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 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.