Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas Preparation Success!

I am so happy 
- our Christmas dinner has been secured!
And it isn't even December yet....!


I normally go to Norway at some point before Christmas, but this year I won't be going and this would mean that we wold be in 'trouble' regarding our Christmas dinner as I normally bring over the distinctly Norwegian dish of 'pinnekjøtt' (steamed, dried, cured and sometimes smoked ribs of mutton or lamb).

So, we were consoling ourselves to perhaps having (for us) the second best - 'ribbe' (pork belly with the bones) instead...

But in London you find 'everything' under the sun!

I came across the Scandinavian kitchen and they have pinnekjøtt!
And all sorts of Scandinavian foodstuff!
And they sell online and deliver for free (!) which is a blessing since I was planning a trip to London either!

So, we are 'safe'!
Ok, it is even more expensive than in Norway, but as a one off it is acceptable.

I suddenly feel I am so on top of the preparations for Christmas even though little else is in place...!

Better get on with it!


Monday, 28 November 2011

And We Are Off....!

The best part of the season, in my opinion.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this year advent is super long since Christmas Eve is on a Saturday.
I am a huge advent fan!
I love the anticipation, the preparations, the gatherings, the feeling of working towards a goal
- and new beginnings.

This year I wanted a new twist on our advent decoration. I took 4 silver candlesticks in various heights, (one I have bought, one I have been given and a couple I have inherited), put them on a silver tray, added a few pine cones along with some cinnamon sticks for nice Christmassy smell and added purple candles with silver number stickers on.

As for the colour of the candles - I am old fashioned this way.
I normally prefer white candles, but purple is the colour of advent and the only 'right' colour in this connection
- for me.

What colour do YOU prefer for your advent candles?

Friday, 25 November 2011

A Noble Cause - Free Cook Book

Two Swedish guys have collected some mouthwatering recipes from some of Swedens most active food blogs with the view of raising money for Doctors without Borders.

They let you download the book as a PDF for free here in the hope that you will donate some money by sending a text to a special number in Sweden dedicated to Doctors without Borders.
Not sure how this works from abroad, but you can read more about it here.

Oh, and yes, the book is in Swedish!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Happiness On a Boring Midweek Day

Happiness is...

pre-advent dinner with girl friends
at a lovely country gastro pub!

I can't wait!


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tried and Tested: Breakfast Mix

In this wonderful world of blogs I find so much inspiration for all sorts of projects and suggestions.
The latest was from Fru Hermez (and possibly others that I have forgotten to mention - sorry!) for making my own breakfast mix. I normally have Oatibix, but I was getting bored with it.
So, I roamed the cupboards and filled up a one liter container with a random mix of
chopped almonds
sunflower seeds and other various seeds
some puffed wheat
a couple of crumbled oatibix
a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon
and stirred well
I then added 
3 teaspoons of honey to 2 decilitre of warm water and poured over the mixture
The mixture was baked in the oven for 20 mins on 180 degrees.


Monday, 21 November 2011

My Day!

This weekend we celebrated 

Yes, it was my birthday and I think I must have been good this last year as the sun shone and I got lots of attention from my men as well as friends and family.

My boys woke me in true traditional style with coffee, cake and presents in bed and then took me out to a Christmas Fair at Wimpole Hall where we also enjoyed a simple lunch.

The afternoon was spent relaxing at home and talking with friends. No big celebration this year, just nice to be together as we don't get too much of that these days.

I have to show these:
Above are pictures of the fabulous glasses I got from The Ladies Who Dine.
The series is just so MAD - I simply love them!


While we are on this drinking theme - some other lovely friends took me out for lunch on Friday and we celebrated with the most lovely Prosecco called La Delfina.
It was such a surprise!
I wasn't planning on having any (had to work in the afternoon), but I threw caution to the wind and I did not regret it. I don't know if it was the occassion, the ambiance or the fact that this was simply a really great Prosecco!
I looked it up and it is available from various wine merchants. 

This is absolutely my new favourite 'bubbly'!

Will certainly get some bottles for the upcoming festive season!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Night Time Comfort...

picture borrowed from www
I love my bed.
What I love most about it is that it is 1.8 m wide
- plenty of space for two
(or even three when Our Boy was little).

Amazingly enough, it never seems large enough when I sleep alone in it with The Cat. It is incredible how much space such a small animal seems to 'need'...
Anyway, this isn't about The Cat.

I have for many years been honkering after a Tempur mattress. Admittedly, I have never tried a Tempur mattress, but somehow I believe it MUST be great. My plan was to get one if/when we move house. That is still some years away, so when I came across the offer for a mattress topper from Cloud's Memory Foam on a GroupOn offer (73% off!) I took the chance. The topper arrived yesterday and I put on new clean bedsheets.

Don't you just love the feeling of clean bedsheets?!
One of life's little luxeries

I wouldn't say I slept 'on a cloud', but it was veeery comfortable. Being rather generously endowed from nature's side (sounds better than saying I need to loose some pounds, doesn't it?), I often have aches and pains in my hips and back when I wake up in the morning. I was pleased to note that I had none of that this morning. This is just a mattress topper, so I believe that a real Tempur mattress MUST be even better.

The Professor did not share my enthusiasm.
I had snored.
To my defense - I have a cold.

On the bright side, it probably means he will use another bedroom tonight and I get ALL of this lovely comfort to myself
... unless The Cat decides to stay in and occupy it, too!

HE doesn't mind if I snore!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Passing Strangers...

I was walking in my own thoughts the other day.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I had just been to a meeting with a colleague and was on my way back to my office - which is in another building from 'the mother ship'. I was thinking about boring work issues and not really paying attention to anything or anyone around me.

As I neared my office building a man coming towards me suddenly lent over to me and
whispered seductively as we passed each other

'have you missed me'...?

And then he carried on walking in the opposite direction of me.
As I said, I was completely in my own world and it took a few seconds before I comprehended that he had spoken to me and what he had actually said. I stopped dead in my tracks and spun around to see who it was, but by then he had disappeared in the crowd of people walking in the sunshine.
There was no point trying to run after him to see who it was as I couldn't for the life of me remember what he looked like.

I started laughing.

I guess I would have had a very different reaction if it had been in the evening in a dark street, but in broad daylight on a busy street it just seemed funny.
It gave me the giggles like a teenage girl.
And no, I can't really say I have missed anyone except perhaps my own Professor who was not in town. 


I  am 100% sure it was neither him nor
picture borrowed from the internet

gorgeous George.

There is also the possibility that perhaps the man was talking on the phone...?


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Treading the Boards

Wole Soyinka
As I mentioned, this weekend Our Boy "treaded the boards" in the play Travel Club and Boy Soldier by Wole Soyinka (Nobel Prize Laureate 1986). The play is about a group of teenage school students on holiday somewhere among the South Sea Islands. It is a playground for some people but can be life and death for the people who live there.

The play shows the young people trapped in the airport after an insurrection has taken place. During their discussions we learn that one boy's father was killed by terrorists in Northern Ireland, another has an account of how a bus in India was ambushed and the Hindus savagely murdered and another tells of the massacre of the Igbo people in the Biafra war.

It is clear that extremism is not confined to any one place.

As they wait in the airport the young people are asked to make a moral choice, either to hand over their passports and be relatively safe or to refuse because handing them over is probably the start of segregation which could have fatal consequences. At this point one of them states, 'You don't argue with a man with a gun,' and three of the young people leave. The others are confronted by the commandante and an armed guard.

The commandante of the airport is a young person no older than the school students. In what might seem a despairing speech he describes the violence he has witnessed and claims that he has now replaced questions with orders.
But he finishes by hoping that perhaps the future may return to something like that of the school students.

A play with real food for thought
- and very well acted by all
(and that is NOT maternal pride speaking!)


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Making the Right Choice...?

picture borrowed from the world wide web
We are in the midst of making the rounds to the various 6th form schools with Our Boy.
Next year he will be starting 6th form and only be two years away from going to University!
What happened to the years...?

He spent primary school at a state school,
while he has been receiving his secondary education at a private school.
Now comes the third 'phase' called '6th form' and this is the last two years before going into higher education. Fortunately, he knows which subjects he wants to focus on at 6th Form, so at least the direction of future studies is clear.

Our dilemma is that although he could stay at his current private school there is also an excellent state funded school in our town.

So, what to do?

Do we stay with the school and teachers we know and 'not rock the boat', but pay school fees
take a chance on a school that has a very good reputation, but also higher number of students in each class and less pastoral care?

Not easy when we can't apply our own experiences since none of us were brought up in this school system.

Ah, the worries we have over the choices we make for our kids.

Next week is the last meeting and we will have to reach some conclusion.

In the meantime, he is taking to the stage this weekend in a theatre production of "Travel Club and Boy Soldier" by Wole Soyinka.
Poor thing - he might feel a little apprehensive as several family members will be in the audience - in addition to us, his grandparents and his great aunt from Sweden will be watching...

Break a leg!


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Confused...? No more!

A friend sent me this link.
I thought it might be useful for those confused about the difference between

The United Kingdom
Great Britain
England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland
British Isles
The Commonwealth Realm
The Crown Dependencies
The British Overseas Territories
etc. etc.

Any wiser...??

I agree, it isn't easy...


Monday, 7 November 2011

Tried and Tested: Apple Cake Success

I wanted to use up some apples and was experimenting with making a new apple cake recipe on the weekend. It was successfull enough to need being made twice on the same weekend!

I think using the ground almonds makes it very moist.
I served it as it was, but I can see a nice vanilla custard, whipped cream or icecream could go down well with it.

Mix well
60 grams of ground almond
190 grams of flour
250 grams of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
250 grams of butter
to a 'sandy' consistency

Whisk 4 eggs separately and add to the dry mixture.
Pour the batter into a large cake tin.
Peel, core and chop finely 6 apples and press these well into the batter
Chop roughly 3-4 handfuls of almonds and spread over the apples
Drizzle on top cinnamon and a few spoons of brown sugar
Chop into small squares 25 grams of butter which you scatter on top.
Bake for about 40-45 mins on 190 degrees in the bottom of the oven.
You might need to cover the top half way through to avoid it burning.

PS: This is also my contribution to Sota Saker's November challenge.

Friday, 4 November 2011


Simply to make it easier for those who read my blog and are Facebook users I have created a Facebook page for the blog. Many thanks to Elisabeth from Innerst i veien for help with some of the technical bits!

If you click on the 'Like' button on the right here on the blog, you should in theory get a notification on your Facebook page when I post a new item.

Any thing to make life easier...

Full house here this weekend.
The Professor came home last night, so we are full up with the in-laws still with us. They are planning to return home in a couple of weeks after more than two months with us. It will be strange and empty when they go. I am dreading it already.

But first there is Guy Fawkes Night on the agenda this weekend!

Thursday, 3 November 2011


picture borrowed from the web

The days are for sure shorter.
I enjoy it still being light when I wake up in the morning, but not so much biking home in the dusk - soon to be really dark...
Time to get the bike lights out!

Talk about security - we live in a city full of bikers - the terrain is flat as a pancake so it really is the way to move about.
I am utterly amazed by the sheer stupidity of all the bikers texting on their mobiles whilst riding along...
I see several of them doing it - every day!!!
Talk about wanting an accident to happen!

Or should I just join the Grumpy Old Women?
(I am actually amazed the producers have not called!)

also borrowed from the web