Sunday, October 24, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

From Russia with love.

Inventive title, I know. While I'm in Portugal I thought I'd show you some photos from Russia... We took over 1000 (that's just me & Mike, I've not even seen all of mum&dad's, Joanna's and Dennis'...) so this is just a snapshot, if you will. Ha ha ha.

Scary scaffolding...

My new home. Funnily enough it's the same colour as my old room back home. Or, it will be until my parents redecorate it... sniff. I suppose it has had a good 15 years of being lovely bright blue!

Me and my friend Bear. (The Swedish word for bear is also a man's name... bit of trivia for ya!)

Wonderful restaurant. I have to admit I've forgotten if this was the Armenian or Azerbadjani one though? Ohyes, the walls are textured. They looked yummy.

I was only kidding earlier, this is my new house.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I see a red door and I want it painted black, no colours anywhere I want tthem to turn black.

My parents are redecorating my old room at home.

I think I'm meant to be upset about this. Or sad? It's a gorgeous colour - I picked it when I was 10. Parents thought it'd be too bright. But it's great.

I'd keep it that way!

But I think 15 years of various pin holes from a variety of posters (everything from Spice Girls to Nirvana, from Ozzy to Tigger...) has taken their toll on my poor walls.

Thought I had a photo but it appears not - how odd!

Monday, October 18, 2010


One frosty morning I'll take photos of some of the spider webs on my route to work. They're gorgeous in the morning sun.

I'll avoid taking pictures of the spiders though. Cos no one wants to see them!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leningrad sky.

I'm quite pleased with how this one turned out. I'm not a photographer - far from it. But I enjoy it. When they turn out nice!

I managed to snap quite a lot of good pictures during an evening boat ride in St. Petersburg. big skies.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The electric company.

So the other day we started wondering why we haven't received an electricity bill this quarter. Checked the online account and it said a bill was due to be issued the next day.


Fastforward until today, over 2 weeks later, still no bill. Mike rang the company and they said the bill isn't due until November as they never issued our first bill (which we were supposed to get a month after moving in).

I suppose we'll just have to wait and see... who knows, we may be one of those households that never gets any bills ;)


And why not?

In Russia, police hit bins with batons.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Party til the break of dawn.

Tonight I'm out with work colleagues. Should be nice - I don't go out enough.

And yes, of course I do get enough of colleagues at work but I'm sure I can stomach it for one night ;)

Will be nice to see some of them in a different setting!


The other day I came home from work with a stinking migraine. It was hurting to the extent that I took one of my tablets (which I really don't like taking) and was in bed asleep by half past 7.

My parents rang around 10 and of course I woke up. Spoke to them for near enough an hour. Then back to sleep.

This was Monday night and I don't think my head's recovered yet.

The joy! I'm sorry to be moaning but will it always be like this? I'm now exercising (walking half hour each way to and from work, sporadic gym sessions even!), not eating bad food, getting fresh air, decent hours in bed. It's just stupid now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rela-la-laxa broder, ta en paus och softa.

I'm rarely stressed over things. I try not to let things get to me. If stuff needs doing I try to be sensible about it and not let it overwhelm. Sometimes I even succeed.

We're going on holiday a week today. We've got accommodation for 7 out of the 12 nights. Maybe I should be stressing over that?

No. Life's too short.

Game: My Fitness Coach - Dance workout

Tried this game on the Wii: My Fitness Coach: Dance

It's pretty poor.

The actual workouts are fine, and fun. But obviously more fun in a class than in my front room! But the game is a bit too buggy for my liking.

Oh well. At least it reminded me I like dancing. Even though I'm very bad at it ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh happy day.

I've found a gospel choir to join here. Not really been in a choir since before I moved to the UK. Did try in Lancaster but the people running it were both rubbish and not very nice so I didn't last long!

Hopefully this new one will be fun :)

Can't find any videos of the choir I used to be in back home - no videos from when I was there anyway... Here's a newer one (not great quality unfortunately)

I'm sure we used to have more fun than it looks like they're having there.. haha. Best choir in the world! When we move back to Stockholm I'll definitely be joining again.

(This is what it should look like... )

On a similar note, this is lovely:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Important research dissemination.

We recently bought some Lakerol at IKEA and it made me remember a conversation I once had with a friend about our mothers. I think it must have started out with me wearing my mum's coat... anyway.

We concluded that all mothers keep the following three things in their coat pockets (in winter, at least):

  • a box of Lakerol.
  • a packet of tissues.
  • at least one used tissue.

This was a very empirical study based on a sample of two mothers. No exceptions. So it must be true.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Radio Julia.

If I was in charge of choosing the music for any radio station it'd be so different. The radio is lame. Especially lame when your taste in music differs from that of the person you're with. Ok, we don't disagree on everything. Far from everything. But... Come on, Steve Lawler? Red Hot Chilli Peppers?

I also wish I could have music on at work. I can, sometimes. Depending on who's in. But if I don't want to offend by making people listen to music they really don't like.

I suppose headphones may be the way forward - but mine are big chunky (red!) closed-cup ones so I think I'd look a bit rude! In-ear ones just fall out of my ears, it's the Backelin-curse... ;)

When I worked at Manchester we'd have some great music blasting (ahem, I mean... on a very reasonable volume) in the office. It was fantastic - Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, any and all rock you can imagine. Louise, you need to come work with me here.

That sounds so mean - my colleagues are lovely! But there's less Dylan in my current office.

News: Fingerprints.

BBC: FBI seizes John Lennon fingerprint card from auction house.

Is this for real? Do the FBI really not have anything better to do? Sure - not great if government documents are going walkies but it seems like a waste of time, esp as it's been 40 years and the subject is long gone.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


BBC: Louis Theroux on Lagos.

This is on tonight at 9pm. Looks interesting - I like Theroux. I like documentaries. I like learning about things. I like the BBC, with all its faults.

I want to travel more. See more.

WMHD 2010.

Happy World Mental Health Day!

'No Health without Mental Health' seems to be this year's slogan.

I work with nurses, nursing students, midwives a lot, in different settings. And I'm noticing the above is becoming more and more true in the way they do things - in the way they train.

One way in which this is noticable is through the use of 'storytelling', encouraging students to engage their patients (service users/clients/blablabla) in conversation about their whole lives, how their conditions affect them and their every day lives etc. Not just the direct affects but to understand them better.

I like.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Coming of age, musically.

I've been listening to the Pixies a fair bit recently. Can't believe I pretty much missed them out in my musical education/coming of age/whatever.

Instead there was a whole lot of Swedish 'trallpunk'. Like Ebba Gron, Imperiet, DLK... I listened to Silverchair, a lot. A lot is probably an understatement. Nirvana's a given. Black Sabbath, Rolling Stones, AC/DC. I was something of a... I don't even know how to label myself at 15. Grunge I think.

Yet I missed out on Pixies. Lame. Definitely have some catching up to do.

Bay city rollers.

Trying to be organised this morning (well, afternoon now...) and sort through paperwork. Clean a bit. Put some hooks and pictures up maybe. But it's much better to sit in the bay window with a cup of tea and watch the world go by...

That's the one reason why I wanted to rent this flat. The bay window seat. Ok, and the red carpets.

When we first rang up about the flat we were told it had been rented out already. Gutted! So we looked at some crappy typical English narrow houses with plenty of rooms which were all tiny, with ridiculously narrow and steep staircases separating the 2 or 3 floor. Houses where the front door is right on the pavement (see how British I'm becoming - I always say sidewalk usually...). We did see some nice ones too but mostly ones that did not seem like a home at all. I know, where we lived the first 2 years after moving to York was massive so maybe I'm a bit spoilt. I don't mind small though, as long as it's cosy. And most of the houses we saw were decidedly not cosy.


After looking for a month or two, this flat came back up on the website. So we rang up. And got a viewing (woop!). We went around and the lady showing us around didn't have answers for most of our questions (no surprises there). She did tell us that the house hadn't been rented out last time we'd rung up, but that the landlord had taken it off the market to do it up a bit. We also got to meet the landlord who lives next door and he was lovely. The visit dragged on a bit and the estate agent was getting twitchy. Clearly this didn't fit in her 10-minute-per-house view of the world.

We decided to go around again and try to view the house one more time before making our final decision, and the landlord was very happy to show us around. He told us that the house *had* been taken off the market because someone had wanted to rent it, but after a month or so of umming and arring they'd not been able to set a move in date. So it went back on the market.

Another flat we looked at, had been advertised as having a yard and being unfurnished. We got there and the 'yard' was the space where everyone in the surrounding flats (this was ground floor) walked to get to their own front doors. Someone in a neighbouring flat had a sofa sat just outside their door - just like in one of those movies set in the ghetto... I'd imagine this sofa was quite saturated by this point! We got in the flat and it was packed with people viewing it. And filled with furniture. And a couple of people moving boxes out. Turns out it was a furnished flat (the estate agent got quite hostile when we asked her about it...) and that this was, in fact, moving day for the current tenants. Poor people, trying to move all their stuff out when 15 odd people were walking around in their house...

Anyway. I got my bay window and red carpets and jag sitter hellre har, och luktar pa blommorna...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Well done Sainsbury's. Really.

We bought some raspberries last night. The end date is tomorrow. Today they were mouldy.



Doesn't matter how many times I have to type 'mentor' in a day, it always comes out as mentos. How freudian.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Mike brought home pretty flowers for me but since we don't seem to have enough vases we had to go with the retro look...

How beneficial.

I've just had an interesting conversation with my sister.

I was telling her about the cut in child benefits for people earning £44k or more per year. And how some people are outraged. And how other people seem to think it's the best thing since sliced cheese. Or whatever.

We're both so Swedish -

we concluded that by doing this, they're turning this into a benefit rather than money towards the child. In the long run, won't this turn into another stigmatised benefit where higher earners moan that people ('scroungers') take our tax money... blablabla.

I'm not saying I'm for or against this cut. I can absolutely see why a country/government trying to cut down on spending is choosing this option. But what is interesting about this is people's attitude towards benefits.

From our (blonde and oh-so blue eyed) Swedish perspective, it's an ideological issue more than anything else. It's not just about benefits to those who struggle - it's about a welfare country, where the welfare is fair. That doesn't necessarily just mean that those who are poor get benefits chucked at them. Nor does it mean that those who pay more tax in get more of the perks. It just means that some benefits/tax credits/whatever you choose to call them are for everyone, regardless of background or 'class' (I hate that term but that's for another day).

It's the same with student grants/loans. No matter your background or financial family situation, everyone in Sweden is entitled to the same amounts. Child benefits works the same way in Sweden. Families who struggle may be entitled to more - but I don't think that's labelled in the same way; it's part of the circumstances on which your benefits are based I guess.

I don't know. This goes back to a blog post I wrote a while ago about growing up 'well off' and being made to feel inferior because of it in this country.

We're all just people after all and when something becomes a stigma it's not the right way to go about it. And that's my reservation about these plans to cut child benefits for high earners.

Having said that, perhaps the general stigma surrounding benefits is where we need to focus first of all, before we worry about a money-saving scheme like this one will create more of it... Maybe I've got it all backwards.

Raspberry yum.


Only in Swedish, sorry. But you can use Google translate! :P

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Stupid camera battery! I was gonna show you a lovely photo 'n all...

Oh the weather outside... etc.

Christmas adverts... I don't know. I envy the people who are so organised they've started (planning?) their Christmas shopping... I tend to panic come mid-December. But it usually turns out ok anyway.

All this saving in Christmas clubs etc is something I can't understand though. At least starting to shop early and spreading out the cost makes sense but surely these schemes won't save you any money - you're just restricted to the shop/s included in the scheme?

Having said that, maybe I do the same as I do try to keep my Boots points for Christmas shopping. Mind you, this year I've been working far from a Boots so don't go in as often... So if you're on my Christmas list you may have to put up with something home made this year ;)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Blonde isles.

I don't know what to think about this. It's hilarious. Yet very, very sad...

Friday, October 01, 2010

Live precariously.

... I don't think this will end well. But they sure are gorgeous.

I've never had one before.

Isn't it pretty?