More Sweden pics

Last month I showed you some pics from my Midsummer spent in Sweden. I thought you might like to see some more pics from the three weeks I spent there? Yes? Okay, let’s go.

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A lot of our time was spent in Norrköping where my daughter lives. We had lovely weather almost our entire visit and went for lots of walks. Norrköping is lovely with the river running through it and an old industrial area that I love walking through.

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Since we are Swedes, a lot of our time was spent at cafés. Fika is a Swedish national sport after all! 🙂 Brödernas Kafé is my favorite coffee shop in Norrköping, especially during summer when I can sit outside.

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I spent a lot of time looking at the sky, because there isn’t a more beautiful piece of art than the sky.

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My family (i.e. husband, daughter, and daughter’s partner) are all craft beer fans (I’m more of a wine gal myself) so we went to craft beer bars where they waxed poetically about the characteristics of the different beers, while I rolled my eyes and ordered a glass of wine instead after that initial beer.

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What would life be without food? 🙂 I made my excellent spaghetti Bolognese for the family because that’s their favorite meal. We also made homemade pizza with dairy-free cheese for me who can’t eat dairy. And pineapple, because pineapple belongs on pizza! And finally, on my son-in-law’s birthday, my daughter made a fabulous cheese cake (again dairy free cheese for my sake!) with passion fruit. It was sooooo good!

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We also went to Karlskoga, our old hometown, to visit parents and brothers. I lived there for 39 years of my life (before moving to Malaysia) and I really really don’t ever want to move back. When I get there, it’s like a hand reaches into my chest and squeezes my heart and I just want to turn around and leave. The empty streets give me anxiety, and I fear that someone will force me to stay and go back to my old life. It’s an irrational fear, I know, but I can’t help it.

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My mother-in-law lives in the countryside though, and spending time at her house is always nice. I literally step outside, walk around her house, and leave civilization. But it makes for nice walks through the forests in the warm weather. And you also get lovely company on the walks, of the horsey kind 🙂

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And visiting old friends in their summer house by Lake Möckeln is always nice, having fika in the garden, and watching the boats going by.

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Another thing I love doing in summer, that I’ve done since I was a kid, is driving the less than 20 miles to Kristinehamn, buy ice cream, and look at the ginormous Picasso sculpture standing on the shore of Lake Vänern. On the way there, you pass through a marina, and when I was a kid, my parents loved taking us on road trips and look at all the boats and stop by the sculpture. I hated it then, but now I love it. It’s such a weird sight and when I was young I didn’t get it, but I do now.

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I picked all the ripe strawberries from my brother’s garden (I was allowed!) and ate them because there’s nothing more delicious than sun-ripened Swedish strawberries.

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I tried some odd alcohol: Mansinthe, i.e. Marilyn Manson absinthe, 66.6% proof of course 😂 (wasn’t a fan) and porn star rum (was a fan)

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Then we took a train to Malmö in the south of Sweden, where we hung out with a few friends, drank more of that blasted craft beer everyone loves so much except me, wandered on Lilla Torg, an ancient market square dated back to 1590 (in the picture), and enjoyed ourselves before it was time to go back to Malaysia again.

 

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My midsummer

My midsummer didn’t turn out the way I planned. My husband got sick so we couldn’t go to the party I wrote about in my Happy Midsummer post. Instead, we stayed at my mother-in-law’s house, hung out with them, and my brother-in-law and his family, and had traditional Swedish midsummer foods as my poor husband mostly slept.

Anyway: I thought you might like to see some actual pictures from my Midsummer, not only the funny video clip from my midsummer post 🙂

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Yours truly with the maypole. Since I couldn’t dance around it as tradition dictates, I danced with a mini maypole on my MIL’s lawn. The weather was great, which is unusual for Midsummer in Sweden. It always rains!

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The most Midsummery of all Midsummer foods: different kinds of pickled herring. Personally, I’m not a fan (yuck!), so I eat the other stuff.

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Here’s some of the other foods. From left: filled egg halves. Next to it is sour creme, the herring, and tomatoes. Then baked salmon fillets (I adored those!). To the right is gravlax, tzatziki and more tomatoes. This was only part of what we ate, and later, we threw som meat on the grill, too, and at the end of the day we were stuffed to the gills.

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But this is the most important thing (for grownups at least): the snaps! Snaps is spiced alcohol that goes with the food. We drink them in tiny glasses and often sing accompanying songs. This is my favorite snaps: dill flavored. It goes with anything fish if you ask anyone else, but according to me it goes with everything!

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After dinner, as we sat talking and enjoying each other’s company, enough raindrops fell to form a partial rainbow. Me and my parents-in-law stayed up late as the Midsummer night never grew entirely dark (this picture is taken at 9PM) and even though I missed the party I’d been looking forward to, I had a lovely time!

Glad Midsommar!

Today is Midsummer, and except for Christmas it’s probably the most traditional Swedish holiday of them all. Most Swedes celebrate it, and since I’m in Sweden, I’m doing it, too. Me and my husband are spending the day with friends we’ve known for almost thirty years, and we’re doing everything shown in the (very serious) information clip below. Except listening to dansband music: we aren’t fans of this terrible traditional Swedish music genre 😂

For me and my husband, Midsummer is a double cause for celebration, because it’s also our anniversary. We got married on Midsummer’s Eve 2005, so this will be our 14th anniversary (we’ve been together for much longer than that (25+ years) but we didn’t get married until 14 years ago.) Technically, Midsummer 2005 was on June 24th, but by telling everyone our anniversary is on Midsummer, I can celebrate twice: on Midsummer and then the actual date. Good plan, don’t you agree? 🙂

So I just wanted to wish you all Glad Midsommar (Happy Midsummer). And check out the film if you want to know what all of Sweden (including yours truly) is doing today 😂

3 pictures from April

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (why don’t you? 🙂 ) here are three pictures from what I did last month.

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Most of April was spent writing, writing and writing. I participated – and won! – in Camp NaNoWriMo, so my butt was planted in my chair for a big chunk of the month.

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I ate a slice of pizza for the first time in a year. I’m not supposed to eat dairy, but my husband ordered a lovely pizza with mozzarella and parma ham and I’d been craving pizza (CHEESE!!) for weeks and weeks, so I ate one slice and it was SO GOOD!! And my skin is still healthy, so it wasn’t a bad slip-up. I won’t do it again though!

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My husband and I had a couple friends over on Easter Saturday for a little party. We had cold cuts, threw hot dogs on the barbecue, and drank too much champagne. We had so much fun, but I wasn’t as happy the next day. But you only live once, right?

And here’s the link to my Instagram so you can follow me. Have a great week! 🙂

A blast from the past

I thought I’d entertain you with a very old picture of myself today. It’s about 30 years ago, 1988 or 1989 and I was 16 or 17. Denim on denim. Huge glasses. Perm. I mean, have you seen anything prettier?? 😂😂

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The photo is taken outside my high school. I took lots of languages (Swedish and English of course, but also French, German, and Latin). I read The Queen of the Damned (I was an Anne Rice fan girl!), watched L.A. Law on television (loved law-and-order shows!) and Besökarna (Swedish horror movie, English title The Visitors) at the movies. I listened to Behind the Wheel by Depeche Mode and Sign Your Name by Terence Trent D’Arby.

I was still quite shy here, until a year or two later when I made a new friend who got me into acting, and that changed my entire life.

Also a year or two later, I met my future husband, the love of my life, the cutest boy I’d ever seen. And even though I don’t act any longer, or watch much TV or film, and stopped reading Anne Rice a long time ago, that boy is still in my life. And I plan to keep him forever.

Tell me something about your 16-17 year-old self in the comments! 🙂

Writing update

Happy Monday, everyone! I thought I’d tell you about what I’ve got going on at this moment.

I’m still writing 9 Willow Street, my bunny shifter story (inspired by this super short as you probably know by now if you’re a regular visitor to my blog). I’m currently at 13500 words, and I plan on finishing it this week. Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll make it!

I love that little bunny! He’s adorable and so possessive of his human before shifting into his human form himself.

Here’s the inspiration picture for the bunny. Isn’t he the cutest?

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His Steady Heart is submitted and accepted by my publisher and will be released May 25. Wanna read the blurb?

Ashley Buchanan—Buck—moved back home to take care of his sick mother when he was 22. That was the first time he met Pippin, the neglected 6-year-old boy next door. Fifteen years later, Buck—a caretaker by nature—offers up his couch for Pippin, who needs a break from his mom and a quiet place to sleep.

Pippin Olander is a ray of sunshine despite his emotionally lacking upbringing and works hard to make a better life for himself. Even though he’s fiercely self-sufficient, he learns to accept help from Buck, his rock and only steady presence in his life.

Their friendship deepens and grows into something more as they spend more time together. But when other people try to throw a wrench in the works, when Pippin’s independence is triggered, can Buck and Pippin trust in the love they’ve found?


I’ll be doing a lot of writing in April, because I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. My publisher always has a cabin for any of us writers who wants to participate, and I love the community feeling so I signed up. Let’s hope I reach my goal of 20K words. My first step will be to finish 9 Willow Street, and after that I have another project ready to go. I’ll tell you more about it later.

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I made a NaNo tracker in my bullet journal to keep up with my progress. Let’s hope it’ll be all filled out and pretty at the end of the month!

Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

A to Z

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26 things Nell Iris loves, from A to Z

All I Need – song by Radiohead
Bullet Journal
Coffee-flavored kisses
Darcy…as in Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberly
Elephants
Fanfiction #Snarry (Snape+Harry if you’re not familiar with the hashtag) ftw
Gili Air – a teeny tiny paradise island in Indonesia
Harry Potter, and children’s books in general
Introverts
Japanese ramen
Leonard Cohen
Kramar – means hugs in Swedish
Moulin Rouge – movie with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor
Notebooks, I’m a stationary addict
Orion and all the other constellations – I love the stars
Pens, especially fountain pens
Queen and Adam Lambert live in Bangkok 2016
Reading, or anything book related really
Star Trek
Tea, preferably green
Until Forever Comes, book by Cardeno C
Vinyl records
Wine, preferably sparkling
X-files
Yazoo, 80s synthpop band
Ziggy Stardust, song and persona by David Bowie

Tell me something you love 🙂