Valentine’s Day

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Today is Valentine’s day. I’ve never been a fan of this day, to be honest. So today I’ll be grabbing my husband and head on over to a friend’s place for a party where we get to talk, laugh and dance with a beautiful bunch of people.

The candle lit dinner with my husband? That’ll never happen on V-Day. But about every other week we take a night to ourselves, treat ourselves to a decently nice dinner and talk. It’s awesome.

On that note – time to go help out with the last party prepping. Enjoy your Friday night!
xo.
Stina

Between an end a new beginning

I forgot that Sweden is so gray during winter. These images were snapped during one of the brief hours of light the other day. I was visiting Peter’s family up north.

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It starts to get light outside at about 10am, the sun rises (ever so slightly) above the horizon at about 11am. This is sunrise people.

2013 is coming to an end and I’m way too tired + busy to try to summarize it all. It has been a roller coaster, in a great way. It started with family visiting in Australia and will end with family in Sweden. In between we’ve managed to visit a few countries, different parts of Oz, find new friends and get closer to some, find routines and I got myself a new office. It’s been a year of settling, and now I feel I’m in a place that I really love. I can only hope that 2014 will be even close to as great as 2013 has been.

See you all on the other side of the new year!

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Random snaps – pastry face, raspberries and Daisy

It’s been a wee while since I posted properly. Not that the advent posts aren’t posts, but you know, it’s not what I’d normally do. The last few weeks have been pretty intense. I got to know Lani not that long ago, but she quickly became an important regular in my life. Only problem: she left the country on Sunday. I therefore jumped on any opportunity to hang out before Sunday. It put the blog in the crossfire, but you know what? I don’t really care.

Today I’m just doing a wee bit of house cleaning, before I start sharing the pictures from last weekend. It’s just three random snaps that I though deserved to not be forgotten.

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First out a bunch of pastries Angela brought over last week. She was heading over to help me do the photo book we created for Lani’s goodbye, and she brought some great stuff. Two (possibly over sweet) cronuts, a Ghana milk chocolate macaroon and a long chocolate pastry. The long one, oh my. That one really hit the spot. I’m even contemplating giving up cronuts for good for it. Yum!

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Our raspberry bush! I thought it was dead, but turns out it wasn’t. It took about 3 weeks, but it’s back at the same size as it was when we got it, and seems to be doing great!

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Since Lani left I’m the day auntie of this little cutie, Daisy. As I’m writing this she’s actually curled up asleep next to me. I’ve been wanting to have an animal again, but as we’re quite certain we won’t stay in Australia for the next 10 years or so, it wouldn’t be fair to get an animal just to give it away later. This is the perfect combo. I get snuggles, kisses and chases during the day without having to take on a full time animal. Although I admit that come evening time, it’s awfully lonely without the clicking of her paws on the hardwood, or her warm, fishy breath against your cheek.

My 2013 Advent Calendar

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As a kid in Sweden we always get an advent calendar. Well, not everyone does, but in my family we got that. Quite a few of the swedish blogs I follow are doing a blog calendar this year. Which means one post each day leading up to christmas on a specific subject. I’ve decided to give one a go. Therefore it’ll be two posts a day each day up until December 24th (the day we celebrate xmas in Sweden).

I’ve decided to use a calendar originally from Jenny, but I found via Apple, Dear?. I have adjusted it somewhat though, as I don’t have any kids. This is the schedule:

Some are best of 2013…
1. Best book
2. Best workout event
3. Favourite photo
4. Best meal
5. Share a memory from your childhood
6. Best event
7. What I hope for in 2014
8. This is how I tried to make society better
9. Best song
10. Tv shows I’ve been following
11. News that touched me
12. Share a memory of feeling lonely
13. The best thing(s) about Peter
14. Share a memory of feeling loved
15. The worst thing(s) about Peter
16. My job 2013
17. Best travel memory
18. My birthday
19. What I want for Christmas
20. The best friend event
21. Political position
22. Blog crush
23. Do this better 2014 than 2013
24. This is what I think Christmas eve 2014 will look like.

This means I will soon spam you with 3 posts, as it’s already December 3rd and I’m late. Sorry about that ahead of time.

In the middle of all that chitchat, there it was. A meeting.

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Every week I meet up with Sandra, my fellow co-founder of Klaus and Fritz. We call it our editorial meeting, and sure we go through the planned posts for the upcoming weeks + any other things we need to discuss. But probably around half the time is spent just talking. About our lives, ideas, plans and challenges. I wouldn’t call it very efficient, but it’s always really, really nice.

We tend to meet up at different cafes. Partly because we then can feature them on said site, but also because, well, it’s so darn nice. This week we headed to Wall 280 in Balaclava, sipped on our chai lattes and weren’t quiet a single moment. Just like it should be.

Who could live without it, I ask in all honesty. What would life be?

131128-RandomStuff-1I went through the pictures from my camera from the last few days and found this one. + it was thanksgiving the other day and that got me thinking.

On Tuesday we went out for dinner together. It was the first time just me and him did that in such a long time. I had almost forgotten how great it is. Well I hadn’t, but still, you know. A few snaps of him in the setting sun was all I took that night because after that I was too busy talking, laughing and discussing.

It’s been 7 years, 4 months and 20 or 16 days (hey, I can’t remember the exact date) since the first time I met him. Our relationship has lasted through 5 apartments/houses, 3 jobs each, 1 cancelled wedding and 1 actual wedding. I don’t know what my life would look like without him, but I’m certain it wouldn’t be even close to as good as it is right now. Thank you for being my best friend, my challenger, my supporter and quite possibly the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

To make this less sappy, here’s a list of things that I’m also thankful for:

  • Arnolds first movie, Hercules in New York. It’s bananas!
  • Friends that will crazy dance with you.
  • Enjoying crisp sauv blanc on a sunny arvo at a rooftop bar.
  • That I dared go freelance
  • Also that I dared to stop working overtime all the time
  • Our snowpeas + our raspberry bush that are both still alive + kinda thriving (me = garden god!)
  • That I have my books again. <3 books

With that said, I’m going to get myself ready. I’ve got my first photography gig today which scares me shitless. Cross your fingers, alright?

The year of the fear

I’m one of the pickiest eaters out there. The list of foods I don’t like is kind of long, making me feel like the worst vegetarian ever. This never really bothered me until a few years ago when I felt a bit inhibited by not appreciating, erhm, most of the stuff that was offered to vegetarians in restaurants. So I came up with a plan. I was going to do theme years to try to learn to eat or drink things that I really didn’t appreciate before.

The first year was the year of the olive. It went quite fine and nowadays I sometimes crave olives (hey, you saw them here). This year is the year of the red wine and 11 months in I think it went beyond my expectations. I will happily drink, and appreciate, red wines, although if I have to pick, I definitely prefer Shiraz. I think next year will be the year of the capsicum. It’s probably my most hated vegetable, but the one I feel like I’m missing out on the most.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a post about stuff I stuff my face with. It was supposed to be about fears. Because the other day I thought “why not apply this to my fears”. I’m thinking of it as self-induced CBT.

I don’t feel as inhibited by my fears as the food (it’s simply a shorter list), but still. If I can rid myself of at least part of my fears, or even make them more manageable, then I’m game. Here’s what’s on my list:

  • Heights
  • Death
  • Darkness
  • Zombies (which goes hand in hand with the previous bullet point)

First out is heights. I think this will be the easiest one to get rid off. Compared to a couple of years ago it already feels like I’ve come a long way. Still not where I want to be though.

Next step is to come up with some kind of action plan. Any height related suggestions for me? Steep cliffs are the worst, so I’ll keep them for last. Or maybe I should go at ’em first?

Balanced

I read a post about balance by Hanna of Take me to the sun yesterday. My first reaction (and my comment) was that I didn’t do balance either. Because that’s always been the case. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had way too much to do. I’m the one kind of annoying of your friends that you need to schedule an evening with at least 2 weeks in advance.

And it wasn’t all about my personal life either. I was the same when working. Always going all in, never settling for half-assing it, working loads of over time.

I thought I’d calm down when we moved to Ghana. Part of the motivation for the move (at least for me) was just that. In retrospect, we (I) failed miserably. I’ve never worked as much as I did there. The very reason why I left Sweden ended up being the very reason I left Ghana.

In comes Australia. And it’s not Australia per se, it’s me not moving to another country with a job lined up. This is the first time I opted to do ‘nothing’ for a while. And I did do nothing. For someone who’s always had a super busy schedule this was quite a change. It affected me in so many ways. One day I was bored. The next super frustrated and just wanted to WORK. The third I was angry and the fourth I was ecstatic. You could say it was an emotional roller coaster ride.

It didn’t help that looking for a job here was painful. I’ve never really applied for any job before (I know, I’m spoilt) so starting this process without any contacts and with an african job recently on my resume sometimes felt like smashing my forehead into a brick wall. It hurt.

I’m thankful for it now though. I’m thankful I finally had the guts to go freelance. Because I make my own hours now. Sure, I’m not up and running full speed yet, that’s still some way to go, but I’m heading there. I do all my work within business hours. I never work full time. And I’ve never before had so much energy to go out and do stuff. Which means I’m as happy as I’ve ever been.

On that note, just got a text that I’m meeting a friend in 10 min. Time to sign off, close the computer, pack up my stuff and go out and be balanced. The word looks silly, but I’m darned happy about being in that balanced spot.

<3 Daisy

If anyone has a splendid idea on how to best steal a dog without the owner noticing (the owner also being your friend), drop me an email, will you?

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Have you seen that spot? Well, how could you miss it, really? It’s the most amazing little spot I’ve ever seen.

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Three years of Novembers

A while back I wrote this post about it closing in to three years since we left Sweden. To honour that 3 year mark, I wanted to check what I’ve been doing the last three Novembers.

2010

This is our last year in Sweden. The year itself was quite amazing and filled with moments I’ll forever treasure, like our wedding, or our trip to Ethiopia. Or the pieces of cake and bubbly we enjoyed when landing the job in Ghana. In November we were in full swing with move preparations. I stopped working mid way through November. Whenever we weren’t packing, checking on our visa or other practical stuff, we spent time with our friends and family.

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Like here. Based on the pictures I saved, there were a bunch of hangouts with my parents, my brothers and my niece and nephew. Like here when they spent a wee while checking out an old photo album.

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There was also time for fun and games. A week or so before I left my job I borrowed the work Wii a night and we played and played. It was crazy popular.

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Always time for dancing!

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Since we would celebrate Christmas in Ghana, we had a mini Christmas celebration with my family. We did everything we usually do: set the table nicely, drink wine, do a puzzle and eat chinese food.

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My sister in law puzzling away!

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In the middle of the mini xmas we found some peace and quiet. This month was so, so, so crazy and stressed and it was so needed.

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My dad is the best cook! He’s in charge of making that fabulous Chinese dish every year. Although, come to think of it, I think I’ve had it for the very last time. I’ve been a pescetarian for the last 15 years, but last year I stopped eating fish as well. Uh oh! Oh well. I’ll survive.

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The breakfast the morning after fake Christmas. There’s something about Swedish brekkies that I miss immensely. Everyone sitting around the table, going to get something else, pondering a part of the newspaper, muttering a sentence every now and then.

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We tried to get as many cuddles as we could from our cats. In this picture, Ella. <3

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I also scheduled in one of our famous sibling beers. When I lived in Sweden we used to do them fairly regularly and oh my they were the best. Sure I met up with my brothers at family events, but getting to hang out with them all on our own wasn’t all that common. So we started this tradition which was amazing. We had so much fun.

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This our last sibling beer (we haven’t had one since! I’m now trying to schedule on for Xmas, I totally need that) was held at the incredibly kitschy bar Peppar in Stockholm. I love that place. I supped on a daiquiri.

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November also included a party. It was Ylwas birthday, and that needed celebrating. We enjoyed punch which wasn’t heated, only stored in a big pot. It was a lot of punch, okay?

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Here’s Ylwa herself!

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It was a fab party with quizzes, delish food and overall amazing fun. What I’ll remember most is kind of captured in this picture though. The last half hour or so a couple of us were sitting on the kitchen floor. I have no idea what we were talking about but I remember not being able to stop laughing.

2011

We’d almost been a full year in Ghana. We were getting used to it all, but at the same time it was starting to get to us.

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My parents came and visited us in November. Dad had already visited us once before (and would come one more time before we left) and was kind of in his essence here. Mum avoids cameras like the plague, so no pictures of her. We left Accra and headed off to Akosombo. The water you see behind Daddy-o is a big dam. It’s one of the biggest in the world if I remember correctly (and I’m too lazy to google it now)

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Driving and driving

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I miss the lush look of mango trees. I also miss the big, fresh mangoes. I’ve never had such good mangoes ever, before or after.

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We made a friend.

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Me and dad at our local Indian restaurant. Not that you can see that we’re at a restaurant but we are. We went there at least once a week and I miss it like crazy. Such good food! Such amazing service. Plus, so close to home. It was a win, win, win situation.

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One long weekend we headed west. On our way to our destination we stopped at the Elmina Fort for a tour. The colours of the fort was beautiful against the blues of he sea and the sky, but the history of the place was just dreadful. Walking around it, visiting slave dungeons was quite an emotional experience. Even though we were in the same place, saw the same things, it was hard to envision just how bad it might have been.

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View from the fort. This was very similar to the view of the point of no return.

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We got back in the car and ventured further. This was the goal: a beach resort about 7 hours drive from home. It was absolutely beautiful.

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Say hi to our friends! One day, in the water just outside the house we were staying in a bunch of turtles hung out. They were coming up every now and then for some air, and they stayed there for a few hours. It was definitely one of the animal experience highlights of my life.

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Dad looking for turtles.

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After my parents left, we had an engagement party to attend. I have no idea why this is the only picture i had, but hey, I probably had too much fun to bother snapping pictures.

2012

First out, sorry about the quality of these pictures. I had lost the battery to my SLR and didn’t get a new one until about 7 months later. I know! That’s a seriously long time.

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We were in Melbourne as of two months and loving it so far.

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The weather was getting warmer and we had several picnics in parks. Like here in Fawkner park where we watched a game of cricket for quite some time. It did not make sense to us.

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On Melbourne Cup day we headed to the zoo and found a bunch of butterflies.

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We started to get our house in a wee bit of order. It would take another 6 months or so before it started feeling homely though. Bonus info: in that glass on the left hand side is the first spider I ever caught in Australia. It was tiny as you can see.

131113-2012-Melbs-1 We went out for arepas one day. Sooo delicious. Note to self: need to go back and eat this again soon.

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I went on loads of walks. As soon as I needed to get something I made sure to walk there. The more the better.

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I also started cooking. I’ve cooked more since coming to Australia than I have in all of my life before that, combined. I was obsessed with dumplings a wee while. They soon got replaced by fresh spring rolls. After that I widened my repertoire, but now that I’m working more properly again, it’s slowly getting back to normal. I love the fact that I feel much more comfortable in the kitchen.

 

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This looks freaky, but it really isn’t. This is what Peter did the first 10 months in the house when his key didn’t work on the front door (only the back). This way I knew it was him and no one else that was knocking on the door. I did the same thing whenever I wanted him to come and open. Doing it felt very endearing, but like this caught on film seems quite creepy…


Three countries in three years. Although we’re still in Melbourne and things haven’t changed all that much since last year, I feel a bit excited about what comes next. Before leaving Sweden it felt like almost an impossible project to move somewhere else. Now that we’ve moved to two different countries, I feel kind of invincible.

If anything is possible (and it absolutely is!), what would you want to do?