Friday, 13 December 2013

St. Lucia

Today is St. Lucia day in Sweden. You can see a short video of the celebrations below:

Girls in white gowns carry candles sing beautiful songs and walk slowly down the isle of the church, a procession headed by a girl wearing a crown of candles. I saw my first St. Lucia celebration in my first year of university, when my department put on a mini version in London. Now it makes me feel ever-so christmassy, and with just 12 days to go, it marks the perfect start to a christmas count-down. 

The day is in celebration of Saint Lucy, or Santa Lucia. Saint days are not very common in Scandinavia and I think that might be why this one is so special. St Lucia day has links to pagan beliefs and as you can imagine, in the cold mid-winter of the Nordic region, a celebration of lights would have been very important. 

What do you think? Is this an important day where you are? We don't celebrate anything in England on this day, but I really like watching the Swedish celebrations. You can find a lot more videos by searching 'st. lucia sweden' on youtube. Some of the singers are really stunning! 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

NaNoWriMo Update

Oh hi, let me just crawl out of my NaNo cave for a bit and let you know I'm still alive. 

I literally cannot fathom how you people do this. I know that some of you are hardcore-every-single-year NaNo writers and I am very impressed now that I'm experiencing all of this for myself. 

How is your writing going? Are you meeting your deadlines? 

I'm behind on the word count, but I think I've got it under control. I was wondering today how you guys like to structure your writing. This doesn't necessarily only apply to NaNoWriMo, but any kind of writing really. I assumed I would write in order, from start to finish. It seemed so logical, given the time restraint and the daily word targets. I even had Björn use his newly acquired programming skills to program a little calendar for me with the daily word count, so that I could write it all in one document and not have to do the maths. How naive I was! 

Instead I've been writing in a kind of strange, illogical manner. You see, the story I'm writing has been in my mind for the longest time. I dream about it and I think about it and I imagine my characters and I work out all the little details when I'm in yoga class or wandering about outside. So I've been finding pictures that resemble the story in my head and writing mini stories based on those, that I plan to eventually knit together into a more coherent narrative. It's very much like the writing prompts I used to post here. (Would you like to see more of those, by the way? I have lots of images stored up and ready to have the crap written out of ;) 

How do you guys like to write? Are you strict with yourself when it comes to order and coherence, or do you just let it all flow out of your mind as it materialises? 

Good luck to you, we're nearly halfway there! 

Friday, 8 November 2013

I'll eat you up, I love you so

I'm sure you all know by now about my guilty pleasure of Where the Wild Things Are and everything to do with it, so I was very excited when I stumbled across these amazing book covers based on beloved children's books:

We often say "don't judge a book by it's cover", but be honest with me, how many of you truly adhere to that advice when it comes to the literal reading of a book? Certainly not me, I'm so in love with the illustrated covers of books, especially those of children's books. I'm quite sure you'll agree, then, that these are very special prints. 

They'd make very sweet pictures for a nursery wall, children's bedroom, particularly when hung above your child's bookcase. I remember once looking after a little girl named Sophie who had a bookcase that towered above her bed. On it was every single children's book you could possibly even dream of. I used to spend hours pouring over them with her sitting in my lap, helping her learn to read. One of my happiest memories is of her reading me Green Eggs and Ham (a personal favourite of ours) after I'd been away from her for a little while, leaving her to learn to read fluently and with the most beautiful expression. 

Which of these prints do you like best? Can you spot the Swedish book amongst the titles? 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Another Give Away!

This week, a facebook page I've been collaborating on has been hosting a give away, featuring one of my necklaces. The give away ends tomorrow evening, so there is still time to enter if you'd like the chance to win a pretty handmade necklace! 

I will be giving away a Nordic themed necklace on this blog very soon, so watch out for that! 

Here's the link for my current give away. As always, you may enter on behalf of a friend if you'd like to gift the necklace to someone. I'll be emailing the winner tomorrow, so we can discuss any arrangements, special messages etc :)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

And we're back!

I am so happy right now! It was so lovely to open up my blog just now and see the lovely comments from the bloggers I have missed! 

I have lots and lots to tell you but for now I will tell you this:

I am doing NaNoWriMo this November and I'm petrified! My username is 'little nordic cabin' so come and say hello if you're taking part too! 

Can't wait to come back to you all with lots of cosy Nordic stories ★

If you see this in your list...

...please tell me! 

I might have fixed it! Please just leave a comment, letting me know I'm appearing again!

Tumblr + Why is my blog still broken :'(

Hej Hej, 

I'm trying my best to get this blog back up and running but I just don't understand the problem. I don't know why I don't appear in anyones dashboard and I don't know how to fix it. I'm going to email and post in forums and beg for help, so fingers crossed this blog will make a comeback. 

I've just set up a tumblr for this blog, so those of you who use tumblr can now find me at, where I'll be posting pictures and all kinds of Nordic things I find around the web. 

Please do a ritual dance for the blog-gods to make my blog work again! 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Oh Land and Updates

Hey everyone! 

It's been ever such a long time again, hasn't it? How have you all been? What have you been doing? I miss your updates! 

I have been a very busy bee, working with my new project, The International Feminist Book Club as well as becoming an admin on the group Females of the World, an online collection of art, photography and writing from around the world, contributed to us by our followers. We're hosting our first giveaway over there shortly, so if this group sounds interesting to you, pop along and see what we're all about!

Oh Land, a Danish singer whom I love, has just released her new album, Wishbone. She sings in English and you can see her singing and dancing here:

I'm planning to return here soon with lots of new posts. I'll be starting up my Sunday Writing Prompts again, as well as lots of Nordic loveliness including recipes, music, literature and more! 

Love to you all, 

Nikki x

Monday, 9 September 2013

Memories of Oslo

Arriving in Oslo only 2 weeks after the tragedy that occurred on Utøya, we often sought comfort and reassurance in the beautiful landscape. Following the terrorist attack was a harsh and dark winter. Finding beauty in the wake of devastation is challenging, but Oslo has so much to offer: glittering snow in the few hours of sunlight each day, islands that transport you to a fantasy world, and breath-taking views of the fjords and the ocean are among the many treasures that surround Oslo and its inhabitants. The strength of the Norwegian people is even more inspiring than the landscape, and the combination of beauty and strength within the country grew more and more striking with each passing season.

Calling all aspiring writers!

I'm currently working with a group called Females of the World. We're looking for writers who are interested in submitting a short piece of writing to use in our online projects. It can be anything from a poem to a short story to a journalistic article. We'd love to hear from you! This is a great opportunity to brave a growing audience with a piece of your work! Any experience is good experience, right? :)


Thursday, 11 July 2013

My Little Swedish Adventure: Part 3

What a fiasco! I actually got here yesterday afternoon but have been occupied by the fact that my airline left my bag in London!

So I am at Björn's house, bagless, and waiting for the phone to ring so I can get it delivered to me. Fingers crossed it's at least in Sweden now!

So it will be phone-blogging until then, since I packed my laptop charger amongst everything else useful in my infinite wisdom ;)

My Little Swedish Adventure: Part 2

Let us begin with a tip. Do not think you can wing not charging your phone before a long journey. Such things cannot be, um, wung.

It's 5am and I'm sitting in a little cafe in Gatwick, finally charging my phone and filling up with a delicious breakfast. I've slept maybe 2 hours in total, sharing a bench with a snoring Spaniard. Happily I made friends with a Norwegian lady and got to practice my Norwegian!

Now it's time to wait for my plane. And perhaps a teeny bit more shopping!

Oh! Last night we drove along a beautiful harbour which was sparkling in the most perfect sunset. I'll see if i can upload pictures here :)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

My Little Swedish Adventure: Part 1

Can you believe how hot our little country is, fellow Brits?

Part 1 of my overnight journey to Sweden sees me melting on the coach as we crawl down the motorway.

Three things are making me smile:

1. My business cards arrived, just in the nick (the nikki) of time!

2. It's a beautiful, sunny evening,

3. The bus driver has cranked up the air-con: a gesture I could, quite frankly, kiss him for!

How are you all this evening, my sweaty darlings? I'm blogging from my phone so apologies for the format. Also, it seems i'm not appearing in your feeds again, so am possibly talking to myself. Sad face.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer Days

Good evening my dears, how was your Monday? I hope you didn't all have to crawl back into yucky warm offices today when it was so beautiful and sunny outside! 

England was very hot and sunny this weekend. I was home alone for much of it and spent many hours out in the sunshine, eating little treats and reading What Katy Did. Don't you just love quaint, oldish literature? 

Just perfect. 

Tomorrow night I'm going to the airport. I fly to Sweden early on Wednesday morning so I have to have a little sleepover there until I can check in at 4am. It's terribly exciting to spend the night with happy people waiting for their holidays. I hope I will be able to update you on my little adventure as I did before! I most certainly will be blogging from Sweden! 

Have a wonderful week everybody! If you're not gobbling up some nice, cool ice cream then go get some right now! 

the little nordic cabin

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Tea Party for One

Having recently moved out of a shared flat, I'm really enjoying some time on my own. Sometimes it's nice to take a book out into the sunshine and enjoy some peace and quiet. Reading is good for the soul, after all, and it's so important to treat ourselves once in a while. 

Why not find yourself a beautiful place to take a peaceful walk? I love walking in the woods and through fields of wild flowers. 

Time to settle down with some treats! It doesn't get more British than tea and fruitcake! Can you hear the birds chirping? Does the grass feel funny, tickling your toes?

Watch out for these sneaky ones! They like to steal bits of cake when you're not looking!

Do you enjoy spending time on your own? Have you picked your summer reads? I'm currently reading The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George. I highly recommend it if you enjoy historic novels.

the little nordic cabin


help yourself to my pics, just be sure to link back to me :)

Monday, 1 July 2013

A Perfect Weekend

Clockwise from top-left:

1. My baby brother blowing out his candles on his 8th birthday last Friday. Doesn't time fly! I remember holding him moments after he was born and kissing his tiny, wrinkled face!

2. The beautiful sky that I spied out of the window of my coach to London. 

3. Drinks with friends at the Fullham Wine Rooms.

4. The wine came from these vending machines. You put a prepaid card and selected your wine. Neat, right?

1. Celebrating my results and my best friend's birthday with healthy snacks and champagne!

2. Bryony and I. 

3. A wonderful evening wine-tasting and chatting. 

4. Zara-sale! I love these bright trousers and of course, how could I resist a snuggly jumper?!

One final picture...

Smile! It was Bryony's birthday. We've been friends since we were 15 and she was one of the lovely girls who helped me through my difficult times. It was so lovely to spend the weekend with her, especially now that I've been feeling brighter ♥ She's an angel! Thank you and happy birthday, beautiful ☆

How was your weekend, my dears? Did you do anything special? HAPPY CANADA DAY to my Canadian readers and to all of you, have a wonderful week ahead!

the little nordic cabin 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Coming soon...

I'm on my way. I'll be back here shortly with a whole load of new posts for you guys. I'm so sorry for my absence, I'm going to follow the advice from the Cosmopolitan event I went to (see post below) and try to be open and honest with you about why I've been so flakey with my blog recently. I hope you will understand. 

I hope I can still find all my wonderful friends here. In the meantime, does anyone have any advice on dealing with spam comments? It seems 'anonymous' has been a very busy bee posting all kinds of rubbish all over my blog! 

Miss you so much, my dear readers ♡ 

the little nordic cabin

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Blogging Tips from the Cosmopolitan Superblogger Masterclass

Two nights ago I attended this amazing event. I had never met any bloggers in real life before, so it was wonderful to meet like-minded people! Since I've been away from social media for a little while, I wasn't sure if any of you guys were going but I kept my beady eye out anyway! Let me know if you were there, it would be fun to know that we were under the same roof! 

The event began with a glass of champagne and general chatter with lots of friendly people. I soon learnt that business cards are a must for these kinds of gatherings, I felt very unprepared in comparison to some ladies. I ended up making my own business cards, not quite as professional looking as some peoples'! 

After chatting with the other guests for a little while, we found our seats (and amazing goodie-bags!) and sat down ready to hear all about the world of blogging from an amazing panel of inspiring people! 

Louise Court, Cosmopolitan's Editor, chaired the evening, asking questions to the panel. In my opinion, the most helpful and informative part of the evening was when she asked each of the panelists to give one 'do' and one 'don't' when it comes to writing a blog. These do's and don'ts are particularly helpful for those that would like to turn their blogs into a business. Here is what these incredible people had to say:

Dominic Smales, founder of Gleam Digital advised us to be tenatious and to not give up, something that spoke straight to my heart after my recent absence. I've been rather nervous about coming back to blogging, so he really inspired me to keep going. 

Vicki Fogwill, social-media manager for Next said do think about the brands that you can work with. Picking them specifically to suit the angle of your blog means that you will have much more to offer and, of course, more to gain. However, don't send bland emails just asking for work. It's essential to know the brands that you want to work with, that you have something that you can write about in terms of products. Sending out emails to any company you can think of won't help you in the long run. 

Andreas Pouros who is the COO of Greenlight Digital couldn't stress enough the importance of honesty. He reiterated this later, when I (very bravely - I'm terrified of talking in front of people!) asked how to go about regaining the trust of my dear readers, after abandoning you all for so long! He told me that honesty is the best policy, to open up to you guys and let you know why I've been away. I'm planning a post for this in the near future. Actually, it's quite a difficult topic for me to write about, but I'd like to be honest with you and let you know why I have such a tendency to write so sporadically at times! As for his 'don't', don't assume that people are interested in what you write. If you want to gain a wider readership then it's useful to use the Google key-word search. Think about three things you'd like to write about, then check the stats using a key-word search and see which of the three has been most searched over the past month. This will boost your 'search-factor' and increase your traffic, whilst helping you to find readers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. 

Kat Williams from advised us to value our worth, both commercially and emotionally. She told us not to be afraid of thinking with a business brain. She said that Brits are often shy when it comes to discussing money, something that I believe to be very true. Kat told us that it's ok to think business and that we shouldn't be shy of talking about money. 

Emily Johnston, founder of explained the importance of social media. She said do use social media as far as possible to put yourself on the radar and organically gain more readers. She told us that social media is very good if you want to work with brands and that if you write a post about a product or a company, you should tag them in it as they do very often check these posts out. Another excellent 'don't' for me was don't get frustrated. Blogging is not always a quick process so stick with it, you just have to keep going. This is so true in my case because I get so discouraged when I go through a period of having low readership, despite working hard on my posts. However, these things happen. We mustn't give up. 

Finally, two bonus pieces of advice: Don't misbehave on twitter! Nobody likes a ranter, a complainer or a creator of twitter storms! Secondly, try not to just sit at your computer, churning out post after post. This is the fastest route to writer's block. Instead, go outside, get some air, find inspiration and look for your stories. Keep a fresh and open mind and let the creativity come to you! 

I hope you found this helpful my dears, I definitely learnt a lot from the evening and met some very lovely people who I hope to keep in contact with. I'm off to delve through my goodie-bag, you know how I love a freebie ;)

the little nordic cabin


PS: Don't forget to enter my giveaway!! I'm giving away some beautiful little handmade hair-clips. The giveaway ends on the 21st May and a winner will be picked at random :)

Friday, 19 April 2013

I haven't quit!

Please bear with me*, I am in the middle of my final weeks of my final year of university and my days are consisting of waking, showering, studying in the library and sleeping. I just can't fit blogging in at the moment. However, expect a bumper post of all the missing letters to come soon, I'm determined to finish, even if it might not be by the end of April! 

Yesterday I was so sleepy that I fell asleep in my chair at the library. If that wasn't embarrassing enough, I then had one of those falling dreams and jerked awake with a yelp! 

Maybe it's a punishment from the blogging gods for being too slow with my posts >.<

*"Bear with me" - get it?! Cause my boyfriend's name is 'Björn' which is Swedish for 'bear' so I always have a bear with me. Yeaaah!

the little nordic cabin

Monday, 15 April 2013

L is for Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue) is a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen.

The original tale of the Little Mermaid is rather different to Disney's adaptation. Rather than becoming human to get the prince to love her, the Little Mermaid desires a human soul. This is because mermaids live for 300 years but turn into sea foam when they die. Humans live for a much shorter time, but they get to go to heaven when they die. 

The story differs vastly from Disney's and is really quite dark. Instead of giving up her voice, the Sea Witch cuts out the Little Mermaid's tongue. And when she gets her human legs it is extremely painful for her to walk on them. She does have to get true loves kiss, but this is because it's the only way to obtain a human soul. However, the prince is already in love with a temple girl and they get married. The Little Mermaid is heartbroken and turns to her sisters who tell her that to become a mermaid once again she must stab the prince and let his blood drip onto her feet. Her sisters had exchanged their hair for a knife from the Witch. The Little Mermaid cannot bring herself to murder the prince, and instead throws herself overboard and turns into foam. But suddenly she feels herself being lifted and discovers she has become a 'daughter of the air'. She is told that she has been rewarded for her efforts and that if she does good deeds she will eventually gain access to heaven. 

The Little Mermaid has her own statue in the sea in Copenhagen. I'd love so much to visit her one day.

Have a beautiful Monday and a wonderful week ahead, everyone!

the little nordic cabin

Saturday, 13 April 2013

K is for Karlsson på Taket

Karlsson på Taket (Karlsson on the roof) is a book by Astrid Lindgren.

Karlsson is a mischievous little man who often visits Lillebror (a kid called little brother) and gets him into trouble. He lives in the apartment block and everything seems completely ordinary. But Karlsson has this little button on his belly and when he pushes it a little propellor appears on his back, allowing him to fly around. 

Here is a little clip from the animated series:

I think it's really cute. I like the way it's animated too :) Had you heard of this story? It's one of Lindgren's more well known stories but I've never actually read it. 

the little nordic cabin

Friday, 12 April 2013

J is for Jomfruen på glassberget

Jomfruen på glassberget is a Norwegian fairytale. It's title in English is The Princess on the Glass Hill. It was one of the many fairytales collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe and is the story of a princess who is rescued by a man riding a magical horse. 

The rescuer was the youngest of three sons, often teased for sitting around poking the ashes. (Oh hey, remember Askeladden? I told you he pops up everywhere!) One day he hears a horse whinnying and he manages to tame it. With the horse is a brass suit of armour. He doesn't tell anyone about the horse and the next year a suit of silver armour appears. He still doesn't tell anybody and finally on the third year a suit of golden armour appears. 

Meanwhile, a king had set his daughter high up on a glass hill and given her three apples to hold. It was said that the only person allowed to marry her would be the one who managed to reach the top of the hill and take the apples from her. All of the other princes and knights had failed to reach her, but one night a knight rode 1/3 of the way up the hill and the princess threw him an apple. He rode off immediately, taking the apple with him. The next day a silver-clad rider appears and manages to get 2/3 of the way up the hill. The same thing happens, he is thrown and apple before riding off. On the third day a rider appears, wearing golden armour, and rides all the way to the top where the princess gives him the final apple. He then rides away. (I know, men...)

The king then calls a meeting to find the man that has won his daughter. Our hero shows up but his brothers say that he was at home the whole time, poking about, doing his Askeladden business, etc. But luckily he remembered to bring the apples with him and then they all live happily ever after. 

You might have noticed that this isn't my favourite fairy tale. It feels a bit like someone has sat down and thought, ok there needs to be 'three' of stuff, three apples, three brothers, ok that'll do. Now we need something impossible - a glass hill? Perfect! Now lets throw in some random details that don't add anything to the plot of the story. Oh and someone call that Askeladden and get him to show up, he's always good for a laugh! No, but really, it's a nice example of a traditional Norwegian fairytale. I'm just bitter because, as everyone knows, J is a dark horse when it comes to impossible letters of the alphabet :)

the little nordic cabin

Thursday, 11 April 2013

I is for Ice-Maiden

Finally it's time to introduce you to a Danish character! The Ice-Maiden is a story by Hans Christian Andersen, which, I believe was written fairly late in his life. 

It's quite a morbid tale, which is normal for this author. Tales like the Little Mermaid and Thumbellina are not as sweet and mild as the later versions that we read as children. The original versions tend to be rather sinister. The Ice-Maiden is no exception to this, it is the tale of a young boy whose mother falls into an icy ravine and dies. She was holding her little boy, but he survives due to a kiss from the Ice-Maiden. The Ice-Maiden then goes on to haunt him throughout his life before drowning him on his wedding night. 

My boyfriend's cabin is in a place called Funäsdalen, where these beautiful mountains can be found. In the summer we went hiking and passed a ravine where it is said a Sami woman fell down whilst travelling in her reindeer-drawn sled and died in the snow below. Seeing that ravine was an eerie reminder of this tale.

the little nordic cabin

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

H is for Heðin Brú

Heðin Brú was a Faroese writer, translator and spectacular wearer of glasses and tweed suits. I love his hair. He looks like such a gentleman!

I've picked him for my letter 'H' today because it's rare that I get to write about anything Faroese since, like Greenland, it's one of the Nordic countries I'm less familiar with. Which is odd considering I spent a year learning the language. But anyways... 

Heðin Brú is a really important figure in Faroese literature. He started out as a fisherman, then turned to agriculture and spent some time studying in Denmark. When he returned to the Faroe Islands he travelled around meeting people and gaining inspiration for his novels. 

He is considered important because of his extensive work as a translator, translating works of world literature into Faroese. Examples are the tales of Brothers Grimm, Emily Brontë, William Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen. 

Have you read anything from the Faroe Islands? Have you been there? Are you one of those people who heard "Faroe Islands" and immediately thought "pharaoh" and mentally placed the islands somewhere near Egypt? ;)

the little nordic cabin

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

G is for Grýla

I'm getting a little behind with these posts, aren't I? I'm having one of those crazy weeks full of sleeping and essay writing and marshmallows and reading and more writing and sleeping and lollipops. I've hit that stage where I'm not sure whether I've had too much coffee, or not enough. 

I've decided to take a little break from it all to tell you about a certain horrid Icelandic giantess, Grýla.

Believe it or not, this terrifying witch of a woman is a Christmas character from Icelandic mythology. If I was an Icelandic child, I think Christmas would be a horrifying time of year for me. Grýla's favourite food is naughty children and she is never full. During the Christmas period she leaves her home in the mountains and hunts for naughty children, which she likes to boil into stew. She became linked to Christmas in the 17th century but her character dates back to at least the 13th century. During the 17th century it actually became prohibited to tell tales of Grýla because it was just too scary for the children. 

Here is a folksong about her, it's a nice example of the beautiful Icelandic language, just be thankful you can't understand it or you might not be able to sleep tonight!

the little nordic cabin

Sunday, 7 April 2013

F is for Filifjonkan

Filifjonkan, (Fillyjonk in English) is a character from the Moomin tales, created by Tove Jansson. The Fillyjonk looks like a sort of cross between a rodent and a human and has a desire for freedom from worries and to not have to be tied down to anything. We meet Filifjonkan when she accompanies Snorkmaiden on a trip to a wishing well, where we learn of her preoccupation with disaster. She believes strongly in tradition and due to the fact that she clings to these sorts of thoughts, she is unable to experience the freedom or happiness that the Moomin family have. 

I've loved this character ever since I heard my boyfriend's sister in law call her tiny little daughter (the cutest little girl in the world) 'Filifjonkan' whilst affectionately tickling her. The name always reminds me of that little girls delightful squeals :)

Whilst Filifjonkan is a relatively minor character, I think that in terms of psychology she is one that many of us can relate to. The ties we have to our own minds and the thoughts that prevent true freedom are something that is explored within this character. I think we're all secretly striving for the happiness and freedom of thought found within the Moomin family. 

the little nordic cabin

Friday, 5 April 2013

E is for Erik the Red

Good evening my dears, how are you all? I quite miss talking directly to you, rather than just typing information here! I'm sorry I've been slow with commenting, I have deadlines coming up at the end of April so I'm feeling a little frantic! 

Anyways, lets talk about Erik the Red, the guy who founded the first settlement in Greenland!

We know about Erik the Red from the Icelandic Sagas, texts that were passed down from oral tradition during the viking age. It is said that Erik had to leave Norway because he had committed manslaughter there. He moved to Iceland but then he killed a bunch of people and ended up getting himself outlawed. Smart, huh? 

I've always liked the story that when Iceland was discovered, the explorers named it Iceland because it was so cold, but on discovering Greenland afterwards, realised that they should have reserved the name for that place instead. However, according to the sagas (/wikipedia, where I've just learned this) it was Erik who named it Greenland, having returned to Iceland after he'd served his time away, because he wanted to give it a more appealing name than Iceland had. Either way, I've always thought how the names Iceland and Greenland were kind of mixed up :)

Have you ever read any of the Icelandic sagas? I really do recommend them - I find it really fascinating that they had been passed down orally for so long before finally being written. I love the Chinese Whispers effect that they got, since they began as historical tales but as they were passed on, certain details were changed, leaving us with stories of beserkers and witches and magic. They're wonderful!

the little nordic cabin

D is for Danny the Champion of the World

Did you guys know that Roald Dahl was Norwegian? I didn't know that until I began my degree four years ago. He moved to Cardiff when he was young, but he loved Norway and spent many of his summer holidays there with his Grandmother. 

Last year I did a project on Roald Dahl and gave a presentation on how his Norwegian heritage influenced his work. You might have noticed the huge Norwegian influence in his book, The Witches, for example. There are lots of hidden clues to his love of Norway throughout his books, the funniest of which is how all his mean characters are typically English farmers, whilst the sweet grandmothers, teachers and little children are the positive (and, sometimes Norwegian characters). 

Danny the Champion of the World isn't one of my favourite books, but is an example of the negative, sterotypical English character. Danny and his father poach pheasants from a rich man's estate and are threatened by him. Danny is labeled champion of the world when he comes up with a plan to trick the antagonist, by drugging all the pheasants and stealing them whilst they're sleeping!

I like the fact that the stories of Roald Dahl are English, written in the English language and read by English children who have no idea about Roald Dahl's heritage. If it wasn't for Norway and the magic that the country gave to him in terms of imagination, I doubt we'd have these wonderful stories today. 

the little nordic cabin

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

C is for Captain Longstocking

Ok, so fun fact about the Nordic languages: They don't really have the letter "C". Swedish does, but after searching my brainbox all day, I couldn't come up with anyone. So please forgive my cheating, "captain" begins with a "k" in Swedish, but we're speaking English over here, so I think it's ok :)

Captain Longstocking is Pippi Longstocking's father. He is the only person who is as strong as Pippi and it is from him that she inherited her knowledge and sense. He went missing and was feared dead, but actually he had washed up on an island and became a chief there. Despite Pippi's love for life aboard ship, when her father returned she decided to stay in the house he gave her as the stable life that he had intended for her was something that she had become attached to. On one trip to the island where her father was chief, Pippi was renamed Princess Pippilotta. She had always imagined that while he was missing he had become king of the land somewhere, so it is fitting that Captain Longstocking's little daughter should become 'princess'. 

the little nordic cabin

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B is for Bjartur

Bjartur of Summerhouses is the protagonist of Icelandic Author, Halldor Laxness' book Sjálfstætt Fólk (Independent People). This was the first novel I've ever read by a Nordic author and if I wasn't already in love enough with Iceland, this pushed my obsession over the edge. 

His daughter, Asta Sollilja describes him better than I ever could: “She peeped out from under the blanket, and there he was, still sitting on the edge of his bed, when all the others had gone to sleep, mending some implement or other. No one stirred any longer, the living-room fast asleep; he alone was awake, alone was chanting, sitting there in his shirt, thickset and high-shouldered, with strong arms and tangled hair. His eyebrows were shaggy, steep and beetling like the crags in the mountain, but on his thick throat there was a soft place under the roots of his beard. She watched him awhile without his knowing: the strongest man in the world and the greatest poet, knew the answer to everything, understood all ballads, was afraid of nothing and nobody, fought all of them on a distant strand, independent and free, one against all.”
I highly recommend Independent People, the rich landscape and cultural descriptions begin on the very first page and there is nobody more equipped to introduce you to this magical country than Bjartur himself. 


Monday, 1 April 2013

A is for Askeladden

Happy 1st April everyone! If you are new here, welcome! I'm so pleased to meet you :)

My A - Z theme is Characters from Nordic Literature

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Askeladden.

Askeladden can be found in quite a few Norwegian folktales. His name would be 'Ash Lad' in English,  and I think this comes from his tendency to sit and daydream whilst poking at the ashes in the fire whilst his older brothers display how they are going to succeed in life. You could therefore say that Askeladden is the typical unsuspected hero of these tales. 

The story that I'm most familiar with is called "Askeladden som kappåt med trollet". In this story, Askeladden meets a troll in the forest, while he is chopping down trees. The troll is angry, but Askeladden tricks him into helping him. Afterwards, Askeladden is taken back to the trolls house. Askeladden tricks the troll by challenging him to an eating competition. While the troll is spooning food into his mouth, Askeladden is sneaking it into a bag that he has tied to his front. The troll complains that he is full and cannot eat any more, but Askeladden tells him that if he cuts a hole in his stomach, then he can make room and eat as much as he likes. Askeladden shows him: he takes a knife and slits the bag that he has been putting the food in, telling the troll that it is his stomach that he is slitting. The troll copies him, but instead slits his stomach open and dies.

I can't wait to read what you have all come up with for the letter A! Have a beautiful Monday, everyone.

the little nordic cabin

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Writing Prompt #4

Today's beautiful writing prompt is from the Giraffe Manor in South Africa. Could you ever imagine staying somewhere like this?!

If you're new here (hi!!), this is just a little writing prompt. Write a little story about this picture. Where is this? Who is meeting the Giraffe? What is her story? Perhaps she opened this place as a sanctuary. Perhaps the Giraffe has it's own story. Maybe these two are being reunited :)

She bounced up onto her tippy-toes to peep out of the window and was quite astonished by her new surroundings. Vast stretches of pale yellow as far as the eye could see, and great wide-branched trees, like no other she had ever imagined. Norah had slept most of the way to the new house and the heat had made her poorly during the journey from England such that she wasn’t altogether able to take in the new landscape until now. She had woken up in the soft warmth of the armchair, a slight breeze washing over her from the lace curtained window. Mama Abeni had settled a little china cup on the table and the sleepy little girl took a sip. Sweet rose tea, her favourite. Carefully placing the cup back down - using both hands to stop it spilling and making mother angry - Norah stretched deeply, yawned, and rubbed her tired little eyes. She called out to her parents and again to Mama Abeni, but nobody came. It was not the first time this seven year old had been left by herself while her mother ran errands and her father snoozed in the living room, pipe still smoking, newspaper fallen to the floor in a crumpled mess. Mama Abeni was probably busy with the dinner or bringing Norah’s things to her new bedroom. She sighed heavily and glanced at the grandfather clock by the door. It was curious to -have fallen asleep in the car in the midday sun only to wake up in this strange room, full of twee curiosities that made it look like an old, tattered dolls house. She gathered her skirts, pulled on her shoes and tottered over to the window. The first glimpse of her new country made her gasp in wonder. So suddenly did her breath catch in surprise that she nearly toppled over, bringing down the curtains with her. Norah steadied herself and peered out again. Those strange wide trees seemed to line the sky, layer upon layer before meeting the puffy white clouds. The grass was yellow and dry. Ahead stretched plains of mustard-yellow plains that reached far into the distance. Norah scrunched her eyes up and could just make out the subtle glimmer of water in the distance when a large creature brushed past the window, peeping it's head curiously inside, nuzzling Norah's rosy little cheeks.

As always, please feel free to leave me a comment with your writing, or link me to it on your page. I've missed your beautiful little tales!

the little nordic cabin