More Iceland Photos + My Strange Desire to Move to Sweden

Thursday, 29 October 2015

I realised that I never posted the remainder of the photos from Iceland, so I thought I'd do that now. If you didn't see the first post, you can have a look here. After some days of less than ideal weather, we got very lucky on the Monday, so we decided to try and see as much of the Golden Circle as possible. The photo above is of the Gullfoss waterfall, which was just breathtakingly beautiful. To get an idea of scale, check out the people in the top right.



Again: Gullfoss
This one was taken near the Secret Lagoon. We got there after a pretty long day and didn't have swimwear on us, but we both thought it'd be a pretty cool place to hang out, especially in the evening.



Why yes, I do really want to sort my books by colour now. This my friends was taken in the beautiful, beautiful Laundromat café (I think there's a couple of them in other cities too, because I later discovered, I actually have it on my Copenhagen list too); we ended up going here for breakfast 3(!) times. Yep, that's how we roll. The veggie full english breakfast type thing (at the weekend) came with fried potatoes, hummous, brie, eggs, fresh fruit, pancakes and chocolate butter. It was delightful, and speaking of delightful, I could have literally bathed in their Chai Lattes, they were the most comforting thing I've ever drunk, they felt like a very loving hug. But let's get back to the pancakes with chocolate butter, or, the real reason why we went there three times. I liked them a lot, but Daniel was in love with them, so much so, that he asked for them on the days when they weren't actually on the menu. Just look how happy he is:


They also have fresh fruit flavoured (tap) water which was delightful, and it was a nice touch that it was free, even though it tasted so much better than just tap water.

Whilst we're on the topic of food recommendations, if you ever do find yourself in Reykjavik, I highly recommend that you have yourself some Gelato at Bada Bing (absolutely delicious and huge portions) and a couple of cinnamon swirls from Bakeri Sandholt (I think that was the one, sorry about being unsure).

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I really (really!) loved Iceland, I didn't want to leave and I'd go back in a heartbeat. It just felt like a place I could call home. I have this with the nordic countries in general; something about them just makes my heart wish I could live there, and this feeling is the strongest with Sweden. To me, it just seems like Swedish people (and scandinavian people in general) are kinder, more genuine and like they do things better and value the right things. I just really kind of feel like I belong there, not the UK. I feel like their culture fits my personality so much better, like it fits it perfectly. I know that not everything is perfect there (even though it sure seems that way to me), but I feel like I could deal with those imperfections better than with the ones here. I keep finding myself frustrated at how much culture and society here demand that you need to be extraverted, people are telling me that to be successful, you just need to be more obtrusive, but that's just not me, and it's really not something I believe in either. And it feels like, different things are valued in Sweden, less masculine things.

This is weird right? Especially considering that I've only been to Sweden once; it's all based on a feeling (though a feeling I get from reading about Scandinavian countries; here's a very random example). Has anyone of you ever had that feeling that you belong in a different country? Can anyone tell me the bad and the ugly about Sweden, so I can maybe loose this desire and realise that I'm just dreaming up something that doesn't exist?

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Love,

Johanna

A Handmade Christmas

Sunday, 25 October 2015

I read somewhere today that it's just 60 days to Christmas, how crazy is that? I know, I know, it's still pretty early to actually get festive, and I'm certainly not planning to (not yet!), but what I am planning to do is to handmake as many presents as I can this year - though hopefully not in a childish way. I don't know just how many I'll manage yet, but I was thinking of maybe attempting to linocut and print cards, to knit and crochet some accessories and to sew some straight forward items of clothing? The reason for wanting to do this is 1) that I really like making things these days (and was oh so pleased when a sewing machine joined me in my efforts for my birthday) and 2) that I just really like the idea of actually spending a considerable amount of time on each present (from deciding what they might need, to choosing the pattern and the fabric/yarn to actually making it over hours and hours), to me, there's just something very loving about this process.

I thought that when I can, I could document my process on here a little bit (which is why I would kindly ask and friends or family members reading this who expect a present, to stop reading until after Christmas). It would be incredible if anyone else wanted to let me know any ideas/tips that they might have too :).

I spoke about how I write down ideas for presents in Wunderlist yesterday and I'm pleased to say that I've already found quite a few things that I think would be cool to make for some of my nearest and dearest, so I thought today I'd just share some of my ideas.

For someone who easily gets cold - a cosy blanket to keep them warm
♥ Quick Crochet Blanket or
♥ Eleventh Hour Blanket or
♥ A Triangle Quilt

For someone who likes to brighten up an outfit with a fun accessory - a clutch to hold their essentials
♥ (Most likely fake) Leather and Cotton Clutch Purse
♥ Contemporary Clutch (I'm planning on getting the book with the patterns soon)

... or a different pattern cowl.
♥ Patricia Infinity Cowl

For someone who likes to keep warm on the go - cosy wrist warmers
♥ Crochet Fingerless Mittens (also from that book

For someone who likes Netflix evenings/days as much as I do - some comfortable pyjama bottoms
♥ Easy Women's Boxers (I've nearly finished making one pair of these for myself; I'm missing the elastic band, so right now, they are HUGE, but I think I will like them)
♥ Margot Pyjama Bottoms (I've got the book and I've actually made these before as well, and they are SO.COSY, see here for photographic evidence)

The main thing that's keeping me from getting started right now is deciding where to get my materials from and if you have suggestions, I would love to hear them. For the wooly items, I'm looking for chunky to super chunky yarn from a responsible manufacturer (if at all possible, from the UK and vaguely affordable). For the sewing ones, I'm looking for (ideally) organic fabric (again, preferably for under 10 pounds a meter).

Are you planning to make any presents yet this year? I'd love to hear about it. I hope you have a great start to the week tomorrow.

Love,

Johanna

P.S. I'm not sure what of these things to make yet, these are just ideas. If I find the wool though, I'm definitely planning to make (at least) one blanket.

Wunderlist Wisdom - My Ultimate Guide

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Recently I've been falling more and more in love with this little app called Wunderlist. It's essentially a beautiful to-do list app, but it's made so well and the options for using it are limitless. I spoke about it on here before, but since I feel that I've really gotten the hang of it now, I thought I'd share my favourite ways to use it. 

Grocery Shopping - I share this list with Daniel (sharing between users is very straight forward). The desktop app makes it super quick to write out the ingredients that I need for a recipe, whereas the phone app is great for when I think of something we need on the go. Having done that, it's super easy for whomever goes shopping first to get whatever's possible to get at that shop... it's a great way to keep an up-to-date list of what's needed. 

♥ Travelling - I have a "Cities [Eat | Drink | Do]" list in which I've listed any city I'm hoping to visit one day as a task and then in the subtasks, I keep track of for example restaurants in that city that I read about on blogs. I find this super helpful, because before I started doing this, whilst I'd have the memory that there was somewhere I really wanted to go in a particular city, I could never find that particular blogpost again, strange huh? The internet is such a small place... I've also made it a habit to mark any place we've actually tried and liked with a star, so if someone asks for recommendations, I've made it easy for myself to remember. 

Read | Watch | Do - for this I have a folder in which I keep different lists for books (divided into job relevant and pleasure reads), films and activities. Again, I think this is a great way to save recommendations straight away and all in one local place. For this one I also often make use of Wunderlist’s plugin, particularly when I come across a book on Amazon I’d like to read; it really couldn’t be simpler.

” - Another folder. In this one I’ve got lists for books, films and recipes that I read/watched/made and liked. I used to find it so difficult to respond to people asking if I had recently watched, read or made anything I could recommend and I knew I had, but just couldn’t think about it (can you tell I’ve got a terrible memory?). It’s also great when you’re having a crappy day and you want to for example watch and eat something comforting.

Present Ideas and Birthdays - I keep a list with just the names of my nearest and dearest, and then in their descriptions, I put their birthdays as the due date and a reminder 7-10 days before, and in the sub-tasks, I put down any ideas I have for presents that they might like (where possible with a link). Note: I'm still not very good at actually sending cards, I'm working on that, but at least the reminder's are in place haha. (A. I am so sorry you still don't have a card, you will get one, even if birthday card would be a slightly ridiculous thing to call it by now)

Food - of course there has to be a whole folder for food duuuuh. Here I have individual lists for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Baking and I again use the plugin to save recipes I come across online straight to the appropriate list. I guess this is what other people would do on Pinterest, and I still do this sometimes, but I find this one more useful in a practical sense, when I’m for example out and just want to get a quick idea. 

♥ MSc - I started a Master's course a couple of weeks back, so I obviously started a folder for this one too in which I have lists for the modules I'm taking this term to keep track of readings I need to do etc. Little tip if you're not very familiar with Wunderlist, if you have group work at university, you could use Wunderlist to collaborate by sharing a list and allocating the tasks on it, and commenting on the tasks - pretty handy. 

Daily Tasks - I don’t actually keep this one as a separate list (I like to keep things clean), but have it in my inbox. Anything I need to/want to do on a daily basis, I put in there and set it as “repeat everyday” and I tell it to remind me at a certain time everyday. This is mainly for dull stuff, but it’s really helped me to get it done, because I try to just quickly do it, when the reminder pops up.

Small Stuff - Again, this one doesn’t have its own list, and I spoke about it before, but I try to write it down with a reminder, whenever I said I’d do something for someone else, because it’s happened way too often that I had the intention and then just forgot, and I don’t like being that person, I like to be the one who delivers on what they said, they’d do. 

I know some of these might be really obvious to other people, I just know that they weren’t for me, and only came over time, so I thought I’d share my Wunderlist Wisdom and I hope it helps at least some of you.

All the love,

Johanna

P.S. Yes, I know it’s a little sad to write this on a Saturday night, but I’m in bed, because I’m ill, so I thought I might as well. I hope you’re doing more exciting things at the time I post this (and yes, also being in bed and watching Netflix totally counts!)