl linseed
1 dl wheatgerm
1 dl walnuts - if you want (I didn't have)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp honey (mix it in the water)
7 dl water

Mix well.
I found it was a bit too much water, but I just added some more of the other ingredients to get the right consistency.
Spread the mixture onto two trays lined with baking parchement
Bake at 180 degrees for 10 mins.
Take them out and cut with a pizza knife into the size you want your crispbread
Put them back into the oven and bake for another 30 mins.
I then took them off the baking parchment and baked them on the grill till they were crisp.

So healthy and so nice! 

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

More Yoga

I have started my second class/term of Yoga practise (every Tuesday evening) and I am still as eager and loving it as much as when I started a couple of months ago. That hour spent in total concentration on myself and my body is soooo good. I have found myself in postures I have not tried for over 30 years...! and it really brings me into such calm mental state. I feel stronger and this particular form of yoga - Vini yoga - focuses a lot on the breathing which aids the inwards focus. No matter how stressed I am before class I always come away so refreshed and ready to handle "anything".

I borrowed a dvd and a book from my teacher and hope to find a suitable yoga-cd that I can plot into an iPod so I can do it on my own at home. Does anybody have any suggestions? I am too new to Yoga to go at it on my own, but I think a CD should be helpful when I do the exercises on my own. I am aware that there are many forms of Yoga, but I am open to suggestions.

I understand Yoga might not be for everybody, but I urge you to give it a go! It just might be your "cup of tea"!

Tuesday evenings are normally rounded off with a drink in the pub, but last night my Welsh friend came by after yoga and we had a good old natter, a coffee and a "Bolle" - the English translation is in one of the comments.

It was a good ending to a good day!

Monday, 26 April 2010


I was thrilled to find this handmade bedspread (double bed) for sale on Ebay for "a song"! It would have taken me YEARS to do it myself.

My only issue is that it isn't white, but cream... It is my own fault - it clearly stated the color in the advert, but I was too hasty. I want it for the bedroom in the flat in Edinburgh and I am sure it will be fine... Hmmm... since it is cotton, I wonder if I dare to bleach it...?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Happyness is...

Spending time together!

The Professor has been home this weekend and we took the opportunity to go to Wimpole Hall, just south of Cambridge.

We had a quick lunch and cream tea (tea, scones and clotted cream... mmmmm!) and went for a walk visting the cutest lambs.

It didn't matter that the weather was not the greatest - just typical of this part of the country that the sun has come out now in the afternoon!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Recommended reading: The Island

I just completed "The Island" by Victoria Hislop recommended by one of my blogger friends Arya. A couple of days later I was delighted to see it in a charity shop in Edinburgh.

It is an easy read and an interesting story about family, family secrets, love, loyalty, illness, war, all set in lovely Crete!

I found the language very simple and after a while it was slightly annoying the constant repetition of the same adjectives and a what was a very descriptive story. However, the story is still very captivating and I had a hard time putting the book down - always a good sign.
I would recommend it as a very good holiday read. 

Friday, 23 April 2010


Talking with another friend today I became aware of a handy Internet solution for sharing and accessing documents: Dropbox It allows you to sync your files online and across your computers (work/home/phone)  automatically and share the documents you want with others. You never have to e-mail yourself a file again. It gives you an automatic backup of your files online, keeps files synced between computers and makes sharing files with others easy.

From a work point of view, I think this will be useful as I won't have to send documents to myself to/from work (very tidious and potentially fraught with the danger of mixing up the versions...). Many of the academics I work with have co-authors and this should be a handy tool for them who have papers they are jointly working on (apparently The Professor was already aware of this and had used it with co-authors...).

For us with two households it will be a way of keeping useful house related documents handy so both The Professor and I can access the information even if we are in two different cities.

I guess this could also be a way of storing pictures and sharing with friends and family. The point is that you only share those files that you want to.

The website uses the example of a guy who used Dropbox to store any documents he might need as he was on a major round the world trip.

I like smart solutions like this!

Thursday, 22 April 2010


A friend of mine showed me this practical gadget I never knew I needed...

Actually, any gal will appreciate this handbag hook that you can bring with you to restaurants so that you don't have to set your bag on the floor. Handbags are often put down in many not so hygenic places (bathrooms come to mind...) and putting the handbag on the table is probably NOT a good idea. Not forgetting the safety aspect of knowing where your bag is when you are dining!

It might be more useful for smaller bags that you normally want to put on the table.

I am ordering one from
At £3.99 it's a cute and cheap idea for a nice little gift for a friend?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Knitted Jewellery

Knitted jewellery might sound strange, but that is what I did the last two nights while watching television.

Last summer we had a break in to our house and all my jewellery was taken. It was heart breaking. So many memories were lost. There were many things of no particular monetary value that means nothing to anybody else, but were precious to me. But onwards and upwards! That is now in the past and no point in dwelling on it (although... if I ever met those @&%* who did it...!).

I have always loved jewellery and being married to an Iranian has its perks particularly in this respect as especially my in-laws have always been very generous to me.

I have also dabbled in making a few things of my own. This is my latest "creation":

It is knitted 0.3mm wire with seed beeds threaded onto the wire (knitting needle no 3-ish). The most time consuming part was actually to thread all the beeds onto the wire.
I then cast seven stitches and knitted it incorporating the beeds occassionally as I went on to the length needed.
I proceed with folding the bracelet lengthways and rolled in my hands to this rounded effect.
I used a lobster clasp with a split ring as the fastening. 


Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Gratulerer med Dagen! Happy Birthday!

Today is my Mother's birthday!

Our Boy and I will be baking a cake to celebrate even if we are not with the birthday girl to celebrate in person.

Not sure it will be such an elaborate cake as the one above since we are not that many in the house this week... Might be a bit too tempting having such large cake in the house...!

Maybe this Rullekake (with whipped cream...mmm) will find its way to our table tonight!

Monday, 19 April 2010

It would be a strange diary if I didn't mention what half the world is talking about at the moment: the volcanic activities on Iceland.
It would also be strange if I didn't mention how extensively this is effecting more and more countries as the wind blows the ashes and makes the airspace unsafe.
I spent about 2 hours today trying to get a ticket from London to Paris for somebody who needs to go to Berlin. In the end, we couldn't get a suitable ticket for love nor money from Paris to Berlin, so the meeting is cancelled.
I have heard from 4 collegues this morning who are stranded around the world unable to fly back to the UK.
The volcano really timed its activities well as today was the start of the new term at school and many people will have been trying to make their ways back home. The worst case I have heard so far is of friends stranded in Iran and given 9 May as the next available flyout date...

I am sure the kids are thrilled for this extra "holiday"!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

What I should have done... and what I did...

You know that guilty feeling you get when you KNOW you should be doing something, but choose to do something completly different because it is more fun... ? Well, I should have had that feeling as I have a paper to submit in a months time and should be studying, but I have chosen NOT to have it simply because I have enjoyed myself so much today.

My former neighbour came by and as the weather was so wonderful we decided to go to the local garden centre to stock up on some spring/summer plants. She has moved out of town and now has a massive garden. My garden is the size of a stamp, but that is what you get when you want to live in town... The advantage is that it supposedly should not take any time to look after a small garden, but to be honest - I can fiddle about for hours. BUT it takes no time to cut the grass and that was done yesterday for the first time this year!

Here are the results of the excursion this morning (including an olive tree which is not in any of the pictures below... I know I am being brave...!):

Our Boy kindly came with us and served as muscle man to heave the bags of manure and compost needed. Good to have a strong lad! He decided that in addition to our annual tomatoe plants he wants to grow chillies this year! Watch this space!

This gorgeous tree below is now in full bloom in our common garden.
I just loooove it!

Hope you are having a good Sunday, wherever you are!

Friday, 16 April 2010

See what I did!

I came across this technique for decorating candles
while reading one of my favourite blogs
and was immediately inspired to try to make one myself!
Not bad for a first try, eh!?
I only had these napkins in the house,
but I will be on the lookout for other napkins with suitable motifs!  

Here is the explanation how to do it for those of you who don't understand Norwegian:

Put the iron on very low temperature (turn off the steam function)
Find the napkin you want to use
Cut out the motif
Take apart the various layers - you only need the layer with the motif
Put the motif on the candle and iron carefully and evenly
Keep at it till the entire napkin has been absorbed by the candlewax

She warns not to use your regular iron as the wax might stay on and smear any clothes you use it on... 

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Comfort food... filled potato skins

Filled potato skins is just heaven on earth...

I made this as our first meal in Edinburgh and they went down a storm with my men!

While you bake one or two potatoes per person,
cut into pieces and fry some bacon and onions.
Let the baked potatoes cool and divide each in half.
Scoop into a bowl as much as possible of the potato whilst trying to keep the skins intact
and mix it with the fried bacon/onions as well as
a small tub of creme fraiche
and an egg or two

Place the potato skins on a baking tray and
fill them with the potato/bacon/onion mixture

If you like, grate some cheese and add on top of each filled potato half
Bake in the oven till golden


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Very Proud and Happy Home Owners

We are back from a long weekend in Edinburgh and I am soooo pleased to say that the flat is now officially OURS!

We went up to Edinburgh and got the keys on Friday afternoon at 4.30 pm (WHY does it always have to be last minute....????). Fortunately we liked the flat as much now that we own it as when we viewed it. However, the workmen had completed some minor repairs, but had left the place terribly dirty and dusty. You are not required to leave a property cleaned when you sell it in this country, so the first thing we did was to empty out all the rubbish left in the flat as well as clean it. It was with good foresight that we had booked a hotel room for the first night!
The rest of the weekend was spent at various furniture shops (yes, I am pleased to say that I got my fill of Ikea this time, too). There is now a double bed, a TV, a small dining table with 4 chairs, fridge/freezer, stove, the all important Persian rugs (brought up on the train), and various kitchen utensils in place. The sofa has been ordered and will be delivered next week and a new bed for Our Boy is needed. But this will be as far as the Ikea contribution goes.

I really hope to be able to spend some time this summer going through some of the second hand shops and antique shops to find some nice pieces of furniture to add that special touch to the place. I also think the (in my opinion - unneccessarily) HUGE plasma TV left for us is in the wrong place. There should be a nice fireplace or even a mock electric fireplace there as the focal point. In time that will be changed... mark my words! There is also some minor paiting details outstanding (see for instance the frame around the tile blocks below...), but that will all be done in time.

The three of us had a great time working together and the weather was glorious.

Can't get much better than this, can it?

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Recommended reading III: The Alchemist

I heard about this book by the Brasilian author Paulo Coelho
a few years ago, but never got around to reading it until now.

 It is a very short, tender, gentle and simple story about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read omens strewn along life's path and above all following our dreams.

The book has sold milllions and has achieved status of a modern classic. Think I want to check out some of his other books, too...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

"It ain't over yet...."

We had a phone call from our lawyer dealing with the purchase of the flat in Edinburgh today. We are due to receive the deeds and the KEYS tomorrow, but the lawyer had just learnt that there is an unsettled claim on the property. This was explained to me in many sentences and the "legalese" was complicated to understand, but I think that was the essence of it... Thinking about it - it amazes me that it takes so many words to say something that simple...  

BUT, the heart of it is that we still don't know if we should go to Edinburgh tomorrow or NOT??? I am choosing to be patient and expecting everything to work out  as planned. We have therefore not cancelled the cattery place for The Cat (oooops! Ssshhh! Don't tell him he is going to the C-place).

Time will tell, I guess....

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Visitor

The Professor suddenly noticed tonight that The Cat was all excited and running from window to window looking out into the garden. The light in the garden was on and The Professor quickly spotted what the excitement was about - there was a hedgehog in the garden!

I often heard and saw them when I was a child, but this is the first one I have seen in our garden here in England. It was rooting around on the lawn and exploring under the bushes before it very peacefully trotted away under the garden gate.

We have actually had a lot of animals visiting our little cul-de-sac here on the edge of town. One day I saw a little DEER running around and another time a very large HARE - it was HUGE! - came for a visit as well as a very cheeky Mr. FOX... Lots of excitement, in other words!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Almost End of Easter

Home again!

I have just returned from 4 lovely days in Norway visiting friends and family. It was really great seeing so many again after a looong time. I spent 3 days with my mother and the family in my hometown Halden and the last day in Oslo with one of my best friends and her family.

Event if we talk often on the phone there NEVER seems to be ENOUGH time to talk about EVERYTHING...! The story goes that one day while I was living in Oslo, I rang her for a quick chat. As she lived nearby she asked me to come over for a coffee, but I said I didn't have time...
Well, we ended the conversation 3 1/2 hours later! Needless to say, I could have gone to her house and back MANY times during those 3 1/2 hours...
We managed to put in some hours talking during this visit, too!

Holidays mean food, drinks, treats, talking and spending time together. Therefore after eating (a lot!), talking and playing Scrabble and Sudoku we went for a walk in Bygdoy and enjoyed the lovely spring weather. The picture above of the flowers and these majestic birch trees are from Bygdoy.

Our Boy also returned last night from a very exciting trip to Greece ("We have got to go back, mamma!").

The Cat showed his appreciation of us all being home again. I think we have been missed....