Christmas in the UK isn’t like Christmas in Sweden. It might be obvious, considering that the UK isn’t Sweden, but it does become extra clear around this time, on Sunday, the first advent. Advent isn’t such a big deal here. The first of four candles don’t get lit and nobody is celebrating that Christmas has begun with mulled wine and gingerbread cookies sprinkled with blue cheese.
We’re trying to create Christmas feeling around us anyhow, the way we’re used to having it. Minus the julmust, gingerbread cookies, and mulled wine (even though I’ve stumbled across a version of it that tastes more like warm wine with orange and sugar, than actual mulled wine).
When we up in the mornings, Felicia crawls out of bed to light all of the 3 billion tea lights we share our flat with. Then we watch the Christmas calendar (a yearly tv series surrounding Christmas with a new episode each day of December until the 24th) still in bed on Felicia’s iPad.
The cover is still warm after the night and we curl up into two fussy balls, as if we’re never gonna get up. The everyday life gets put on hold for the short fifteen minutes the episode is on.
Once it’s over the tea lights still flicker in our tiny little studio. They’re always a kind reminder that starting the day doesn’t have to be hard, cold, and ugly.
Afterwards we had a very unchristmasy avocado toast with poached eggs for lunch with another couple we’ve met over here.
If there’s anything the UK does right it’s the decorations. They’re both better and bigger than what we usually get in Sweden. The Christmas decorations literally take over the city. They’re everywhere: in every barber’s corner, in every small shop, and in every restaurant. One worse than the other.
Just look at the incredible Christmas tree that gave us a warm welcome at Hixon Green where we ate today.
Merry, merry Christmas.
Happy Friday, Internet!
What are you up to? ARE YOU EXCITED!? It’s Friday so… I am.
Also, tomorrow’s my birthday.
This Wednesday was a typical work-and-trying-to-put-our-home-together day. The worst, and best, of combinations. Worst because there’s no time to be distracted like the “ring, ring, I’ve got a delivery for you”-present and the best because of “ring, ring, I’ve got a delivery for you”.
You get the idea.
The first ring, ring was for our new dining chairs. Aaaah, I love them! Sitting on one of them right now. LOVELY.
Here are my thoughts: The walnut goes well with the dining table (also working as our work desk(s)) and the white works with both the walls and our kitchen. Perfect. Also, they’re a bit quirky and you know how I feel about that. I’m making a heart eye emoji face right now.
This is my attempt to empty the fridge (more like releasing the fridge/freezer from its “best before”-products) whilst also making something tasty. I think I did a pretty good job. Houmous filled oblong bell peppers – that I’m sure of have an actual name – and spinach rye bread toastie. Mostly, I was excited about the vegan cheese that melted puuuuurrrfectly.
I got this keychain the other day. Love. This was also a very effective way for me to procrastinate during the work hours. I’m that person who fumbles with keychains or bottle openers to make time disappear.
It’s very annoying. Not only for me but for everyone around.
Clink, clonk, clidderink. It’s not a popular sound.
Time for a cuppa. It’s always time for a cuppa. Especially when it’s been raining from 5 am to midday.
Then the sun came out! Like I said, it had been raining all frickin’ morning. And we were fed up – so welcome sun! We went out for a long walk by the beach to celebrate.
Both my plants and I became very happy about that – not about the walk but about the sun, ahem. #HappyPlantMama
After that, we called it a day and crawled onto the couch.
Good evening and happy Easter (if you’re celebrating it), Internet!
What are you up to?
I’ve just gotten home from an intense before-every-shop-closes-for-Easter spree. Building a home in a new country is hard work! So many things you take for granted that just aren’t there when you start anew. Like a bottle opener. Hm.
Anyway, meet Wesley. He’s our new partner in crime with twelve leaves and damp soil. He’s a half-meter tall, cheese plant know-it-all who’s favorite song is Hell or Highwater by Addie Hamilton. I decided that just now but I’m pretty sure it’s true.
That’s a frickin’ good song, by the way. Wesley has such good taste.
See how damp he is? Well, we did walk home with him in a pouring rain after adopting him. Living in a cost town the wind is almost as intense as the feeling of eating a Piri Piri without warning and having to find a way to cool your throat the hell down.
Therefore, Felicia and I made up a strategy to bring him home without letting the leaves break from the rough climate. Whilst I held Wesley in my arms Felicia walked just in front of me – but a little to the side – to block the wind. We did an amazing job. A golden star for the new plant parents, please.
And no, you’re not having visions or trouble with your eyesight. That is, indeed, a huge Daim chocolate egg and a milk free one with honey comb. Some days are just better than others.
We could, of course, have bought a bag for him (which, to be fair, the kind lady in the flower shop also asked if we didn’t want to do. I do believe her precise words were: “Are you totally sure you don’t want a bag?” Well, as it turns out, she was right.). But that’s not how we roll. We like things to be hard and rainy, apparently.
I think Wesley appreciated it, though. He got his monthly shower and is now standing on our 1960s sideboard acting all fancy.
Do you have a special houseplant?
What have you been up to this Wednesday? A little bit of this and a little bit of that? Yes? I like that.
I woke up tonight by two cats mating. Now, you may think: “Are you some kind of sick pervert, waking up to animals doing it??” Well, yes.
No, really guys, have you ever heard two cats shagging? It’s not what you’d precisely call a calm and collected act of love. It’s violent, very, very loud, and bloody rapey. Screams fired.
It’s safe to say I didn’t get more than just about three hours of sleep last night. Felicia was just about to call the police because of our first instincts being that someone was getting seriously hurt. It took a while for our 3 am brains to figure out what was going on.
And these cats were persistent. Like, impressively persistent. Just when I thought I could fall back to sleep they started all over again.
Me: “Okay. Finally. Zz–”
Cursed be the person who managed to sleep through it all. No fair!
I started working literally still in bed because of that and yes, the very thoughtful outfit above has been my ally throughout the day. Now I’m practically falling asleep in my seated position. You know what sucks more than trying to stay awake when you’re really tired? Trying to stay awake when you’re really tired and has to work for at least a good couple of hours more.
It’s all my fault though. I work from home and could’ve prioritized my time differently today. I blame myself for the prioritization. But I also blame the cats. Actually, I totally blame them for my tiredness.
Do you think they’ll manage not to chase tail tonight? My hopes are not held that high. I think I buried them somewhere between 4 am and 5 am.
Have you been woken up by scary, weird, or downright annoying noises lately?
I’ve got one key on my keyboard that doesn’t show the letter anymore. It has been worn out, torn beneath my fingernails. Tap, tap, tap. I know that the letter A is hiding under the trashed key but it doesn’t show. It’s a little bit of a mystery. “Oh, I wonder what key is hiding there!”
I’m sorry, I lied. One key is a lie. Two more keys, possibly three, are beginning to get seriously haggard. Rough around the edges, in a very straight forward manner. S, R, and possibly E. It’s disturbing on the eye, to see the letters disappearing on the (in every other way) clean and neat keyboard. I have this thing where I clean my keyboard with toothpicks and a cloth. I bring my weapons and then absolutely drench the keyboard with glass cleaning spray. I love that smell. It’s the smell of perfection. Unlike the keys that are literally disappearing.
At the same time, as I’m annoyed by the torn keys, it makes me feel a warmth in my chest. It’s the proof of how much I’ve been writing.
This keyboard has been with me during hardships and joy, very high highs and extremely low lows. We’ve been writing stories together: short stories, not quite so short stories, long stories, bad stories, okay stories. We’ve been blogging together. We’ve been sneaking around forums together.
And, possibly its most important task, it’s been my most faithful and loyal companion during five years of university. When I’ve written small assignments it has been there with glowing keys and a raised fist. When I’ve written papers it has fought through it all with me. And when I finally wrote my master’s thesis it greeted me with vows and promises of never backing down, not even at 3 am when I’d been writing constantly for over eighteen hours and should’ve been asleep for several hours already.
This keyboard has also shown an immense strength and that it’s practically indestructable. Nothing could even come close to destroying it. Not tomato soup. Not a huge bowl of noodles. Not even an occasional beer on Friday nights where I at least tried to make the process less depressing.
I refuse to replace the keys. Not even when the rest of them fall apart so that only my muscle memory will remember what’s what on the board. It’s been with me through it all and the keys shall stay there – even if I have to paint the letters myself. I’ve already bought nail polish for the task ahead. Just in case. Just to be prepared.
Here’s to my keyboard. Faithful, loyal, and a little bit torn in the edges.