I'm moving. Again.

_MG_6446w.jpg

Looking out my window, the rooftops glisten white. Winter threw itself over us with what felt like little to no warning. Autumn was short and intense, after five months of unprecedented summer that stretched on for what seemed like forever.

When I joked around the last time about not being able to stay in one place for more than two years, I didn’t know it would be true this time as well. My little apartment was my fort, my safe zone, MINE. I was to stay here for a long time, not to lay my place to live in the hands of another. I wasn’t supposed to spend my time in a home that I was allowed to dwell in by the good graces of another person, being able to rip it from me at any time just by using a couple of words, like “It’s over”.

But as the first snow crunches underfoot, my apartment is in disorder. I’m packing, and I’m leaving my safe spot. I’m moving to a house, with a man and his two kids. If you told me this in June, I would have old-lady-cackled at you and said “Yeah that’s not happening!”.

Yet here I am. Moving to start a life with a family, with a little yellow house to tend to, a garden to plant things in, space to DO things and kids to hang out with.

_MG_6452_1w.jpg

Space and a feeling of home has been my main gripe since I lost my first real home-home (the feeling of really belonging somewhere) three years ago, and ending up in small rooms in crowded apartments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m forever grateful for the open arms I’ve stumbled into these couple of years, but I’ve missed the house. Missed having space. Missed having MY space, large enough to live life as I wanted to. Missed having a garden to whine about weeds in, watch flowers grow, feed birds. Missed having a fireplace to warm my senses when fall comes along. Missed having somewhere to invite people for dinner without getting cramped. Missed the connection to nature that is so much more apparent when living in a house instead of an apartment.

So, having gone through three apartments in three years, I’m now moving to ground level. With a family.

That’s why it’s been all silent here for a month. With parts of my health being shaky, seven exams and a move within a few couple of weeks, it’s going be silent here for a little while longer. Then I’m back, hopefully with returned vigor, because I’m going to have a real kitchen again. A living room. A CRAFT ROOM. Shit. I’ve already got a long list of things I want to do, craft, cook and decorate.

Oh, and I’ve also, in pure anticipating and joy, brought back my inside-outside header. Because soon, I’m gonna have an outside again. Let’s hope it’s for the long run this time.

Gyllene-Äpplet-vardagsrum+flat-stuffw.jpg

Okay, so I made oat bars

IMG_3088w.jpg

You know how you just suddenly crave oats? No? Okay…

Ahem.

Well, you know how you just loathe everyday cooking and you’ve promised your boyfriend that you won’t eat any candy but you want to and realize that there’s a solution to both your problems? A magical way of circumferencing that big block of candy-denial that is the man that keeps on showing up at your apartment when you’re trying to claw open the chocolate bar in the fridge while trying to find like rocks that are the same weight as chocolate to put into the chocolate packaging for the quick little Indiana Jones-swap in case your he checks your fridge for looting?

Okay, good, now you’re with me!

The step following your clever solution-step is googling “granola bars”. A lot. Because people put the weirdest shit in these, man. Like more butter than oats? Milk? Honey, syrup, sugar AND brown sugar? Seriously? I’m cutting candy so I can avoid diabetes, man. DRIED CRANBERRIES? What are we, savages?

IMG_3011w.jpg

So when you finally find a recipe that’s like doable with some alterations, it’s half past ten in the evening and you just sort of roll off of the couch and make your dullest late-Saturday-night shopping ever, consisting of seeds, dried prunes and white chocolate. It could mislead you to believe that I don’t have a very exciting life.

Okay, so I don’t. There’s nothing wrong with that!

IMG_3015w.jpg

After all that strain to rush to the store, I unloaded everything in the kitchen and promptly went to bed, slept for eight hours, and then drank coffee for four hours before I ventured towards the bags of dry things loitering on my stove top. The making of my oat bars were of enough urgency to make me go biking for an hour a Saturday evening… obviously.

IMG_3023w.jpg
IMG_3017w.jpg

As Toby, who was eliminated in the first episode of season 4 of Great British Bake Off said; “And I have grrrrrated my thumb”. Here in the north, we always sacrifice a smidgeon of blood to make the cooking fulfilling for all parts.

Then about three hours of roasting oats, pouring things into bowls, humming hesitantly, doubting my purpose in life, going through dabs of all forms of sugar in my household, melting chocolate and chopping prunes ensued. What? I complain about cranberries and then use PRUNES? I’m half-Finnish, dude. One of the classic Finnish desserts is a dark brown sludge that exactly resembles sticky chocolate pudding but is merely WHEAT boiled until dead and then you pour a tad of full fat cream on it and remember the olden lands full of bark and darkness. Prunes are true joy, I tell you!

IMG_3026w.jpg
IMG_3034w.jpg

Raspberry and white chocolate, probably the most popular of the three kinds.

IMG_3045w.jpg

Prunes and dark chocolate. Gloriously Finnish.

IMG_3065w.jpg
IMG_3053w.jpg

Chocolate and orange, I totally winged it because there are NO RECIPES on chocolate and orange oat bars that doesn’t contain stupid stuff like bananas or orange concentrate. I pressed one orange’s juices and zested two, that was more than enough to flavour it!

IMG_3082w.jpg

The oat bars were tried and tested and approved by me and my gastronomical support that approves of everything I cook because that means he doesn’t have to. I still got a ton in the fridge; they’re supposed to last for like two weeks if kept cold. They are indeed a little… healthy tasting inspite of the chocolate and sticky sugaryness that keeps the oats somewhat from falling all over your clothes when you try and eat them, but all in all, they’re a great treat!


Here are the recipes I read and altered after my own silly tastes. The first one is the base for the prune and orange ones, the second is the raspberry and white chocolate one.

Best Dang Granola Bars Ever
Chewy Raspberry Apple Granola Bars (altough I used lemon curd instead of apple sauce because I didn’t have any apple sauce but I did have lemon curd. I’m fancy like that.)

Glögg! For all you Christmas happy DIY'ers out there

IMG_9091w.jpg

The winds have finally turned. The sweaty, fumbling hands of summer, eagerly trying to get at the little remains of any part of this country’s sweet tender flesh that wasn’t on the brink of bursting into flames seem to finally have released its hunt for us.

Luckily, the slight shivering grip that summer holds on the few remaining survivors, making it unreasonably warm in spite of it being September, isn’t enough to stifle my joy as we’re heading into my favorite part of the year: Autumn, to be followed by Christmas. With the Christmassy scent that wafts through my residence every year in September, I better enjoy it; otherwise it’d just be a massive buzz kill.

Because you see, my fellow internetters, every year when autumn rolls around, I make my own glögg. Of course, the recipe itself isn’t at all unique nor lovingly made by my grandmother’s grandmother to be passed down unto me with a low whisper; “Take care of this piece of history and pass it on to future generations”. No, it was just posted as a classic in a local newspaper in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. I found it while googling. There’s a meaningful back story for ya.

Anyways, in Sweden it’s called glögg, with its internationally more classy cousins glühwein, mulled wine and vin chaud. This version of glögg my friends, is the epitome of rural folksy drunkenness. Taste wise, it’s up there in the fancy lounges, but during the making of it, it’s certainly an ugly duckling.

IMG_9062w.jpg

In short, all you need is spices, a watered down kind of beverage called “weak drink” (yes, whatever prejudice you have in mind is about correct), potatoes to give that real folky kind of feel, the disgusting wreckages of grapes also known as raisins, sugar and yeast. Sounds delish, right? Now dump all of that together in a classy as fuck plastic bucket (food grade of course) that’s left to ferment at the warmest coziest spot of your dwelling and in four weeks’ time, you’ll be plastered stiff by this magical, red-brownish mishmash of everything that’s enjoyable in Christmas times except for saffron. Don’t worry; I’m sure you can add that later on anyways.

Now, this recipe is quite simple, and I will list it, but I firstly I need to talk about the “weak drink”. The name is pure Swedish-English translation and it’s kind of like... It’s like if you would drink half a can of actual beer and then leave it out overnight, having the classic Swedish night rain fill up the can with water and expel all forms of alcohol in it. I would imagine it tasting pretty close to the weak drink. So I mean, you Americans out there can just choose your regular beer. BOOM!

IMG_0137w.jpg

Okay, so now we all know how to MAKE it. But how does it look? Unfortunately, I have to inform you that it is an ugly mess during construction. Your friends will shy away when they see it. You will be thinking “What have I done?”. The only person who won’t actively shy away from the hot, fermentation-fizzy freak of a bucket is that one relative you have who eats just about anything.

IMG_0132w.jpg

Example of how you could try classying it up a little, because adding a wooden box adds that air of craftmanship. The saying “Lipstick on a pig” could fit here.

But don’t worry. When it’s all said and done, and it’s been left to its own devices for four to six weeks, you ladle off the floaty bits and then punish it by putting it in below freezing temperatures for a while in order for all the swimming bits to sink to the bottom. Then you just hose the clear, beautifully scented glögg into bottles, careful not to get the bottom sludge along, and in tightly shut bottles, it’ll keep for up to three years!

HOME MADE GLÖGG, RECIPE!

Original recipe here.

5 liters of weak drink (watered down beer-ish tasting alcohol free fizzy drink)

5 sliced potatoes

50 grams of fresh yeast for sweet doughs

15 grams of whole cloves

20 grams of cardamom seeds

5 cm’s of fresh ginger, shaved and divided in four pieces

1 cinnamon stick

300-500 grams of raisins

2.5 kilos of sugar

3 dried bits of bitter orange peel (the original recipe is without this)

Mix it all in a ten liter bucket, put saran wrap with poked aeration holes over the top, let sit for 4-6 weeks. If your house is cold, find the warmest spot. I found that under 17C/62F, the fermentation goes into hibernation and we don’t want that!

Clarify with cold or whatever method you like to use. Siphon the cleared glögg without getting the bottom silt with you. Heat up and drink! The Swedish style is with almonds and raisins dropped into it.

20131116_222302w.jpg

A warning has to go out; if you drink as much as you like of it, the picture above will be a true representation of how you feel, and… see. So, it’s for grown ups to enjoy only. You’ll notice that when you sniff it for the first time and your false lashes pops right off of your face when meeting the warm, surprisingly alcoholic winds of your home made glögg.

Cheers!

How much eyeshadow do I really need?

eyw.jpg

I have a confession; I love makeup. Oh, so you knew already? Oh, it’s one of the most frequently used tags on my blog? Oh yeah, I did write a love letter to an eyeshadow palette not too long ago, right…

But hey, we all have our weaknesses, right? Within the whole makeup spectrum, for me, it’s eyeshadows. I love eyeshadows. Love them. And with that love, comes a certain longing for buying more of them, hoarding them, rolling around in… okay, maybe it’s not THAT bad. But the MOAR-tendencies are there.

It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I actually got into eyeshadows and makeup really, when my skin finally stopped being SO oily. Before that, I had a couple of them but usually just used an olive green or turquoise without accent colours and then eyeliner, and if it melted right off my face before I got home, it didn’t matter.

Since then, with the improvement of primers (that I’ve used since the 90’s because IsaDora, the Swedish brand, has had them since forever?) and my skin chilling out, my love for eyeshadows has increased in intensity along with my ability to play around with them and manage to do looks that actually last all day until I wash it off at night.

And with that, my collection increased with more colours, nuances, finishes, qualities. And while I sort of regularly cleared out all the other categories of makeup, the eyeshadows just kind of stayed put, being tucked away in “I’ll look at these later on”-palettes. Then having experimented lots for a few years, I have just settled on that I won’t use crazy colours but prefer the more muted nuances and I got overwhelmed with all the fricking shadows I had.

Decluttering

Apparently, I’m a crazy person that has deleted the pictures from my previous declutters, I did a real proper one like a year before the one I’m about to show you. This last one is from March this year, and just two weeks ago I took everything I was supposed to give away to my sister’s house and just HERE TAKE IT.

coll.jpg

After giving away two palettes right away, I started going over the ones I had left. 

IMG_20180301_141148w.jpg

Ahhh. So good! All the shades with glitter in them that I loathe, all the really colourful ones, dupes of ones that I love and really old ones that I just threw away, gone! 

What’s left?

I’m so happy with my collection now. I have a couple of unused shadows, the rest are tried and loved even though some are put to harder use than others.

It’s a lot less than I had before, but here we come to the actual point of this post:
These eyeshadows are gonna last me for YEARS. I know, I know, hygiene etc etc, but I’m gonna be one of those people who use my powder eyeshadows until they’re used up or start to turn. Before that, I’m neverminding how old they are unless they’re REALLY old (like the green one I had that I bought when I was 16, ahem). I've kept the ones that I’ve used a lot and gave away all the others, so my collection now is tried and true.

I usually put makeup on five or six times a week, and dip into eyeshadows every single one of those days, and here’s how my well-loved, well used eyeshadows look today;

IMG_3004w.jpg

I have bought these ones around two and four years ago, and I've been using them TO DEATH. Well, not to death, because you can see how much is still left inspite of my almost daily use.

IMG_3006w.jpg

This palette I bought two and a half years ago, and I've been using it SO much. Still, it's like "whatever" apart from the big shade to the right that I've actually hit pan on, but that's mostly because I dip the same spot every time..

IMG_3008w.jpg

And then my latest love, that I wrote enthusiastically about in March of this year when I bought it. This too is used again and again and almost isn't showing any signs of use.

The point of this post is remind myself of how I don't need to buy new shades. I have everything I want, even though I will surely fall into the "ooh pretty"-trap again. That's okay, but I will continue comparing my collection with the new lovers to stop myself from giving in. And maybe this post can demonstrate to the world how efficiently eyeshadows can wear. In two years time, I'll do a comparison. They'll probably look about the same, haha. 

Do you have any collecting tendencies and in that case, what can't you just give up?

Gefle Metal Festival 2018

IMG_20180713_232903_1w.jpg

Rolling out of bed Thursday morning, I wasn’t at all prepared for the summer that would ensue. Sure, it’s been summer in Sweden for like twelve weeks by now, which isn’t normal I might add, but when you enter an old gasometer for a music gig that revolves mainly around hell on earth, the sensation of actually BEING in hell was at least setting the mood.

When stepping through the entrance to the gasometer, it was like being covered by a blanket of a moist, dense condensation of human flesh and sunsweaty skin, with subtle hints of beer, camping and electronic equipment ready to malfunction at any second in the pressing heat.

The emergency exits stood open at all times, if anyone inside would decide that enough is enough and throw themselves out through the door to meet a slightly different kind of heat, with less hints of skin and more hints of dead grass, melting pavement and old mud tiles slowly wishing they could seize to exist in the setting sun. Fortunately, two stages were outside and merely one in the depths of hell inside.

IMG_20180713_201217w.jpg
IMG_20180714_200904_1w.jpg

Don't let the clouds excite you. They released like two drops of rain the entire weekend.

A few days before the festival started, we concluded that the amounts of alcohol consumed would go through the roof with the promised perfect hanging outdoors-weather and that it would turn into one so called Off Our Faces Metal Festival, metal optional if you manage to actually locate the stage where your favourite band plays. But! Instead, I experienced a pretty sober festival, with my theory being that the frying sun took the edge off the usual metalhead stamina, seeing as there was no actual place to hang out in the shade.

I mean, metalheads ARE my peeps, my peoples, but hell, they’re drunk on outings. Very drunk. And I would lie to you guys if I denied waking up Friday morning after the pre-party, experiencing a roller coaster when turning sides in my bed after a night heavily laden with tequila, beer, cider and hey, why not a little vodka to go with that? In my defense, I had only slept two hours the night between Wednesday and Thursday and instead of a nap on Thursday I got dragged out to the fringe parts of town and forced into a stream. Well, by forced I mean “I’m dying from heat exposure and that brown piece of water looks good to me even though it’s upriver from a beach that is too dirty to swim at”.

IMG_20180712_232219w.jpg

Ahem.

Anyways, on Thursday night this year, there was a warm up with the promised last gig of a cult classic band for my generation of metal- and non-metal fans, The Kristet Utseende. Their music is pretty much about genitals and a little bit about religion, drugs, alcohol and other racy subjects in a punk fashion. Yeah, I don’t get it either but whatever.

Then on Friday and Saturday the real festival commenced, lining up band after band of the metal persuasion. This year, I only had three bands I wanted to actually see, and then a couple of others that I could enjoy at a distance while feeding on onion rings or rolling around on the only little patch of dying grass that exists on the area of the festival.

IMG_20180714_193251w.jpg

I'm always in for a piece of At the Gates, one of the best bands out there! The thumping bass triggered my hangover though, so half the gig I watched from a distance. Hrm...

IMG_20180713_211912w.jpg

Angry Finns, yes! 

IMG_20180714_184634w.jpg

And then of course my peeps in Apocalypse Orchestra with their doomy doomyness and flagellant and everything (not in view)! 

IMG_20180714_235527w.jpg

All in all, it was a lovely festival with lots of people, new and old friends and acquaintances, lots of beer, lots of hangovers (2½ in three days) and lots of loud music and an unflinching torment from the ball of fire in the sky. It was really nice, is what I am trying to say! A couple of years ago it rained so much that I couldn’t even take out my phone to take a commemorative picture of the bands playing, fearing it would drown and die, so I prefer this kind of weather if I have to choose..

gmf18-off.jpg

After this entire post about the festival itself being only about weather, I should add that I do realize that there are a lot of places in the world that easily outheat themselves in comparison to Sweden, but sporting temperatures of around 31C/almost 90F for weeks isn’t normal. Us pleb citizens have no means to shelter ourselves at home with fancy stuff like AC. I mean, Swedes spend like 10½ months of every year trying our best to keep the damn heat IN, not OUT. And in my defense, even the tattooer visiting my boss, a native to India, questioned what the fuck is going on with the temperatures here. “I mean, I’m used to it but this doesn’t feel like 31 degrees at all! At least 35-36!”.

Gefle Metal Festival 2018, I almost can’t believe it’s already passed.

My sister's wedding

Last week, I made my ten hour way south to participate in my sister's wedding. They finally decided to get it done after twelve years together. It was an intense weekend and I brought one of my best friends for my plus one because I have a complicated love life, haha. The weather was lovely (you never know with the Swedish summer) and it was such a loving atmosphere. 

The ceremony took place in a castle ruin out in a lake, and then the festivities took place in my sister's and her now husband's garden, complete with a bar and personnel, and a very popular man professionally handling the BBQ. The polaroid camera was sent around and everyone wrote their well-wishes, speeches were held and food was happily eaten. All in all, a very nice experience!

IMG_20180630_104514w.jpg

Before the wedding we went sightseeing a little and crashed another wedding. Maybe you can't see it, but all the men in suits were staring at us when I took the picture.

kronobergw.jpg

Kronoberg's castle was the site for the wedding. Having been used and built on since at least the 14th century, it has been in ruin since the 17th century. And of course, like all old places in the southern half of Sweden, the Danish torched it at one time. 

IMG_20180630_150300w.jpg

The guests arrived, with the lovely little café in the background. 

IMG_20180630_182319w.jpg

Food and drink! 

IMG_20180630_200657w.jpg
IMG_20180630_205829w.jpg

Mingling in the setting sun.

IMG_20180630_202918_1w.jpg

We've always teased my sisters spouse because he's obsessive with the lawn, but dang, it's the most perfect patch of grass I've ever seen! 

IMG_20180630_232845w.jpg

Outdoors dancefloor with lights and a DJ! 

DSCN9238w.jpg

On the way home we stopped for a bit of air at another ruin, Brahehus, a 17th century dwelling wonderfully placed upon the cliff side, overlooking the lake Vättern. I dropped my phone and got my first dents ever in a mobile screen, but I guess it's fine because it was ON the ruin. If I'm gonna drop my phone on anything, it's a ruin, right? 

DSCN9267w.jpg

All this makes me want to move south because I just love this part of Sweden. 

Midsummer of 2018

midsw.jpg

So, I can with great joy proclaim my survival of Midsummer’s Eve in God’s year 2018!

I mean, one guy did almost die but that’s expected when shoving 16 people together in a house in the countryside, having brought twice as many bottles of schnapps than there are people. The weather was as usual too, aka surprisingly cold considering the days before and after Midsummer’s, as if just planning to dance around the pole manages to invoke the rain gods, leaving all the little frog hoppers jump through the drizzle in order to make their children happy with its traditional midsummeryness.

It was a joyful experience, banqueting on great food and schnapps, mingling and talking to old and new acquaintances about everything from the simple things to bigger questions in life well into the night.

IMG_20180623_013930w.jpg

The darkest that the early summer night gets in the center-ish of Sweden. Magic every year.

I’m so grateful to have made a bunch of new friends these last few years since I moved home, it’s such a silver lining in addition to all the things I have to be happy about.