Thursday, 29 March 2012

Let's make one of those

Despite the fact that the busiest month of the university year is coming up, plus the A - Z challenge is beginning in just three short days, I have decided to take on something else too. I have always been a fan of arts and crafts and have decided to have a go at making some small items, such as jewelry, hand-painted postcards and other little treasures. I'm not sure how it will work out but I thought I would ask any of you out there who can help me to point me in the direction of some tips on how to make jewelry. I've done this sort of thing before, but I'm unsure about things like where to find chains (also, instructions on how to connect fastenings to chains, whether I have to cut the chains myself, that sort of thing). Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 

Second of all, over on the A - Z page I read that blogger is issuing a new update. I upgraded to it today as I suspected it might be a little complicated. Do any of you have the new version? I would recommend getting it asap, so that it isn't a problem during the challenge. It looks sort of straight-forward, it just takes a little getting used to :)

Third of all, this blog is having a severe nordic-lack. So here is a picture of some Norwegian Kroner, so you can see what their funny hole-y money looks like! 

inspire nordic

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Sunshine Award // The Lucky 7 Meme

I am a lucky girl this week! I got back to Norway on Sunday afternoon, then travelled all the way from Oslo to Umeå (in Sweden) yesterday. It was a very long journey, I left my little flat at 6am and arrived at my boyfriend's flat at 11pm! At least I had a break in Stockholm for an hour so I could eat some yummy chicken nuggets :)

So now I'm sitting in bed, trying to will myself to get up and into the shower, but I thought I'd post a couple of things I was given last week. Once I've gotten these crazy days out of the way I will go back to normal posting. I'm super nervous about the A - Z challenge now, I'm feeling quite unprepared! Hopefully I will have some free mornings to sit down with some coffee and just write and write and write!

The Sunshine Award:

A great big shiny thank you to Jeremy at geeky tendencies for giving me this award. Go visit him right now! 

I must answer the following questions in order to accept the award: 

Favourite Colour: Pink. I'm a really girly girl. 

Favourite animal: I adore deer

(I can't find the website I got this from, but it's called "And Then There Were Three"and it's by Christie King. I'd love it if any of you had heard of her and could send me the link!)

Favourite number: 15 has always been my favourite, I didn't even notice until a few years ago that it's my date of birth, (1st May) either. I have synesthesia so my numbers all have colours, for that reason I also really love 9, since for me it's a pretty shade of pink :)

Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Strawberry milk or old-fashioned lemonade.

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. I really don't get Twitter. I don't understand who's talking to whom, what you're supposed to write or how it works. Everyone I know uses Facebook, so I just stay there :)

My passions are: Anything Nordic or that involves making people smile.

Getting or giving presents: Of course I like getting presents, but I absolutely love the feeling of handing someone a package and knowing that they will just love what's inside. I love wandering around the shops, piecing together the perfect gift for someone, wrapping it up prettily and seeing their face when they open it. 

Favourite pattern: I have no idea :(

Favourite day of the week: I like all the days. I'm not one of those who hates Mondays but I really dislike Sundays. I always leave things to the last minute so Sundays can be stressful! 

Favourite flower: Peonies. But I also love tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and daisies :)

The Lucky 7 Meme:

Thank you very much, Laura for tagging me with this. Go have a look at Laura's sweet blog, my baffling brain now :)

The rules are as follows:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS (Or a fave book)
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they're written.
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know.

I don't know what an MS is and one of the downsides of living abroad is that you can't carry your favourite books around (before you say it, I'm just too old-fashioned for a kindle!) But I had a look through my boyfriends bookshelf and for some lucky reason, he happens to have one of my books here, by one of my favourite authors! Oh, for some unlucky reason, page 77 happens to only have a few lines on it. I'm just going to post what is written on page 77 then, I hope you can forgive me for basically breaking all the rules here...

This is from A Winter Book by Tove Jansson:

I got into bed and pulled the bedclothes over my head and waited for the warmth to come back. It came. Slowly at first, but then little by little it reached down to my feet. But all the same I had been a coward, and all because of two inches. I could feel it in my tummy. Sometimes I think all strong feelings start in the tummy; for me they do, at any rate. 

For both of these things, I'm not going to tag anyone since I'm running out of time. But if you'd like either of them, just take them :) Consider yourselves all tagged! 

PS. I made a little badge, so if you are feeling Nordic Inspired, please feel free to take that one too :)

How are the A - Z preparations going for you? Do you feel nervous about it? I can't believe April came along so quickly, it's only a few days until the challenge begins! 

inspire nordic

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Happy weekend!

What do you have planned? I'm busy recovering from my younger sister's 18th birthday party, having some cozy sofa-time with my poorly little dog :)

Why don't you make a nice warm cup of tea and sit and look at some links with us!

Why don't you knit your own little kittycat!

I really love radishes. Look how pretty you can make them!

This is super smart

Anyone who can bring me some of these today is my hero

I'm flying back to Norway tomorrow morning and was appalled to learn that I have made the horrid error of taking an early morning flight on the day the clocks go forward! 

I know I've been slow at commenting but just you wait a few more hours and a load of comments will be coming your way!

 Have a snuggly weekend :)

inspire nordic

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Påskekrim // Easter-crime

In March 1923, there was a huge advertising campaign in Norway, in which the book 'Bergenstoget Plyndret i Natt' (by Jonatan Jerv) was launched. This lead to the new tradition of spending the Easter holidays reading crime novels, a distinctly Norwegian tradition that is still observed today.

 I once read that the Scandinavians produce so much crime literature because of their ''criminally low crime rate''. I largely find this to be true. Jo Nesbø, in particular, manages to dream up all kinds of horrific ways to murder his characters and I think you'd have had to have lived in a cave for the last few years to have not heard of Stig Larsson. 

Today I decided to make the most of being in England and raided the local for some new books - something that seems to be really expensive in Norway. I came home with a couple more of Jo Nesbø's books, Nemesis & The Devil's Star. I will be spending my Easter holidays sitting cozily by the fire, drinking hot chocolate and being scared out of my mind. But at least I might feel a little more Norwegian :)

Have you ever read any of his novels? What are you reading at the moment?

(pictures lovingly taken from here & here)

inspire nordic

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Happy Spring!

What are your favourite things about spring?

I love seeing the daffodils popping their little heads up all over the place...

...and the cute baby animals

I love the pretty pastel colours...

...and being able to wear pretty dresses without freezing :)

(Pictures lovingly taken from hereherehere & here)

inspire nordic

Home Again

When I first began my love affair with Scandinavia, I could never wait to get out of horrible, rainy, grey England and into the beautiful snowy, forested mountains of Sweden and Norway. However, after living abroad in Norway for the last 8 months, I find myself frequently longing to return to England.
There doesn't seem to be anything in particular that I miss, but there is nothing like arriving back to your own home, taking a hot shower in your own bathroom and spreading out in your own, warm, cozy bed.

As our plane flew through the bright sunshine, I watched the higgledy-piggledy patchwork fields stretching out beneath me and smiled at it’s familiarity. I love my little flat in Oslo, but I know that I’m going to spend this evening wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, sipping tea and laughing with my family. It’s funny how you never appreciate the tiny things until you have to miss them. And it’s funny how I have longed for England, when in a weeks time I will be longing for Norway.

I’m writing this from the (very rough and rocky) train that is travelling at highspeed through the English countryside. It’s pitch black outside so I can’t see anything, but I know when I get to my home I will be under a blanket of beautiful stars, since when you live in a small village, you are often blessed with clear skies.

What do you miss most about the place where you grew up? Would you ever consider moving to a different country? 

inspire nordic

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

So I read on ash-matic's blog that when you receive two pieces of news, one has to be good and one has to be bad and that you must categorize them accordingly. I received two pieces of news this evening, but they were not very difficult to categorize. 

The bad news was that my cute little 6 year old brother, Jack, fell during his skiing holiday yesterday and broke his wrist in two places. However, that turned out to be quite good news for him, since when I called my sister she told me he was quite delirious from the excitement of having a plaster cast! So I guess that news is half and half! 

The lovely news was that I won another award! A great big, shiny thank you to the wonderful armchair squid for nominating me! Please go and visit him right now! (I sneakily took a different 'badge' for the award, he has another, go have a look!)

Here are some instructions:
1. Nominate 15 others for the award and inform them with a comment on each of their blogs.

2. Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award.

3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.

4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.

5. In the same post, include this set of rules.

7 Random Things About Me:

1. I blush really easily. This is quite a large concern of mine right now, since I know that I'm going to have two horribly pink, rosy cheeks as I give my presentation on Monday and as we speak I am silently contemplating how much make-up/paint/paper bags it would take to sufficiently cover my silly cheeks.

2. I love animals but most animals hate me because the moment I see anything furry, I have to pick it up and snuggle it. Our fluffy little kitty, Olga, hides from me whenever I'm home because I frequently bother her and tell her that I will make a scarf out of her someday...

3. I might have mentioned this before, but I am absolutely terrified of wolves. To ease my fear when I arrived here in Norway, I decided to research them a little, since someone once told me that what frightens you is the unknown, so I figured that if I made the unknown known, I wouldn't be frightened any longer. How very wrong I was! I read all about how wolves howl in order to summon the rest of the pack to them and bravely played a couple of sound files. Proud with my efforts, I relaxed into my chair, only to hear a bird loudly chirp outside moments later. I jumped right out of my skin, screamed/squealed/cried and ran for the door. This was it! I'd summoned the wolves with my sound files! It was horrific, to say the very least.

4. I sneeze whenever I go out in the sunshine. I'm pretty sure it's some kind of super power that I just haven't figured out yet.

5. I have invented my own card game. It's called ''Going Out with Nikki" and is a combination of Rummy, Old Maid, Snap, Cheat & other favourites. Rules include having to tell a joke when the joker is played and having to politely apologise to your fellow players if you call 'cheat' and nobody cheated.

6. Speaking of card games, I am really good at Snap. Like really good. It's some kind of not-so-hidden, actually-I-make-it-very-well-known-to-everyone-I-meet talent that I have. I lose at every other game known to mankind so I am very proud of this fact.

7. I never imagined that this blog could possibly get more than 20 followers, let alone more than 50, nor that I would be given two awards and in the process get to ''meet'' so many kind and interesting people! Thank you all so much!

My lucky nominees:
Lisa has a lovely blog, which I linked to earlier today (see below)
How could I not nominate Jeremy, when he has such an interesting blog and when he made a post especially for me yesterday!
Go and look at the beautiful videos Mark posted yesterday!
My good friend Laura turned 22 on Tuesday, so this can be my gift to her :) 
Sabrina always writes such interesting things :)
Amber has a dinosaur cursor. Enough said. 
I love the way Dana writes 100 word posts each day.
Anita has such a pretty blog. Go and have a look at all of the beautiful pictures she posted today! 
I have just discovered Dahye's blog but she definitely deserves an award for it!
Please go and congratulate Amy, it was her blogiversary yesterday!
Jenn's blog makes me smile :) 
Melee has a great music blog. 
I'm new to Shawnee's blog but she posts some lovely photos!
Bel just signed up for the A - Z challenge, so go and give her some support!
And last but not least, my dear friend Debra really deserves to win all kinds of awards for her lovely blog!

inspire nordic

Have a productive weekend!

Is the weather as horrid where you are as it is where I am? Luckily, I'm stuck inside studying hard for a presentation I'm giving on Monday. I'm super nervous since it will be my first ever presentation given solely in Norwegian! Before I begin my weekend of hard work, lets sit together with some coffee and have a look at some fun things from around the web :)

Yesterday I found Lisa's wonderful blog, please go and have a look at her beautiful spring pictures, I promise they will brighten your day!

This beautiful castle was the inspiration for the castle from Sleeping Beauty, wouldn't it be the perfect place to spend a snuggly weekend?

What a pretty book club 'party'

Lots and lots of beautiful plaits to try :)

Laura posted this clever advert a few days ago

Unleash your inner astronaut

Please go and visit Jeremy at geekytendencies, he has been talking about candy this week, too!

Shall we spend the weekend cozying inside these hilarious Icelandic snuggies?

What do you have planned, my dearies?

Something along the lines of this, I do hope :)

inspire nordic

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Candy Castle

Would you like to know a secret? 

Deep in the heart of the Norwegian forest, ok, in the borough of Grünerløkka, lies the magical 'Godterislottet'. The candy castle. In my head, that mystical place resembled something along the lines of this:

Sadly, it actually looks like this:

Which is still pretty ok, since as long as it is filled with candy, I'm not really fussed... 

...and that place really is filled with candy...

...all the colours of the rainbow!

I was in heaven! You really must visit it if you ever get the chance :)

inspire nordic

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Pretty crockery, Space & the Northern Lights

Have you heard of the Danish shop Falby? You can find it here. Today I walked to university, in the sunshine, to meet the lady who is helping me not to be sad anymore. After my meeting I went to the little book shop on campus. They sell a lot of stationary and books and things, but also a lot of pretty things for the home. I bought this little cup to drink my coffee from during my long afternoons of writing to you all. It's nice to have pretty things :) 

We have been lucky to have some sunny days, after all of the snow that fell last week. The sky is also wonderfully clear, which means cozy nights of taking my lemony-tea to the little woodland area behind my flat and searching for planets and constellations.

 Joe Richardson (visit him here) wrote a lovely comment yesterday, asking me whether I had seen the Northern Lights before. The answer is yes, sort of. At the moment there has been some special 'solar events' which means that we have a higher chance of seeing the Northern Lights. (You can actually check the Aurora forecast here, if you like). 

Whenever we hear about there being higher auroral activity, we get so excited! We take some warm drinks, our big cozy jackets and trek out in the snow in search of a dark, sheltered place, away from any source of light pollution, in order to have the best chances of seeing them. I have only seen them once since I've been here, since Oslo is a bit too far south. Since they are low on the horizon here, they can be difficult to spot. Last November we heard that the activity was high so we went and found a little dark area behind our flat and crouched down behind a fence (to block out the street-lights). After gazing into the sky for a few moments, we noticed a thick streak of feint green lining the horizon and watched as it slowly brightened and darkened, almost as if the sky was breathing. Despite it being pale and feint, it was still very beautiful. One of my ultimate dreams is to go and watch the Northern Lights from further north in Scandinavia. I would like to see the pink ones! 

Have any of you ever seen the Northern Lights? Were they as beautiful as you had imagined? 

(pictures lovingly taken from hereherehere & here)

inspire nordic

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A - Z challenge, come on everybody, sign up!

I have just read that the A - Z April Challenge has reached 1000 participants, in fact, it is currently at 1019! That's so great. Now I'm going to try to persuade those of you who have not already signed up, to go ahead and do so with my own A - Z of why you should take part this year:

After signing up for the challenge last month, I was given an award for "best kept secret" blogs who have less than 200 followers. There are so many little awards out there to win and with more followers comes more opportunities to enter these little competitions or be awarded with these things. 

When you sign up for the challenge, you can pick from a range of cute badges. Come on. Who doesn't love having Mickey Mouse on the side of their page? 

We are part of an online community, as very nicely discussed by Leslie (go visit her now!). The challenge gives us the opportunity to be daring, to try something new and exciting. Since I began the challenge I have gained many more followers and have found many new, interesting blogs to follow myself. Some of these blogs that I have found give wonderful advice to writers, offer help and generally give great inspiration. So just give it a try, at the very least, I know you are going to enjoy it! 

If you keep working on this project for a month, you could end up with a really nice writing routine. Other blogs in the blog list provide plenty of laughter, motivation and of course, visiting these blogs help you to meet new people and allow you to observe what others are doing and thinking. I have really learnt a lot over the last month. 

Practice makes perfect and ... q ... q q q ... you could become a blogging queen! (I know, q is a hard one, alright?) So go and have a read through some of those blogs. Everyone there will help to support you throughout the challenge. You might even get to take part in some of these tag games that have been going around. This is a really unique blogging opportunity that will give you valuable writing experience and the chance to work really hard on something and benefit from the rewards. Extra information can be found here, yes I know I cheated on some of these, zzz I'm out. 

Go there, now. Please :) 

Cozy days

I'm sorry that I have been away for so long. I was in England for a week, visiting my family and then I flew back to Oslo with my best friend who stayed for almost a week. 

We had such a lovely time together. She helped me remember all of the things I liked about this place, since I had grown tired of being here for so long. We spent long evenings chatting together and drinking wine, cooking nice food and playing cards. 

On the first day we went to Sognsvann, a beautiful lake about 20 minutes walk away from my flat. It had snowed heavily the day before, so it was particularly stunning that day. 

The second day was by far my favourite. After my class we wandered into town and met Bryony's parents who had happened to be in Oslo for a conference. They took us to this lovely cafe for lunch and coffee and when we said goodbye they gave me these beautiful flowers that are currently sitting on my windowsill and making my room smell gorgeous. 

It was so lovely to have Bryony staying here with me and she made me feel a thousand times better! Thank you my beautiful twin :)

inspire nordic

Saturday, 10 March 2012

11 Things

Sorry it has taken me so long to update. My friend is staying in Oslo with me at the moment and we have been very busy exploring the city and searching for the northern lights!

I have been tagged again, this time by Sabrina, so here are my questions and answers:

There are five rules:
1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things about you.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you've tagged them

A photo of me:

11 Random Things About Me: 

1. I hate absolutely everything about and to do with omlettes. If someone cooks one, it deeply bothers me and the thought of putting some of that rubbery freakshow in my mouth horribly disturbs me. 
2. I love a man in historical clothing.
3. I both like and wear flowery everything. 
4. I drink my earl grey tea black, with no sugar because the lady from the film Contact does and I want to be like her.
5. I'm cold all the time, so even when I'm wearing pretty clothes and look nice, I ruin it with giant cardigans and light blue skin. 
6. I'm super clumsy.  
7. There is nothing I like more than to open my mailbox in the morning and find a handwritten letter. 
8. I kind of seem like the type of person who would love Harry Potter and knitting, but I just don't. 
9. I twirl my hair and it's a really bad habit.  
10. I love to make cupcakes and old-fashioned lemonade, especially when I get to make them for other people. 
11. I really enjoy playing card games and wish people would play with me more often. 

Sabrina's questions

1. What's a quirk of yours? 
My best friend told me that this is a quirk of mine: The fact that I wear little sandwich bags over my feet, inside my boots in order to keep my feet dry, since they have holes in them but I don't want to replace them! 

2. If you had to pick, what would you choose: Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings - and why? 
Lord of the Rings, absolutely. I don't think I need to go into how obsessed with it I am. I voluntarily spent New Year watching it, instead of going out like normal people do. 

3. What do you like most about blogging? 
I really like meeting new people and have made some wonderful friends here already. Since I have a lot of free time at the moment, it keeps me busy and gives me something new and fun to read each day!

4. What inspires you?
Being in Scandinavia inspires me. The beautiful nature, the friendly people and the lovely culture all leave me feeling inspired.  

5. What are your dreams?
To visit Iceland, to become a writer and to be as good a mother to my (future) children as mine has been to me. 

6. Have you ever fallen in love, and if so, how was it the first time?
It is both lovely and horrific, respectively, at the same time and in fairly equal measures.

7. What's your favourite fashion item in your wardrobe? 
I'm not really a fashion person, but I bought a pretty little dress today with cute little flowers on, which will be lovely for spring :)

8. What is your general opinion on Facebook?
I waste so much time there. I really like it but I think it's bad for relationships. It feeds suspicion and jealousy and I think it's probably responsible for a lot of arguments and problems.  

9. What is your favourite season and why? 
I like all of the seasons but Spring is definitely my favourite. I love it when the sun starts to come out again and you can see pretty flowers growing everywhere. I live in the countryside so the fields are always full of baby lambs and gorgeous bluebells!

10. What is your favourite food? 
I could live off of dolly mixture.

11. Do you collect anything, and if so, what do you collect?
I don't really collect anything in particular. Something I really like is finding things that I know other people will like. I collect pictures and videos and websites (and often store them here) so that I have them ready to cheer up my friends, help out with creative ideas or just make someone smile. 

My questions for you:

1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
2. Which country do you want to visit the most? 
3. If you could pick any job, no boundaries or limitations, magical or otherwise, what would you pick? 
4. What superpower would you like to have?
5. Do you believe in love at first sight?
6. Do you have pets?
7. What is your favourite book and/or author? 
8. What do you fear most?
9. Tell me something that you are really proud that you achieved. 
10. What is the best advice you have been given?
11. Are you doing the A - Z blogging challenge and are you as excited about it as I am? 

I am tagging any of you who want to answer these questions and take part. Just copy and paste to your blog :)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday Recipe: White Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

I came across this recipe on Pinterest this morning and had to share it with you. I've edited it quite a bit, changed the measurements a little, so that they are more logical and replaced the frosting for a raspberry buttercream frosting. I'll post both the links for the original recipes at the bottom, but I hope you enjoy my version!


For the cakes:
1 3/4 cups plain flour
2tsp baking powder
150ml whole milk
1 - 2 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites (room temperature)
6tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
50ml sour cream
12 white chocolate truffles - I recommend Lindt ones.
 (I also recommend having around 15 truffles, so that there are spares to eat while you wait :)

For the topping:
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
12 ounces of frozen raspberries
1/2tsp fresh lemon juice
4 cups icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line your cupcake tray. 
2. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 
3. Take another bowl and beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, before adding the sour cream and beating until smooth. Then add the dry ingredients, bit by bit, alternating with the milk mixture.
4. Whisk in 1/3 of the egg whites, then gently fold in the rest. 
5. Now it's time to spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases. I find using a ladle works best. Bake the cupcakes for 17 - 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean. 
6. Immediately after removing the cakes from the oven, carefully scoop out the top of the cupcake, making a hole about 2/3 deep. Press a truffle into the centre of each of the cupcakes, then put the lid back on top. This will keep the heat in and allow the truffle to melt. 
7. Remove the cupcakes from the tray and leave to cool for around 30 minutes. 

For the topping:
1. Cook the raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously until they break down into a sauce. Then pour the sauce through a strainer (I usually use a regular sieve), then return the seedless sauce to the pot and simmer until it reduces to a 1/4 cup of very concentrated raspberry sauce. Set aside to cool. 
2. When the raspberry sauce is room temperature, cream the butter before adding about 2 cups of sugar, the raspberry sauce and lemon juice. Mix until smooth before adding the rest of the sugar. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little room temperature milk. 
3. Take the little 'lids' off of the cupcakes and cut them in half. Carefully spread or pipe the icing over each of the cakes before placing the 'lids' back on top, inverted and upside down (for butterflies!). 
4. Decorate with white chocolate curls or chocolate buttons. 

I know that these aren't very Nordic. So make sure you eat them with some freshly-made coffee, take a hike in the forest to collect the raspberries yourself and make lots of Swedish Chef noises while you mix the ingredients! 

(recipes and pictures lovingly taken from here and here)

inspire nordic