Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 recap




In 2012 I...

... Started this blog, as a way for friends and family in Sweden to keep up with my life here, and because it's fun for me to document everyday-life.

... Volunteered as a classroom assistant at a local school and then I got a temporary job in Lisburn over the summer.

... Got better at baking, and tried lots of new recipes.

... Celebrated Steve's graduation from university.

... Visited Sweden and celebrated my brother finishing secondary school.

... Moved from Belfast to Steve's parents' house.

... Started final year of my Psychology course. Uh, time passes way too quick.

... Started taking driving lessons and passed my driving theory test, finally.

... Bought our very first own house!

In 2013 I'm looking forward to...

... Finally getting the keys for our house.

... Decorating said house.

... Going to Paris with my mom by the end of January.

... Graduating from my Psychology course.

... Hopefully going to a proper festival for the first time in my life. (Before I get too old for that stuff.)

... Visiting Sweden at least twice. (That's right, next year I HAVE to celebrate Christmas in my hometown. It's been too long now.)

... Finally getting my driving license.

I don't do New Year's resolutions, but if I did, I'd just try to be a more positive person. To be more grateful for what I have in my life because I'm really spoiled with good things and I just don't appreciate it enough. Happy New Year!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dining room decisions

Have I talked about my dining room yet? No? That's probably because a) I have no dining room (I don't even have the house yet as mentioned previously) but rather a corner of the kitchen that I plan on turning into a dining area. That's where me and Steve will read the morning paper over coffee on lazy Sunday mornings and where we'll entertain all those rich friends that we have who want to visit for dinner parties. Fancy. Or, which is more likely, it's where we will dump all our bills/laptops/other things that need to be stored somewhere else than the kitchen but it always ends up in the kitchen anyway. Oh and b) because I always believed that the dining room is the most boring room out of any existing rooms. But not anymore! I'm one step away from colour-coordinating the cupboard in which the boiler resides, so naturally I'm all about sorting out this dining room/corner at the moment.


This is a rough home-made layout of the upper right corner of our bungalow. I say 'rough', because I haven't been in the house for three months now and in my mind the size of the kitchen switches between cupboard-size and ballroom-appropriate constantly. My memory is not the best (and yet it's better than Steve's, who barely remembers if we have a kitchen or not). The L-shape in the corner is all of our cupboards and kitchen appliances and on the opposite wall we have two doors who are in the way of anything productive happening there. But the bottom wall, the one that in my mind should be just about large enough for a table with four seats around it, is where the magic will happen.


If I had my way our house would look like it was taken straight out of an IKEA-catalogue, something like this. Unfortunately the kitchen is spacious and contemporary and there is really no point in trashing the whole design just because I'm not fussed on the wood that is being used. The cupboards are an orange-y brown. Teak possibly? Whatever it is, I'm going to have to learn to live with it and I'm sure that's possible. The next issue is the man who I have to share this house with. Steve is just as stubborn as I am (but with worse taste in furniture) and so here are his rules; the furniture has to be wood and absolutely not plastic (like the lovely table in Pinterest picture 2, 3, 4 and 11). If possible it should look like taken straight from a cabin in an 80s' ski-resort. The table has to be rectangle-shaped rather than round (?!!) and the chairs are not allowed to look spacey.


Fortunately, we have learnt to compromise over the last few years. As a dining set in wood is ridiculously expensive, we're getting a wooden table, preferably in teak so that it looks like it belongs with the rest of my teak-kitchen rather than just a spaceship that landed in our house. And it'll be rectangle, with the short side against the bottom wall. I'd love to have something midcentury-inspired like this or this, but because of budget restrictions I'll settle for anything vaguely table-like. With the table I'm getting four Eames-chair dupes (as seen in picture 2, 4, 6 and 7) and you better believe that I spent A LOT of time convincing Steve that these chairs are allowed into our house. So it's worth the expense.


We have also settled on keeping the walls white in the kitchen. With the teak and the white chairs I feel like there's enough going on and I'd like some room for pictures on the walls as well. Above the table I'd like a round-ish pendant (as seen in picture 5, 7 and 8) in a metal colour but I can't decide on which. Bronze is so very in at the moment but I'd hate to commit to an expensive lamp and then realise a year later that I don't like that metal at all. All of our kitchen appliances are in stainless steel so the lamp will most likely end up in something similar. Above the table I'd like pictures or possibly a thin ledge to put pictures/books on. And a lovely clock to go with it. I think I just may have exhausted my need to talk about my dining room now. All in all, I think we can make it quite a nice corner despite quite a small budget. Particularly compared to what I'd buy if I had lots of money.

All images are from my dream-home Pinterest board, apart from the kitchen layout that I made in Paint. I have too much free time.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Cold

The past two days have been filled with hot cups of Lemsip (which is surely the worst thing on this planet), tissues in abundance and lying up on the couch with a blanket over me. In other words, Steve gave me the cold that he got over Christmas. And now I just hope that I'm healthy by the time New Year's Eve comes around. Which is not even a big, favourite holiday of mine, mainly because champagne absolutely destroys me and so I have to sip it really slowly unless I want to end up on the floor. Also, any holiday right after Christmas always feel a little... "meh".

Image from my Pinterest.

Apart from half-sleeping I've also done ridiculously difficult assessment tests for graduate jobs, and I tried out my new espresso coffee maker that I got from Steve. It's amazing but I'm still having trouble making lattes due to not having a clue of what the proper coffee-to-milk ratio is. (Listen to me, talking about lattes. I'm so fancy. If only you knew that I'm wearing sweats and my hair is five days dirty. Yes, five.) The coffee pot itself looks really impressive though, and it's possible that I'm biased because my mom had one just the same for years that she loved. It doesn't matter, I love it anyway. And lots of people are very impressed by it. (Like three people, at least).

For the last few days of 2012 I hope to get rid of this cold, eat every last bit of dessert that's left in the fridge from Christmas and possibly get some quality time spent with Steve since he's off from work. Oh, the hardships of the working man! I'm so happy I get to be a student for another six months.


Thursday, 27 December 2012

So this is Christmas...

So that's Christmas over for another year, and although we didn't get the keys for our new house it was still a pretty good Christmas. Let's face it - by staying in Steve's parents' house we get left-over food, a properly heated house and in general, those are important components of a successful Christmas. Especially if you also have good company and Steve's family definitely is. I'm lucky to have so many people here who I can consider my family even though they're technically not even related to me.

Image from my Pinterest.

Me and Steve exchanged gifts on Christmas Day morning, and I received lots of nice things from him, but my absolute favourites are a wireless speaker that can connect to my phone or my laptop (I'm such a geek) and a lovely blue dress. My size and my style. He knows me so well... Today his sisters and their families were over for a Boxing Day meal and altogether me and Steve received three IKEA vouchers (!), as well as serving plates, pie bowls and other homey gifts. I'm so happy. Those IKEA vouchers will definitely be used. And my family (who I obviously couldn't help but miss) gave me money because shipping gifts is expensive even if they're small and light, and there's just no point when I'd be much happier getting money. That money, will most likely go towards chairs. THE chairs, my dream-chairs. Once I've convinced Steve that they are his dream-chairs too.

And so now that Christmas is over it's time to face my least favourite part of the year... January. Is there anything as dreadful and miserable as the time furthest away from Christmas that also happens to be dark and cold and filled with exams? What were they thinking? (This is addressed to the person who made these January-rules up). However, I have decided to not let January get me down. January is a stepping-stone to February, which is basically Spring (with a capital 'S') and I do like Spring. Plus I'm going to make this January cozy. You'll see.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Five days left


Image from my Pinterest.

Last week went by in a flurry of assignments and sudden and spontaneous plans (yes - I think going for an evening coffee is a spontaneous activity, I am that sad). This week marked the first week of being off from university and therefore also my first week of revision for exams and studying for my driving theory. The driving theory is split into two parts, a bunch of multiple choice questions which I feel really confident with and then the hazard perception part. I am terrified of this part since I keep failing the interactive practice test that I got for the purpose of passing the real test. At the moment I'm keeping calm by reminding myself of the fact that the practice test is probably just rubbish and I'm actually really good at it.

Last weekend I visited my friend in Derry and spent most of my time handing out mulled wine at her gig to anyone who's up for some metal and festivities. I also cuddled with the cutest dog in the world, who I took about a million pictures of. (As someone who always considered herself as a cat person, I'm quite surprised by my own attachment to this dog.) And I went to bed at 8am and got up two hours later to go to IKEA with Steve who had been to a work dinner the night before. Safe to say, we stumbled about in IKEA like zombies. Last night I went to Belfast to celebrate a friend's birthday and I had an amazing time. Mainly because we went to Limelight which will probably forever be one of my favourite places ever.

Today we were supposed to get the keys for our new house, but we didn't. Which was a total bummer, but also expected I guess. Considering that things have certainly taken long enough so far in this process, obviously there was still going to be documents missing by the time that we should be living in the place. I can be accused of a lot of things, but being patient is certainly not one of them and this is starting to really annoy me. At the moment it looks like we won't be getting the house until January. It's difficult for me to accept but I'm doing my best. And to look at things from the bright side, it'll be nice to not have to spend my Christmas holidays painting walls and ceilings. (Speaking of Christmas, this is my current Christmas playlist)

Friday, 14 December 2012

Ten reasons to smile 8.0



One
- It's ten days left to Christmas! Maybe more! Maybe less! But somewhere around ten!

Two - I just handed in my last two assignments of the year, two and a half hours before deadline. (Obviously I know have exams left to worry about. But still.)

Three - We've gotten a preliminary date for when we get the keys for our house. And I'm sure that we can get settled and move in before Christmas, despite getting the keys merely days before. It's gonna be tough, but I've decided that we will soldier on. Steve has no say in this.

Four - I'm visiting Derry tomorrow and staying until Sunday, which is funny because the last time I was in Derry was almost 11 months ago and I had only just started this blog. I'm going to see my friend's band too, for the first time ever.

Five - I made gingerbread cookies for the first time in years and they turned out really nice. So nice that they're gone less than five days after making them. I might make a second batch. 

Six - Christmas holidays have begun! No more early morning lectures spent half-sleeping in the world's most uncomfortable chairs until it's spring in Northern Ireland again, basically. 

Seven - Steve has to work for another three days, and then he is off for Christmas as well. I can't wait to actually be able to lazy about with someone else for once. 

Eight - This is quite superficial, but I bought two pairs of jeans at Topshop recently, and they're so comfortable. I have that issue where jeans are too big in the wrong places (waist) and way too tight elsewhere (ass), but these may just be my new favourite model...

Nine - My driving lessons are coming along nicely and next week I've booked my theory test. The end of this practice driving is near.

Ten - There is no snow here yet, but there is frost and it makes everything so much prettier.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Spontaneous carols and concerts

I was going to post yesterday but last night suddenly became very busy. In fact, I've left the house at least once every day this last while (which is quite uncharacteristic of my life, really). On Monday while me and Steve were discussing oil prices - oh we're such fun-loving adults - we suddenly remembered that we were supposed to go watch his nieces perform in a carol service in the local church. And we should've left five minutes earlier. We literally ran to the church and got there in time, but not in time to get proper seats. Instead we had to sit next to the stage in the corner of the church on the church floor, and it was cold but okay. The carol service was lovely. Am I the only one who cries when hearing live Christmas carols? It's too emotional for me. (For an awkward bonus story, remind me to tell you about last Christmas when Steve's family decided to sing me a Swedish Christmas carol on Christmas Day and I started bawling my eyes out.)

The gingerbread cookies (unfortunately I'm responsible for that particular piece of icing art) and us at the concert. We look pretty tired. And confused - the lens is on the other side of the camera, guys.

Yesterday I studied and then I bribed a four year old to be happy by letting him ice gingerbread men for a couple of hours. Steve had only just gotten home from work when our friend phoned us and offered free tickets to Lionel Richie. Well... I'm not a big Lionel Richie fan. However, that beardy companion of mine has Lionel Richie as his guilty pleasure (he's not aware that it's a guilty pleasure, but it totally is) and so I went with him to keep him company. Plus it was free and I'm generally up for spontaneous outings nowadays. Saying that, I was not in a good mood when we got there. Between ages of queuing in traffic, finding out that the parking lot was full so we had to park further away and then walk to the concert arena and me wearing my new red blazer that's lovely but decidedly not weather-appropriate - I was ready to just call it a night. I'm happy that I didn't complain (too much) because the concert ended up being really fun. I recognised more songs than I thought it would, the 80s popstar turned out to be quite funny (and so were his biggest fans - most of them women a lot older than me and Steve. The things that were shouted made me blush) and he really can sing. While dancing. While pretty much dripping from sweat. It was entertaining and I got McDonalds as a midnight treat on our way home. Oh Steve, you know me so well. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Wrapping notes to myself

Because I've already wrapped all of my gifts, it's a little too late to suddenly have great ideas on how to wrap gifts. Luckily, I chose a boyfriend with lots of nephews and nieces and so there's plenty of wrapping opportunities within the next few months. The three ones I'm looking forward to most;

All images are from my Pinterest.

1 - This is the one I'm the most excited about. Printing out pictures and making them into tags! I was planning on printing out pictures of the actual birthday boy/girl for a personalized gift.

2 - Flags out of washi tape, I've been drooling over this for months. I was going to do it for Christmas but I decided to go on a very red/white/brown themed colour scheme and I don't have washi tape in any of those colours. So I guess I need to add a few more colours to my collection.

3 - Cutting out names with pretty wrapping paper. The reason why I haven't done this already is shamefully silly. I don't own any glue. (I mean, I have glue, but it's been wrapped in a box the last four months. In fact, I had to spend 45 minutes in the garage rummaging through boxes today just to find my festive cookie cutters*. Safe to say, when I packed my things at the end of August I never quite realised I'd still not have them by December...) Either way, this is cute. Definite birthday-material.

*Yes, I made gingerbread cookies today! They look amazing. Amazingly ugly. But it's the taste that counts and they're all pretty much edible. Christmas festive feelings in abundance you guys.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

A Christmas-sy week

I wish I could write something useful (and I should be able to because I've got a bunch of things that I feel like I need to write here just to get them structured in my head - the length of that sentence is a good example of how confusing my mind is sometimes) but I can't. I'm just too filled up by Christmas spirit and as it is Sunday night a weekly summery is appropriate.


> There's only one lecture left, then I'm off for Christmas! I still have essays and assignments left - not too mention studying for exams and data collection for this dreaded thesis... But still. Off from school-feeling, you know?

> I have now bought and wrapped all of my gifts. ALL OF THEM. It took a couple of hours and man, my back hurt after a while but now it's done. The worst part is that now I have to put them away until Christmas.  I may wrap a couple of fake gifts just to keep out in the open. You may think I'm insane, but I'm serious.

> I've made gingerbread dough and tomorrow I'm going to find the gingerbread cutters and make myself some gingerbread men and women. And a reindeer or two. I actually got hit by this wave of nostalgia as I tasted the dough. Although I've had Swedish gingerbread cookies several times since moving over, I've never baked them and so I've missed out on the dough-eating process. It's powerful.

> Last night me and Steve went to his sister's house and we watched Arthur Christmas with her two boys. Safe to say we enjoyed the movie more than the kids and I'm not even ashamed. You've got to love movies where you can appreciate the details. The rest of the night was good too with general TV-watching and take-away.

> Today we went with all of Steve's sisters and their families to a big old house where a "Santa's Grotto" is now held. The children made some type of sparkly reindeer food, pet a horse and then they met Santa. I loved it. Not only because they had mulled wine but the surroundings charmed me. Downton Abbey-style. (Do I really want to live in a modern bungalow? Can someone just buy me a castle instead?) The Santa was a hoot as well. A hoot, I tell you.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

First of Advent

This is going to be another one of those posts where I just talk about random stuff that I've been doing. Sorry about that. I love random posts.

> Went to Lisburn on Saturday to do some Christmas shopping. (I thought I was pretty much finished but then I accidentally visited Toys 'R Us and suddenly I had shopped some more... Not for Steve though. I haven't gotten his gift yet. And I'm going to start mentioning it here, just in case he suddenly wants to read my blog. HA. As if.)

> We've also burnt this year's Christmas CD to keep in the car. We've already managed to listen to it a lot.

> In Lisburn I got us Advent Calendars. I don't care that we're adults and that we're buying a house. I want chocolate every morning.

> We ate another 18 inch pizza between us. It wasn't even a struggle and I actually uttered the words "I'd like some more" when we were done. Am I ashamed? Possibly.

> You know that amazing Eames chair that keeps showing up in lots of stylish homes in interior magazines? Yes, this one. Well, I found an amazing duplicate that is about the sixth of the price for the designer one. There's no reason not to get four of these, other than the fact that my boyfriend hates it and doesn't want it in our house.

> We babysat Steve's niece for a couple of hours today. She was asleep when we arrived and then woke up with only us in the house, which, clearly, was her worst nightmare. She screamed for twenty minutes non-stop. At one point we thought that she had lost her voice but she was only taking a brief break to be able to continue with renewed powers.

> There's only a few weeks left of university, and then the exam-stress begins. I have vowed to make a better plan than usual this year - to start studying earlier but for fewer hours a day. (Few weeks left of university = few weeks left until Christmas and until House. House! Hopefully.)

Friday, 30 November 2012

November

November was definitely a weird one. I spent several weeks of it being sick - literally, illness upon illness in various forms, as soon as one was over another virus attacked me! So not the three-day deathly sickness kind, just weeks of being tired and miserable. And then I was so happy about the house at the start of the month but the mortgage process was taking so long and it felt like all we did was send more bank statements, more proof of having money and so on. University work suddenly showed up and was all 'hey, this needs to be completed in a few days' after lazying about most of October. All in all, parts of this month felt a little frustrating, but there was good times too.

Image from my Pinterest.

I finished all three seasons of Downton Abbey, and the Christmas special. That show totally stole my heart and I still catch myself thinking of how much I want to watch it. Luckily there's a final Christmas special on and I would sell my kidneys in exchange for watching it asap... Towards the end of the month I went out twice in Belfast with my friends and I had the best time. It's exactly what I needed after weeks of doing nothing. I finished The Handmaid's Tale and started 1984 (recurring theme of dystopian novels anyone). Steve and I had several little trips, we had breakfast around town and we went to IKEA and Lisburn. These trips really cheer me up. November mornings are cold but beautiful. Driving is still coming along nicely (theory test has been booked!) and best of all, Christmas is upon us. Yes. I am in full Christmas-mode from now on because now it is socially acceptable for me to go Christmas-mental. So naturally, I will.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Progress

Good news! The last few days (weeks?) I've been feeling a little down because the whole house-buying-process was taking ages and at times, looked as if it might not happen at all. But progress has been made and there is a chance we'll be in the house by Christmas anyway, hooray! (It has an open fire. We can make an open fire on Christmas morning. Imagine that!)

Also I'm going out tomorrow night to one of my old favourite places ever in Belfast with good friends. The bar that I basically spent most Tuesday nights at my first year in university. Life is just SO good.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Birthday wishes and Christmas planning

And another weekend has passed, too quickly. (I had a brilliant night out on the Thursday but ended up not doing much the rest of the weekend - it's safe to say that I was exhausted). Today is my brother's birthday, Happy Birthday Johannes! I can't believe you're 19 today. Also I realise that the chance of you ever reading this is not very big at all (because you don't follow my blog. Why don't you follow my blog?!) but if you do; I'm very proud of you. For the person that you are and all the great qualities that you have, like loyalty, honesty and courage. (If I was the sorting hat, I'd put you in the Gryffindor house, I just realised. Just a little bit of nerdy Harry Potter-applied-to-real-life, you're welcome.)

(My brother last Summer when I was visiting Sweden. Dancing, I believe.)

I feel like I'm on a roll here because I spent a large part of the Sunday working on uni projects and then I wrapped another bunch of Christmas presents. There's still a few more to buy, among other's Steve's gift which is the biggest and the worst one. There is a whole list of things that I would like to buy for him - but I do realise that I enjoy giving them more than he does receiving them. To be fair, Christmas presents are about making the other person happy so I'm going to have to prioritise his happiness over my gift-giving urges.

As I said, I was on a roll, so I counter-balanced my rolling (?) by then doing some online shopping. Sunday night split-second decisions were made, uh-oh. I only bought three items, but the third happens to be a pair of shoes that I might not be able to walk in. After years of only buying lower heels or wedges, due to the fact that my sense of balance is non-existing, I decided that I wanted a real pair of dangerously high heels and this decision was made after seeing a pair of budget-friendly, strappy heels with some festive glitter added. Resistance was futile. And I decided that they were worth getting, even if I might have to crawl to the bar when I'm out with them. 

P.S. Can you believe it's almost December?! I'm so excited.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thankful for having small things to worry about

It's been a bit quiet the last few days. I've been a bit quiet the last few days, and very little blog-reading-or-writing has been done. Just real life catching up, you know. And Steve came home from his trip, which was good. But I haven't left the house in three days and now I have a headache. I know myself well enough to realise that this is not a symptom of illness in me, it's too much staring at a screen and in books (and really, what I was expecting from third year in uni, but still) and lack of fresh air.

So it's a good thing that I'm taking the train to Belfast tonight to stay over at a friend's house, where I'm going to have a few drinks and we're gonna watch another friend play live in the student union. I have a feeling that this is exactly what I need; a break from being responsible/nerdy. I am the worrying type and damn, things have not been going my way lately! I could write a list but it's useless because there's no point in dwelling on things and it's all gonna work out anyway. It's nothing life-threatening. (Did I just reach this conclusion? Clearly I'm like a brand new person nowadays.)

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving all you people from the other side of the ocean. And anyone else as well, of course. (Quite a big chunk of my readers are from the U.S. apparently according to Blogger statistics. How did that happen? Is it because I write most of my posts late at night when anyone in this timezone is sensible enough to be asleep? Are you never the same people visiting here more than once? Am I speaking to myself?) This year I am thankful for Steve always being there for me, for my family who are decidedly the best in the world, for kind strangers who are willing to help me even if they don't know me and for Steve's family for treating me like one of their own. And for shortcake biscuits. Because, you know. It's awesome.

P.S. I am also thankful for having a cancelled class tomorrow morning.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Chairs

I just realised that I've pinned 800 pins on Pinterest. I'm not entirely sure whether it's an achievement or a sign of something being seriously wrong with me. I'm celebrating that by showing the last six chairs that I've pinned.

All pictures can be found on my Pinterest.

You see why it takes me ages to decide about anything regarding the house?! I want all these styles incorporated in my home!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

This is why I don't want to spend time alone with me

Since Steve left to catch his flight I have:

> Eaten two buns, six biscuits, a piece of toast with cheese and a cup of tea. 
> Studied.
> Watched Xfactor with his parents. (and sent numerous of "ohmygod did you see that" texts to Steve. What can I say, apparently I get heavily emotionally invested in TV?)
> Chatted with my mom on Facebook.
> Studied some more.
> Looked at lots of pictures of gray couches.

I'm a wild one. 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A letter

Today was a pretty good day. We woke up at a reasonable time rather than halfway through our Saturday (which is what we usually do) and then we went to the bank and then you took me to a bakery for our breakfast. We ordered tea and Ulster frys (and then you bought, like, seven buns because they're so cheap. We've managed to eat one. Who's gonna eat the other six?) You told me about the previous owners who used to babysit you and you'd spend your afternoons watching buns being made. I asked if you were a chubby child and apparently you were.

In the afternoon we ended up having to write important letters because of this buying-house-business and time ticked away. When we were driving home after buying stamps and posting letters I said there was no point in going to Lisburn today after all because it was too late if you wanted to be back in time for football and I know you didn't really want to go to Lisburn anyway. You drove past our house and when I asked you what you were doing you said "We're going to Lisburn." And we didn't get back in time for football but you never said a word about it. We ordered a giant pizza and watched TV.

In 16 hours you have to leave for a business trip and it SUCKS. Hurry back, please.


Love,
Nicole

Friday, 16 November 2012

Fridayness

As sad as it sounds, I've spent the majority of my Friday night planning for Christmas presents. I've now bought more than half of my gifts (although not all of them are wrapped yet) and I'm thoroughly enjoying organising my Christmas way in advance. I'm hoping that this means that when December actually comes around I'll be able to squeeze in enjoying the Christmas spirit without any stress on top of painting and decorating the house, end-of-term coursework, driving test and exams. Speaking of Christmas, this gift is by far one of my personal favourites. It's just a small thing for one of Steve's superhero crazy nephews, although I'd like it for myself.

In fact, I found myself wanting a lot of the toys when I was browsing through them... Retro groceries for pretend play? Yes, please.

Picture from my Pinterest.

My brain is mush tonight. Other things I've done the past two days:

> Finished Downton Abbey and it was magical. Have I raved about this already? I watched the final episode of the third season and I was so pleased. Now I can't wait for the Christmas special... Or for time machines to be invented.

> Wrote an essay and a leaflet for it in two days. This is what I've spent the majority of my last 48 hours on (apart from sleeping). I had started a couple of times beforehand, but I couldn't get a grasp of the task and when I finally did I decided to start over entirely. It wasn't easy but at least this one is over. I have a presentation and another essay that I should probably get started on though.

> Went driving and it went terrible. At some point my brain stopped working and I nearly drove on the wrong side of the road. There's not much more to say... Apart from maybe good luck future pedestrians with me on the road.

> Convinced Steve that we should spent our Saturday in Lisburn. I haven't been there since I finished my summer job and I definitely miss the town. I could easily see myself living there.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas wishlist for our home

Today marks the day of getting better! I felt so well today that I managed to get outerwear on (after about three different types of pain killers) and walked down to the butcher's and bought meatballs. (Because they make the best meatballs ever - and yes, this village has a butcher's. The family-owned-since-a-million-years-ago kind, so quaint!) Unfortunately I have not felt so well that my essay is finished. It's possibly the slowest written essay of all times, partly because I've been sick but also because I have no motivation.

Instead I've been on the H&M website (I want a pair of yellow jeans, why not?) and realised that their Home section isn't too bad. It's quite small, but I do find things here and there that I'd like for our new house.


Cushions for our bedroom and a storage box to throw stuff into. (I figure the best way to tackle our messiness is to provide us with lots of easy ways to keep our house tidy). Is it just me who wants to decorate everything in neutral colours and with lots of textures? Must be something about the holiday season that's about to start.

I'm also starting to realise that my kitchen may not turn out as the white Scandinavian dream that I've always wanted. The cupboards in our kitchen are new but in an orangey-wooden colour (possibly teak?). I've decided that I'm going to try to balance it out with a lot of metals. So here's some pricey and less pricey things that I'd like for our kitchen.


Vase from Zara Home, clock from Vandashop and an Advent candleholder from Georg Jensen (found at skandium.com, my new favourite unaffordable place.) Stark contrast from what I want for my bedroom. I clearly don't believe in having a coherent interior style in my house, I just see every room as an opportunity for something different. Or maybe it is all very much one style, I just can't see it myself. Sometimes it's tricky to be objective when discussing one's own taste. (In one of our many discussions about which way to decorate our house Steve blurted out that everything I like looks so "New York" and "bloggy"(??) - he's got some serious inside knowledge of my brain, that man.) 

Everything can be found on my Pinterest product wishlist board where more stuff can be found that I would like in our house. How did people live their lives without Pinterest?! So 18th century, writing stuff down on paper.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Quick list

Lists like this used to be my favourite thing in the world around 2007-2008! Here's one for nostalgic purposes.

Picture from my Pinterest.

Ten years ago... 
...I was twelve years old. First year in what would be the equivalent to junior high/lower secondary school for you guys in the UK, and I was worried about not growing up fast enough. And discovering listening to music.

Five things on my to-do list...
1) Essay
2) A second essay
3) An application I have to post
4) An e-mail I have to write
5) Another e-mail I have to write
(This stressed me out.)

Five snacks I enjoy...
1) Grapes.
2) Coffee (is that a snack?)
3) Cheese crisps.
4) Cheese and ham toast.
5) Just cheese. Yes.

Five favourite things...
1) Food.
2) Steve, for being the kindest person I know.
3) Kittens for sale on Gumtree.
4) Quotes.
5) Pinterest.

Five places I have lived...
1) Belfast, Northern Ireland.
2) Ystad, Sweden.
3) Vienna, Austria.
4) Zagreb, Croatia.
5) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Five things most people don't know about me...
1) I can be really really silly. Kitchen-dancing-silly. But only around a very select few people.
2) I used to be very into painting and stuff. I fancied myself good at it too, ha!
3) I have a bit of an obsession with the 90s. Movies and music in particular.
4) I don't like thinking about the reality of space, but I love sci-fi. (A tad contradicting!)
5) I make lists of everything, and I add things that I've already done solely for the satisfaction of having a list that looks half-finished.

Ten reasons to smile 7.0

The last few posts have been a bit full of misery and complaining (kind of) and unfortunately this is another gray day spent in bed served with misunderstandings that require lengthy phone calls to clear up. (The bed and the misunderstandings have nothing to do with each other, it's just unfortunate that both happened on the same day). So I think it's time for a happy blog post!



One - Three of my Christmas presents are wrapped and another three were delivered today. Is it too early for going into full-blown Christmas mode? I think not. A month a year is not enough of Christmas anyway.

Two - Today it is exactly two weeks since we found out that we're getting the house. In other words, two weeks less to wait!

Three - My Christmas tree was delivered today, and oh my, I received the display tree that was used in the shop and they couldn't even bother undressing it before packing it into the carton. Free silver baubles? Why not, I say.

Four - I Skyped with my mom yesterday (is this a new emerging habit of mine, Skyping with my parents on Sundays?) and it was nice to hear her voice. Generally we're not very good at doing anything but texting.

Five - I finished The Handmaid's Tale and it was brilliant. One of the better books I've read lately and Margaret Atwood writes in a way that makes me swoon. Swooooon.

Six - This is shallow, but I think I'm winning the Sofa Situation. Don't tell Steve, let's keep him blissfully unaware of his defeat as long as possible.

Seven - This is also shallow but I wore my new patterned trousers from previous blog post and I received compliments! Three of them! Maybe it's not such a bad purchase after all...

Eight - My throat is starting to get better, but while it was sore I only drank tea after being coffee-obsessed for a while. And I think I regained my love for tea. (Living in the UK can make you pretty tired of it, sorry.) A funny bonus with getting better is that I can now drink coffee again. It's the never-ending battle of hot drinks.

Nine - Steve's sister left food in our fridge last night so no one has to cook dinner tonight!

Ten - It's gray outside, but I'm not outside. And I'm not planning to be either, because I have essays to write and the last few episodes of Downton Abbey to watch. Life is not too bad after all.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Words from a non-real viking

I've got a cold, ladies and gentlemen. This means that I feel sorry for myself (in abundance, I might add). I'm quite a whiny person and thank goodness that I'm not sick more often because I'd just not get anything done. Since last night for example I've done nothing but read magazines, eat unhealthy food (although I've lost my appetite because of this illness, obviously) and drink tea. I also went driving this morning and then applauded myself vicariously for undertaking such a project when having this deathly cold.

My mom's words springs to mind. "You're not a real viking!" Yes, she used to shout that when we were making a fuss about sickness. As in real vikings would suffer their sickness stoically, like her. My mother, ladies and gentlemen.

I've done a serious amount of shopping these days though, on Tuesday after university as well as online. Guess who's gotten six out of thirteen Christmas presents sorted? S o r t e d, and it's not even mid-November. It's possibly because I don't want to end up stressing in December with exams, essays, new house and Christmas, but also because I have turned a page. I'm this new, well-organised human being. In the midst of all the unselfish Christmas shopping I also bought a pair of patterned trousers. Was this a good purchase? I'm not sure.


Check out the patterned trousers (but ignore my hair). Take note of the sneaky bag of sweets behind my Elle magazine. Also note the front cover of Elle Decoration UK. I saw it and said (triumphantly) to Steve: "See, a British magazine with a cover that I love. Don't you dare say that I only like Scandinavian interior style." When I had bought it and opened the magazine I found out that the cover is actually from a Swedish home. They're just everywhere, those Swedes.

P.S. Remember my rules for buying clothes that I made up a while ago? These trousers is a crime against them but they were on sale. Eh, an exception to the rule!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Sofa-Situation

In bed, with a cold coming on and I have already watched two episodes of Downton Abbey (yes, I managed to get a hold of season two, of course I did.) And the so far nothing has happened in the election. So my sleepy mind cannot stop itself from debating the sofa-situation.

Ah yes. The sofa-situation. A situation that wasn't a situation at all until me and Steve started deviating from our original decisions and now it is most definitely a situation. The issue is, what sofa are we getting for our front room in the house? 
The first option is IKEA Klippan. Klippan means "The Rock" (inexplicably cool name for a couch really) and this couch is named so for a good reason. Economy-efficient (in other words cheap) and it really isn't too bad in real life. We tried it out at our IKEA trip last week and it is pretty comfortable. But most of all, it's cheap. It's so cheap that we could get two couches to place in the corner of our room which would give extra places for people to sit during our cocktail gatherings. Plus me and Steve can get a couch each to nap on after particularly strenuous take-away sessions. The issue is that I'm not even sure I want two couches. We very rarely have people over anyway and we managed fine with one (tiny) sofa last year. Our room would feel a lot more crowded. Plus it's not my dream couch by a long way. We could only get it in black, which is a bit harsh in our room, or white, which is impractical. 
The second option is IKEA Karlstad. Can you hear the choir of angels singing? Because I can. This sofa is exactly what I dream of at night and particularly with this fabric. Big enough for us, yet not clumsy. It would look great in our front room. However, it is a lot more expensive. We could actually afford two and a half of the Klippan sofas for the same amount as the Karlstad sofa. And when we have guests over we'd have to fake a bohemian atmosphere and ask them to sit on the floor. Is more sofas a good or a bad thing?

So what sofa should we choose? Two of the mediocre-but-okay Klippan ones, or one of the dreamlover Karlstad? (Did I hear you suggest going to somewhere else than IKEA? I thought not.)

P.S. Sorry about my constant switching between "sofa" and "couch". I mean the same thing, I just can't stick to one version of English apparently.

Monday, 5 November 2012

First November weekend

Once in a while you need a weekend that is the best even though very little happens.

> After Skyping with dad I got a real urge to watch an episode of the first season of Downton Abbey which I bought ages ago. It took me three days to finish the first season and the only reason that I haven't started the second one is because I don't have it yet. That shall be remedied tomorrow at HMV. Who else wants to plan a Downton Abbey-themed wedding? 

> The previously mentioned Skyping session with my dad on Saturday. (Best thing all weekend obviously.)

Picture from my Pinterest.

> Went to Tesco. I know that this may seem like a ridiculous thing to enjoy but I really like going to Tesco, okay? Plus I bought a couple of things. (Such as candy canes and "Nordic traditional Christmas decorations". In Sweden they're known as just "traditional decorations".)

> Had taco night. Taco night is the most amazing thing I've brought to Steve's life so far and he has completed my life by introducing me to sour cream. We're such a couple. (chubby couple)

> Watched Chernobyl Diaries which is the worst movie I've seen this year.

> Had dinner with Steve's sister and her family on Sunday night which was gorgeous. Pulled pork and BBQ beans would make any weekend brilliant. 

> Also I drove this morning and I failed when trying to break. On a hill. With cars behind me. Thankfully my driving instructor's super-speedy reflexes stopped me from rolling straight into the car behind me. Maybe not a great event but lets count the rapid rescue among the good things that belong to this past weekend.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Favourite hobby

Yesterday I convinced Steve to use some of his flexi-time so that he could leave work early and then go to IKEA with me.

This is what we do on our IKEA trips:

- Eat meatballs. I've calculated that Steve had about 27 of them. I had six. I'm not exaggerating for the sake of a dramatic post here people, it's a wonder he could stand up after such a meaty dinner.

- Buy an unnecessary kitchen tool because I flip and suddenly decide that I desperately want one. This time it was a garlic crusher.

- Try out couches and beds. To be fair, this time we really do need to get both a couch and a bed, so I think we're excused. I also have a little daydream each time we're there in which we lived in one of those rooms that IKEA style (like in 500 Days of Summer you know? Unfortunately Steve refuses to play along).

- Argue about what lamps to get. I think my boyfriend just argues for the sake of it at this stage though because I always end up winning the argument and getting all the lamps I want.

- Stroll around the food market, complain about the fact that IKEA sells almost exclusively their own branded food and then Steve bans me from buying Kalles Kaviar and I eventually agree. Because I guess processed fish eggs is gross when I stop and think about it.

P.S. I also got two throws, lots of wrapping paper, a cushion and the bedding that I really wanted (and my bedroom plan is now entirely back on track, woo!) Final result: Successful IKEA-trip, because now I have to go back in a month and get the rest of the stuff that we need.

P.P.S. This was a completely unnecessary post. I just really like talking about IKEA.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October

I have such a soft spot in my heart for October. May, September and December used to be my favourite months of the year - but I'm starting to wonder if October isn't pretty high up there on the list as well... Not only is October beautiful in this country (Northern Ireland, you're looking well in that orange outfit of your's) but there is so many great things that come with it; fall clothes, appropriate amounts of coffee- and teadrinking, amazing colours, Halloween and school is still exciting after the long summer hiatus.

All pictures from my Pinterest.

In October I finally received the news that we would get the house that we really wanted. In October me and Steve looked for our inner nerds and created a Star Wars themed Halloween costume. In October I started taking driving lessons again for the first time in six years. In October I finished Swimming Home and Brave New World. October was a really good month.

Here's hoping that November is just as good.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Reading week Wednesday

Today I've been to a birthday party for Steve's youngest niece who turned two years old today. (She is one of very few people in this country that I have known since birth and so I consider her birthday a huge deal.) The actual birthday party was at one of those indoor-playground-style locations that you rent and then games and food are organised for you. This meant other kids ran about as well. When I was helping someone with their food I suddenly felt a sneeze on the back of my knee. I looked down and this random kid was grinning up at me, traces of snot on him (the rest of it presumably on my tights). I felt positively ill. Fair enough if it's snot belonging to someone I know...

Also, despite stuffing myself all day I now want food. Soup, to be more specific. Weird craving.

Picture from my Pinterest.

I am not going out tonight because Steve wouldn't be able to join me and also I can't be bothered. Instead I've been enjoying answering the door to trick-or-treaters and handing out sweets. (And stealing some for myself in between visitors.) Obviously this simultaneously allows me to daydream about this time next year, for which I plan to turn my house into the haunted house and any trick-or-treaters peering in will see nothing but cobweb and spooky shadows shuffling about in the background. (Steve getting drinks, no doubt.) At that point I'll appear with sweets, witch outfit and preferably a black cat in my arms. We'll be known as the neighborhood weirdos.

House planning has progressed immensely. Panicking has reached new heights as I realise how small my budget is for this house and there will not be much bedroom-choosing as I can't really afford anything for it. Joy! (Sarcasm aside, it's still really fun to plan my house. House decorating on a tight budget - I have never turned down a challenge before. Unless it involves exercising.)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bedroom angst

Last night I decided to relax by doing some planning for how to decorate my house. I've had my bedroom decorated in my head for months - and all the products that I needed were picked out. I just needed to know that I was definitely getting my house and do some online ordering. 

Unfortunately it turns out that the bedding that I wanted is no longer sold. I'm ashamed to admit it but I was distraught. It took me a very long time to find that particular type of bedding and it doesn't seem like an easy task to find a suitable replacement. So now I'm considering abandoning my previous plan and going for a completely different style. 

From my Pinterest.

Contemporary, simple IKEA-glory with lots of gray and white? Lexington-meets-boy-with-scouting-badges (checkered bedding and lots of natural accents)? Please bare with me and my nonsensical descriptions of rooms. I'm sure it's difficult to imagine without any pictures. The issue is that we will have dark walls in a warm, slate colour in the bedroom because our heart is already set on it and I want to experiment with one non-white room. Additionally, we probably can't afford a new bed and so taking Steve's current bed in his parents' house seems like the most likely option (which is a great, comfortable and very expensive bed). This bed has a beige-y type of fabric covering the headboard. In other words, in a perfect world both the bedding and the walls should fit naturally with the rest of the room. Oh, it can't be too expensive either. 

Piece of cake.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Super exciting news



Hey, see that house? Guess who that house belongs to. Me. Not joking.

Well actually, technically it belongs to Steve because he's the guy with the money but he's nice and he's going to let me live in it as long as I pay half of the mortgage. And technically it doesn't belong to him yet because first a solicitor has to look at it and then he has to talk to the bank and it's going to take an eternity (or four to six weeks) before we can actually sign a contract and then move in. BUT, we have our mortgage approved and our offer has been accepted. This has been in the works for a looong time, people. Since August, actually. When I bid on a sweater on Ebay I live in constant fear of getting outbid and losing that sweater. So you can imagine what a wreck I've been waiting for this house! And I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to get my hopes up and then not get the house. Sorry about that all you Swedes (and anyone else) who reads this blog.

It's perfect though. Small, but perfect, with a front room, a kitchen and two bedrooms. And a tiny garden, small enough for us to handle but large enough to host a BBQ for two in the summertime. It needs repainting and some small things fixed but other than that, it's perfect. From now on you can look forward to me posting amateur moodboards and furniture that I want but can't afford.

In other news, Steve took me out for lunch to The Fat Gherkin today and the food was really amazing. At some point I think my belt broke and I didn't even notice. I'm assuming belt-damage is a good sign for a lunch place.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Halloween


Halloween is over for me for this year as I can't go out on Wednesday (although I might try to whip up something with pumpkins in it to make the evening a little more festive) and although I love Halloween, I can't help but breathe a sigh of relief. Somehow I managed to imply that I was a creative sewing/painting goddess a week beforehand and as such I couldn't say no to helping Steve creating his obscure Star Wars costume. That is, create a Darth Nihilus mask from scratch and sew a hood and cape that was then fastened on to a black robe. It was fun, but stressful and left me with about 90 minutes to organise my own costume, the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Luckily I had bought the hat online and all I had to do was spray my hair orange, fashion a bow and a card which says 10/6 (the card was lost in the taxi on my way to the Halloween party - I imagine the taxi driver will not figure out the meaning of that card in the first place). The party itself ended late and today has been spent nursing a sore body after last night's antics. Good thing Halloween only comes around once a year.

I have a busy reading week to look forward to, but also hopefully some good news to announce tomorrow that I've been dying to write about. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Ten reasons to smile 6.0

I need one of these today and I'm not even sure why. Go go happy blog post, make me cheerful!



One - Eight days left of waiting and it might not be good news but at least it'll be NEWS.

Two - I have decided on my Halloween costume and it's the perfect balance of tapping in to some type of creativity, not too expensive and is a favourite of mine. And I don't think anyone else is likely to dress the same but it's also not obscure. Like Steve's. I don't even know what he's dressing up as and I'm helping him with the costume.

Three - I'm off today which means I'm treating myself to watching Gilmore Girls (on seventh and last season now, getting dangerously close to not having anything to watch) before I start studying.

Four - My thesis project is on a brilliant subject. Well, I mean, I think so. Anyone else interested in children's phoneme recognition? You should be.

Five - Bruce (my iPhone) is still whole which may seem perfectly normal since I got him less than six days ago but let me tell you, I'm actually a bit surprised. Accident-prone is my middle name.

Six - I'm having pizza today, my new favourite thing to have for dinner. I use a recipe from a beautiful mess and it is unbelievably easy. Apart from making the pizza anything like a circle shape. I have yet to master that.

Seven - I was sitting here, writing my blog post and minding my own business when suddenly a head popped up, right next to me, on the other side of the window. I nearly got a heart attack but the more I think of it, the funnier it is. My face must've been priceless to the window cleaner. Shouldn't they warn you first though?

Eight - Two of my driving lessons are finished and I've survived them both. Next one is tomorrow and I'm terrified. But the odds are with me, I'm likely to survive this one too.

Nine - I made cinnamon buns the other day with fresh yeast rather than the yeast I found in Steve's mom's cupboard and they turned out good! So it's not my baking ability that's suffering, it's old yeast that's suffering, if that even makes sense.

Ten - Making an effort to thinking of these tiny things that make me happy really worked. It sounds like the window cleaners are trying to break in downstairs but I'm keeping calm and I'll die happy if it turns out that they're actually here for murder and robbery. Good stuff! (By the way, nine and a half weeks left until Christmas!)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

One of those rare, happy posts

I had to do a post today because I had such a good day. Lately I've been making an effort to try to be more positive so that at the end of each day I can cheer myself up and go "well I might be stressed out BUT I did enjoy that cookie I bought this morning". Or maybe something less pathetic as a happiness-source (but cookies really do make a world of difference). Anyway, then a day like this comes along and I just go overload on positive feelings. That doesn't happen often to me (unless it's Christmas).

Steve came home from his business trip yesterday. So that's actually a happy thing that happened yesterday but it was nice to see him this morning and know that he is back in the country and whenever I'm reminded of this fact it really cheers me up. I don't mean to sound so soppy. I'm totally aware that I can survive without him (and I enjoy having the occasional evening to myself) but long working days for him without that many opportunities for a quick text-catch up really makes me feel like I've got three days of information that has filled me to the brim and I need to tell him about my exciting life asap. And now he's back, to my service!

I had my first driving lesson this morning. Long story short; I practiced driving a couple of times when I had just turned 16 years old. I was terrified. It's only recently that I realised where it went wrong because I got the idea of driving no problem, the person instructing me was doing a good job, but I had major confidence issues when it came to me behind the wheels. I still do. I feel like a prayer is necessary for all the pedestrians that may be stepping outside the door every time I go near a car. So after a couple of driving sessions of which I left each with my legs shaking and feeling like a wreck, I postponed the next one. I was so successful at postponing the next lesson that it didn't happen until today, six years later. (Obviously other things hindered me, such as actually paying for the license, not just my mental state). Today, however, I feel is a turning point. I went to a lesson and although I was terrified I still managed to do everything that was asked of me. And a small part of me enjoyed it. A huge part of me enjoys entertaining the thought of being able to drive in a year. Good motivation.

After a quick change and a couple of flighty texts about my driving lesson I took a brisk walk down to the local primary school. Steve's niece goes to the school and I had promised to visit the class and talk a little bit about Sweden as they were studying the country for the week. At that point I was so nervous that I would gladly had driven for another hour, but I really shouldn't have been. It turns out that once I stand in front of 50 children and get to talk about Sweden, I can keep going without any problems. After half an hour of talking all the children got to ask me questions (like "What is the most popular type of pet in Sweden?", "Does Sweden have Sky?" and "Have you ever seen the Northern Lights?") and that kept us going for another half hour. The time flew by and I got a card as well as a box of chocolates for my troubles. I had so much fun!

Lastly, I received a call from a local O2 shop saying that they had received two iPhone 5s in stock and me and Steve were both desperate to get one each. Steve wanted one because he always wants the latest iPhone and I wanted one because I've been using a half-functioning phone that currently has to have its back off otherwise the sim won't work in it. So I got my iPhone. I finally caught up with the rest of the world and got a fully functioning phone that can do everything that other phones can do. I don't think I'll ever do coursework on the train again, now that I have my iPhone. Materialistic happiness.

So that was my day and all in all it was a really good one. There's just no way that tomorrow could be as good but I'm going to try to keep an open mind. (Plus it's almost weekend).

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Happy 3-years anniversary Belfast


Today is exactly three years since I moved into my very own flat in Belfast. I may have moved out of that rat-infested (and unfortunately lacking any kind of insulation) godforsaken flat and now I'm out of Belfast as well but it still holds a very special place in my heart. I will always prefer Belfast to Dublin, no matter what others think. It's a small and intimate city, yet it has pretty much anything you'd ever need. Belfast has the charm of that town not yet discovered by the tourist masses and as such it still has the curiosity and welcoming aspect that a bigger city spoiled with tourists now lacks.

In Belfast I've had such good times over the last few years, especially once I became a university student but even before that. It's the most welcoming city I can think of and I hope that I will always feel at home when I'm there. Obviously there's a downside to living there, the expense and the fact that living in a university area does not always have a great appeal... But I do miss it. The closeness of anything that you could possibly need. There was a time that me and Steve had drinks and then decided that we wanted Mexican food at 2 am. It took us less than two minutes to find an open burrito-place. Who can't love a city where there's always burritos available? (I can't vouch for the quality of the food though.) I have walked home alone in the middle of the night several times without ever feeling scared and that is so rare in a city.

And at this time of the year I'm always extra grateful for Belfast because it's at its best in early October. With the flaming red trees and the excited buzz coming from students who haven't yet spent their entire student loan, Belfast really shapes up in comparison to the rest of the year. Oh Belfast, you babe. We're still going strong after three years together and I'm so happy for everything that you have given me; friends, home, unforgettable memories, slightly dodgy food, and multiple take-away coffees from Botanic Avenue. What more could I ask from you?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How to decide to go to Paris

It was late and it was dark, and we were sitting by my kitchen table in the old flat. My mom had arrived to Belfast earlier that day and we had just finished a meal that I made for us (the kind of novel unselfishness only seen in daughters when they haven't seen their mothers in a long time). I believe that we had tried some of my wine and then we probably cried a bit because that's the kind of people we are. The crying kind. And then we probably had some more wine. All the wine drinking and crying lead to us deciding that we wanted to go to Paris. Fortunately neither of us had money for it otherwise we would probably have booked it right there and then.

As all good ideas decided over a shared bottle of red wine it wasn't mentioned for a few days after that. Someone eventually brought it up and the sheer foolishness had us laughing and then sit in silence. And then we hypothetically thought about the cost and the sentimental value of the hypothetical trip (and it turns out that cost really has very little to say about anything once sentimental value comes around). After a lot of deliberation, pondering and flight-searching from us (the flight-searching was mainly me. I'm sorry if you're reading this mom, but you are awful at finding flights. Horrific, really) we realised that this could very well happen. One person travels from Copenhagen, one from Dublin and they meet up in Paris for three days.

Six weeks later the flights and the hotel is booked and I have a trip to Paris to look forward to.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Still alive

Image from here.

I am terrible at blogging. Once again I fall into that trap of writing lots here when nothing happens, and then when things do happen I can't seem to write anything at all. I don't even have time now, I'm about to take the train to Belfast to meet up with my old housemates from first year for a fancy dinner somewhere followed up by drinks. The perfect ending to a very calm weekend (we had a take-away and tv-night last night instead of going out like normal young people. We weren't feeling well, really.)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Ten reasons to smile 5.0

Image from here.

One - University starts in less than a week! I feel so ready to study and take lots of great notes and read all the recommended reading as soon as I get home from my lectures rather than waiting until a week before exams.

Two - I have several pairs of whole tights. This may seem silly but I've been promoted from wearing tights full of holes to nice, new, still-completely-whole tights. It's one of the best feelings ever.

Three - It's pretty much autumn now. I keep catching myself thinking it's still August, and then I realise that no, it's actually one of my favourite months ever. Just the word autumn could lead to another ten sub-reasons to smile, but I feel like maybe that would be cheating. So, to keep it brief; hot food, scarves, good tv, coziness, best fashion season, pumpkin galore, back to school-feeling, good colours, cinnamon on all edible stuff, warmth inside, cold outside.

Four - Also autumn means it's only fourteen weeks until Christmas. I've already started planning Christmas gifts.

Five - To be going to work. It's not a glamorous job and I'm certainly not becoming rich but I'm so happy to have a job. Plus I have the best colleagues and (sometimes) customers.

Six - Saying that, I am very grateful to have a lie-in on Thursday because I'm working late!

Seven - Plans. It's all very secret, but I know and it's a reason to smile.

Eight - Coming home after work and having dinner made for you. Good, homemade dinners that someone else has organised.

Nine - Train trips are made for waking up properly, eating a banana, reading a book or subtly staring at your co-passengers.

Ten - Buying gifts. One of the best things about having money. Guess who's started planning Christmas presents?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

week 37


Image from here.

The week has gone by so quickly, there is just no time for writing anything on this blog. Not that there is a huge amount to write about. I finished another book which I will write about here at some point. I had a fire drill at work right before I was supposed to finish for the day and had to stay a lot longer than I wanted to. My boyfriend and I returned to our "operation eating healthy" and it is so much harder to not eat lots of buns and cakes when you know that you shouldn't eat them.

So far my fashion rules are going very well. Almost too well. I had convinced Steve to bring me to an outlet shopping centre today in hope of getting a couple of great bargains and I left with absolutely nothing. Every time I picked up a piece of clothing I found myself thinking "do I really need this?" The answer is more often than not "no". (This makes me feel like a great person sticking to their decisions but the feat of not buying clothes today probably diminishes when reminded of the fact that I bought a scarf and earrings yesterday. Still, accessories was part of my decision, so I forgive myself for that.) Also, as it is an outlet, most of the clothes offered were suited for a summer wardrobe (which I barely like even in the summer) and very little was in my size. Plus I had a boyfriend waiting outside on a bench together with a number of other boyfriends/husbands. How very stereotypical. 

I've worked an extra 17,5 hours at work plus a couple of days of annual leave so that I can be paid full-time for another two weeks once university has started, yet have time to go to all of my classes. Very handy. I also received my thesis supervisor yesterday and I can't complain. Going back to university has felt very far away for so many months but it suddenly dawned upon me that I only have another week of freedom before the pressure of final year sets in. (As if it hasn't already). In all honesty I love the excitement of going back to school. I like getting into new routines, new notepads and new modules. As a bonus point I have chosen all of my modules this year which means no weak subjects to sweat over. (Yes, Biology, I'm looking at you.) 

At some point when I have time left over I would like to do a small makeover of this blog. I chose the colours in February when I had a crush on spring and the promise of warmer weather. Now I just want shades of gray and a have-a-cup-of-tea-and-a-warm-sweater kind of feeling on this blog. We'll see. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Fashion decisions

This is quite a shallow post, and not really about my life or anything like that. So possibly not interesting at all for many of my regular readers who peak at my blog just to make sure that I'm, you know, still living and sleeping regular times etc.

I can't be bothered writing properly because after a full working week (+ x hours overtime) my head feels pretty melted. My brain's like ice cream. Every second a little bit more melts away and I'm writing without any second thoughts about petty things like grammar, incorrect choices of words or curiously long sentences.

As I am typing this I am also trying to make a few sensible fashion decisions. I have a major issue with clothes. And money. It's mainly a money-problem but it has disastrous consequences for my wardrobe. My life story goes something like this: Get money, buy a bunch of things that I want spur of the moment-style and then never want to wear again, run out of money, have no clothes that I like for four months and then boom, I get money again.

So I've decided to give myself rules.

I need to stretch the items I already have. As in try wearing the dresses I have with sweaters on top. Update my summer wardrobe with tights. Try layering my t-shirts. I have a ridiculous amount of clothes and I'm sure some of it is perfectly fine to wear even though it's hard to believe sometimes.

I will focus on buying pieces that I can see myself wearing for a long long time. (Here's where my promise of buying a trenchcoat comes in handy. Definitely long-lasting fall-piece.) That said, I'm allowed to give into trends, but not ridiculous ones that won't last longer than a season and I'm definitely not allowed to spend bigger amounts of money on it.

Also focus on buying accessories rather than a new stripey t-shirts. "Hello, my name is Nicole and I have about seven stripey t-shirts hanging in my current wardrobe. And yes, they are all white and marine." That tenner that I previously spent on an unassuming t-shirt will now be spent on belts, necklaces or scarves.

No money spending midweek. It's not a good idea to come home tired after work and buying a little "pick me up". It's fine to look at clothes during the week (in fact, this is encouraged to make even more sensible fashion choices) but no spending.

I am not allowed to look at clothes, pick a few items that I would like to have and then buy them immediately. Instead I will pick my clothes, and then wait a day so that my brain has a chance to interfere with any unnecessary and possibly unhealthy buys. I can't count how many times I have decided to buy something, then gotten held up and not returned to my laptop until the day after only to think "that sequin sweater really won't be worn that much" and removed it from my online shopping cart.

There we go. Five new rules to live my life by. Speaking of my life, I'm still living and sleeping at regular times. Just so you know.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

August

I want this print from Miss Capricho.

In August I started working at my new job. I now get up at quarter to seven each morning, I wear pencil skirts and blouses almost everyday and I make salads with pasta or tuna that I put in small containers for easy lunch at work. During my morning break I have a cup of coffee (almost every day), I take turns going on lunch early and I scribble all my customers' names on a notepad so that I can remember them later. All in all, I love all these new routines.

In August I got my first pay for a very long time. The first thing I did was to buy foundation, concealer and mascara, and today I felt so good about myself when I realised that my face wasn't shiny with grease by the end of the work day. What am I doing with the rest of the money? Planning. I look at things online, consider buying them, and then I leave the website. Planning is almost better than buying. 

In August my mom visited for five whole days. I kept her company while she shopped for eight hours straight and as a reward she got me a white dress. Two of the days she made me and Steve dinner so that when we came home from work there was food ready for the table. Even the day that she left for the airport I came home to find dinner, ready to be heated up even though she wasn't there. One of the days she went on a Belfast tour and spent the entire evening telling us facts about Belfast that we already knew.

In August I cut my hair so that it only reaches my collarbones, which feels like a pretty big step from having hair that covered almost all of my back. I realised the other night that I miss my long hair, but I don't regret cutting it at all. It feels so much healthier, and washing my hair is still a novelty. The new plan is to let it grow a little longer (but not quite as long as before) as slowly as possible, keeping it nice and healthy. 

In August I moved out of my beloved flat in Belfast and me and Steve are temporarily living with his parents. It was not what I had planned, but I don't want to rush into a home that isn't right for us. I don't like having all of my things packed into boxes, but I do like not having to worry about heating or TV bills. And new things are on the horizon. 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Tonight I am...

... reading blogs to get some cooking as well as hair inspiration. (Random combination.)

... listening to Steve practicing his Swedish. He is currently learning words used in the kitchen. (Having some trouble saying the word "ugn".)

... looking forward to as well as dreading work tomorrow. I finish at 8pm. I haven't worked an 11 hour day since 2009.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ten reasons to smile 4.0


This picture from pinterest is actually an eleventh reason to smile.

One - I have a job! Yes, it's true, I finally have something to do until university starts again. Oh, and it's full-time. And decently paid. And it's not breaking me down slowly.

Two - There is a small house available soon that we desperately want although we won't know for another two weeks.

Three - The first moving box is packed. I feel like I'm on a roll now.

Four - I am wearing my new lipstick that I received in my latest Glossybox. Fancy Sunday.

Five - In two weeks me and Steve celebrate three years of going out so I'm busy planning where we should have our anniversary meal.

Six - A customer praised me extra-nicely the other day at work and I was all "oh thank you but really it was nothing".

Seven - When my mom was over she gave me a vintage tea set, a new umbrella and a lovely white dress from House of Frasier.

Eight - I got my hair cut so that it's only to my collarbones and I'm very pleased to suddenly have hair that doesn't take ages to brush through.

Nine - I had a spectacular time going out with Steve's sisters last week for a birthday meal and then dessert to top it off. Got home at 11pm on a school night!

Ten - In line with a promise to myself to be healthier I've eaten salad everyday for lunch. Smugness self-afflicted. (Totally conflicting with reason no 9 that mentions dessert!)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Liebster Award

So ages ago my friend Kathryn tagged me for the Liebster Award and I've never heard of it but I do like lists and although I'm unbelievably intimidated by all the beauty and fashion questions I'm going to answer it anyway. In other words - this is still just my ordinary lifestyle blog for friends and family and myself and I'm not an expert in anything beauty and fashion related. However, feel free to visit my friend's blog if you want to read about that sort of stuff because her blog is excellent.

First out is 11 Things About Myself:

One - I once did a "100 things about myself" list on my old blog (back in 2007 or so). It was long. Maybe I should do one again.

Two - I am very close to my two younger brothers. Unfortunately we don't live in the same country and so most of my conversations with them takes place by phone or through chatting on Facebook (which is why I can't get rid of that darn Facebook - I would if I didn't have so many people at home in Sweden to keep in contact with.) Anyhow, for me personally I feel like I've almost gotten closer to them by not seeing them so often. Sometimes I feel like perhaps I took them for granted when I lived at home and now I truly appreciate them. They are 18 and 14 years old and such good people. Immensely proud of my close relatives.

Three - I have an abundance of freckles and moles. The freckles doesn't bother me but if I had lots of money those moles would be on their way out asap. Bothersome.

Four - I love food. If I could afford it I would probably eat all the time. It's at the point of getting ridiculous.. Ten minutes after finishing a very filling dinner I am willing to try a second portion! I'd often complain about not getting the same super metabolism as the others in my family but really, it must be pretty good because with the amount of eating and the amount of not-doing-exercise I should be the size of a house.

Five - I cry a lot. It's not necessarily crying because of bad things, it can just as easily be caused by a happy things or by children singing on television. When I recently re-watched Meet Joe Black I cried seven times. Seven.

Six - I have lived in five countries so far. (Excluding the republic of Ireland because it was only for a month and I never had an actual address there.)

Seven - I am really organised and messy at the same time. This means that sometimes I postpone my bathroom cleaning for a week or leave the dinner dishes to do well into the next day. Steve and I have also found old food containers in the fridge that had nuclear potential. I hate cleaning, it's a necessary evil that's taken years of practice to get into the habit of doing. (Trust me - no one would've wanted to see my first dorm room I had when I was at university in Sweden. It was probably toxic.) I love being organised though and so I make lists of the things I need to do everyday, every single piece of paper I receive (bills, statements, information) is sorted into one out of a dozen folders that I have and I rely on a calendar for pretty much everything in my life.

Eight - I used to play lots of video games. It's now been replaced by watching TV and pinning. Lots of pinning.

Nine - I do things very hastily because I'm impatient. This means I'm not well-suited for advanced crafting, any delicate baking or even carrying eggs from the fridge to the table.

Ten - I used to have a lip piercing. That's how cool I was.

Eleven - I do a lot of reading. My biggest issue is that I generally read several books at once and so sometimes I forget about books and leave them for almost a year. Another big issue is that a lot of my coursework involves reading and so reading for pleasure is sort of pushed to the side.

Now, the questions that I was tagged for:


1. Biggest fashion faux-pas? - There's so many of them and I still do them all the time. Once I wore baggy knee-high jeans with pumps. That was pretty bad.

2. Favourite fashion icon? - Ooooh, such difficult questions! As I'm on a quest to embrace more colour in my life, Zooey Deschanel is definitely a fashion icon that I adore.

3. Favourite fashion trend? - I'm all for the 90s trends at the moment.

4. Beauty (or other) blogger inspiration? - I follow so many blogs that give me lots of inspiration. To mention a few; Keiko Lynn, Lisaplace, Zoella, Sprinkle of Glitter, Nat the Fat Rat, Niotillfem, Ebba Zingmark. And that's a very small sample.

5. Favourite beauty or make up product? - I love my Book of Shadows from Urban Decay. I use Sellout, YDK and Twice Baked pretty much everyday.

6. Favourite make up brand? - I tend to go to different brands for different beauty items but one of my favourites is Rimmel London.

7. What would be your idea of the perfect day? - Waking up without feeling exhausted, having breakfast in a sunny garden, eating ice cream and reading books in the sunshine, having a BBQ and then either going out with my friends or stock up on unhealthy foodstuffs and movies.

8.  Summer or winter? - Winter until Christmas is over.

9. Favourite colour? - Dark blue.

10. What's your signature scent? - I don't really consider myself having a "signature scent" but as I have several perfumes by Nina Ricci that I wear often that would probably be it.

11. Will you do the Liesbter award again? - I don't think I'd survive it!