Friday, November 18, 2011


We recently bought a slow cooker and it's amazing. So the second soup I decided to make would - obviously - be a root veg one. You know, just like mum used to do.

And I chopped my veg and added some lentils and honey and chilis and other fun stuff (which I'm not sure if mum used to do?) and left it cooking overnight. Got up this morning and blended it all together and tasted it.

Ohmygodit'ssohot. I had it for lunch with 2 GLASSES OF MILK. Milk. Milk!!

It'll do me good I'm sure... Cleanse my aura or something.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nothing lasts forever, even cold...

Middle of November, it's dark all the time and there's just so much to do that there's no time for anything. Crisp air, quick walks home from work leaving you clammy but with cold cold fingers and a cold cold nose.

It could be more fun at the moment.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fly birdie, fly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Every sight and every sound / love is in the air

Another lovely list of things that are making me happy right now.

1. That feeling you get when you've accomplished something, finished a project.

2. Having a nice winter with lots of visitors lined up.

3. That it's getting colder. Bear with me - mostly because it means fewer spiders in the house!

4. Mikemikemike. Had to be added.

5. Getting trusted with new things at work. Oh - and realising that your work IS valued.

6. My slippers. And central heating that actually works. Y'kno, since it's getting colder n'all.

7. Lovely letters from lovely friends.

8. Making, creating, crafting.

9. Driving. Scary as hell but almost fun.

10. Nutty apple crumble with custard. Mmm.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fy is approximately high front

You might know that I'm teaching Mike Swedish. Ok, ok, he's learning Swedish and I'm trying to take credit for it. That's besides the point.

One of the first words he picked up was 'fy' (The People's Dictionary translates it to 'ugh' which is an odd choice - I'd go for 'shame on you'. Depending on context, obviously.). Only he reckons I put an alveolar lateral approximant in there. Whassat? An /l/ sound.

My thoughts exactly: I most certainly do not!

So what's the reason for this? Is it me slurring sounds together and producing a holy mess of highfrontlateralness? Or is it Mike's ears making stuff up? I think it's a bit of both.

My articulation of the high front vowel (/i/ or /y/) is really quite close in Swedish. And I can see how it can be heard as an approximant. Though perhaps something more front than /l/ - labio-palatal perhaps. (Please note that when I suggested this to Mike he laughed. Hmph.)

And I've still not forgiven the person who suggested to Mike that this makes me sound posh. I'll never hear the end of it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

You and me - always - and forever / You and me - always - and forever / ba ba ba ba ba / it was always / ... /

On Marley and Me/I, from David Crystal's excellent blog.

Interesting. I remember heated discussions about this back in college (high school for you Americans...), but I can't remember what my stance was.

So, clearly it was an issue very close to my heart.

Any grammarians with views? And what about in Swedish?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm loving it.

Inspired by, here are 10 things I'm loving at the moment:

1. Dresses. I need some more, I'd for example gratefully receive any of these...

(All from Dorothy Perkins)

Most dresses in shops at the moment make me feel super-mega tall. I love these dresses but would prefer them to be shorter. (and yes, there was great effort involved in only picking ONE polka dot one for this picture... I hope you're proud.)

2. Avocado & sweetcorn. Other ingredients not necessary.

3. Mike. Always.

4. That I'll get to see my family & friends less than a week from today.

5. ...and Sweden!

Click for link
6. People coming together to make a positive difference and trying to counteract all the horribleness in the world.

7. Sewing. Will show some projects soon...

8. Musicmusicmusic.

9. Seeing more of lovely friends...

10. ...can I add seeing my sister soon? Even though it's partially repeating no.4?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My name is Julia.

I am currently 26 years old (had to edit that then...)
I am good at crafty stuff. And reading.
I don't like headaches, racism and tuna.

I am really bad at speaking in public.

I'm reading Guardian of Eden by Leslie DuBois. Very very very very good.

I like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
I sing a lot. Mostly in my head.
I love Mike. My family. Polka dots.
I wish people could be just that little bit nicer to each other.
I'm not very good at dancing but I do it anyway.
I like talking about stuff.
I'm addicted to mints. Though I've not had any in ages. Does it still count?

I'm wearing a turquoise flowery dress, red tights and brown shoes.

I drink mostly water. I would like to try Fanta strawberry and kiwi though...

I'm listening to nothing but traffic.

I get angryat injustice.
I'm scared of spiders, rollercoasters and losing those closest to me.
I can't understand how people can hate others based on their religion, faith, ethnicity, colour... you get the picture.
I'm embarrassingly bad at doing press ups and running for buses.
I grew up in Sollentuna.
I own four polka dot dresses. Two black, two brown.
I eat food, mostly.
I say yes to
everyone. Most of the time.
I rarely start something
I get annoyed at people stirring or picking fights. Idle gossip.
I am the most beautiful girl in this room today.
I laugh at funny things...
I'm a typical old lady.
I have never been to Asia.
I am happy that I get to live with Mike and see him every single day.
I don't enjoy when Joanna or Mike push on the bottom of my nose.
I love to read. Write. Hug. Smile.
I appreciate honesty. Kindness.
I believe in the goodness in all people.

Adapted from and

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yumberries and birthday.

It was my birthday last week. Got some lovely presents, including the gorgeous table cloth in the photo below. Mum knows me so well!

On Sunday we went to a farm shop place and picked loads of berries. Also in the photo below. Yumyum. I've made a whole lot of jam and eaten raspberries with custard.

And that's about it for now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I want never gets.

I want to read this book: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Happened upon this (not-a-)review and I'm intrigued...

Friday, July 08, 2011

Old cat lady.

I went to visit my friend Gill from uni a while back. It was just for a night, and I don't see much of her anymore (boo!!) so it was really lovely to see her.

On the Sunday we were sat in her living room for a while, chatting and eating splatted pie and their cat jumped up on the armrest of the chair I was sat on. I started petting it and after a while it climbed carefully onto my lap and sat there.

Now, this was pretty amazing. Not that a cat had climbed onto my lap, but that THIS cat had done. You see, this was very much my friend's grandma's cat. Her grandma passed away quite recently and since then the cat has not been close to anyone. Even before grandma passed she wouldn't give anyone else the time of day.

So for this gorgeous cat to sit on my lap - and later, actually LIE DOWN and let me stroke it for absolutely ages was pretty amazing. Gill was in shock. I was in shock. I'm not much of an animal lover, having never really been around them I'm not used to them. But this was so nice.

When I came home I told Mike what had happened. His first comment was 'must be because you're such an old lady.'


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Difficult healthy eating.

We went to ASDA the other day. And bought mostly fruit and veg. Healthy stuff.

Now you may not be familiar with an ASDA receipt? Basically, there's usually a whole load of BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free), 3 for the price of 2, or 'rollbacks' (sale items, basically). A whole load of them. And they're always listed at the bottom of the receipt. It'll say 'you've saved £5.63 today' and so on.

And do you think there were any deals on the fruit & veg? No, you're wrong - there was one: the melons were 2 for 1. Or something like that; I don't have the receipt in front of me and I cannae remember.

But why does it have to be so hard to shop healthily? The crisps are always on offer. As are hot dogs, frozen pizzas, sausage rolls... and so on. Now don't get me wrong, I like the occasional hot dog as much as the next girl but they make it difficult for low income households to eat healthily. And they wonder why the country is gaining weight?

I know, I know, these aren't revelations in any way, but it was on my mind. It was that startling difference between a 'normal' shop (and we don't buy *that* much rubbish, honest!) and one consisting almost exclusively of greens and other such fun.

That'll be all for now.

Next time: price guarantees, vouchers and BOGOF offers.

Friday, June 24, 2011

This is your religion.

I don't really have an opinion on the Royal Family. Because I don't know them. And I don't really have an opinion on monarchy either. Because what does it matter if we pay a whole lot of money to a family or to a president and everything surrounding a president.

I don't know the numbers and I don't really care enough to look it up or to engage with them when I see them, but I'm pretty sure the monarchy is a pretty good source of income both in the UK and in Sweden. So many tourists love them. And so many residents do, too. So I don't see the point in disliking the system.

However. I heard a segment on Swedish radio the other day. The title is 'can Sweden really have a queen with Downs syndrome.' But that's not what it was about (imagine...), but it discussed the fact that people are born into a royal family and we don't have a choice - however they have a choice on whether to remain royals or not. But what they also brought up, which I've never really thought about, is that they are not allowed to change their religion. Ignoring family constraints for a minute; they are the only people in Sweden who do not have this freedom. Isn't that awful? To be able to change their religion they'd have to abdicate their royalty (or whatever the terminology might be!)

And it's not about the religions themselves, it's the lack of freedom to choose for yourself, to follow your own heart. I wonder if they'd be allowed to be gay and on the throne?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who the heck is Kenneth Williams?

Last week we went over to some friends and had yummy dinner (and raspberry-amaretti cake!) and we played some games. One of them was Cranium (I think?). I don't know if you know it, but basically it's a board game where there are 4 categories of activities. So, questions, performance, words and creative. Basically. For one of my performances I got the 'copycat' card - where you have to act as a famous person and your team mates have to guess who you are.

Of course, I got someone I've never heard of. Oh, I've heard of the Carry on films. I've even heard the catchphrase 'oh matron' (which a quick google suggests to me is not actually uttered in any of the films?). But I'd no way of connecting either of these to the esteemed Kenneth Williams.

What I'm actually trying to get at is slightly deeper than failing to impersonate Mr Williams. It's this fear as a foreigner of not being fully immersed in the culture of the country you're in. Sure, I've been here nearly 7 years and I'm not hopeless with the cultural references and jokes. But every so often something comes up and you have a choice. You either laugh along, because you really can't be arsed with option 2: asking what the reference is.

Option 2 usually results in one of two things, if you're lucky someone will quickly and quietly explain. If you're unlucky - which seems to happen more often than you'd like it to - you will get the whole group (or someone in the group) making a big deal out of you not knowing. 'Oh, you won't know who that is, will you Julia...' 'Oh, that won't make any sense to you... or did you have XYZ in Sweden??'. (funny how these things are always prefixed with 'oh.' I'm sensing a theme here...)

Now I don't mind it really. Not with friends at any rate. And the Kenneth Williams thing was just funny (and as soon as 'oh matron' was mentioned I made the connection). But it's the way some people have of making you feel stupid for not getting a reference. In fact, I find the same with age things - if I don't get a reference due to my age rather than not having lived here my whole life, I seem to get the same reaction.

Of course I'm not saying I want this exchange of cultures to stop. And obviously I'm exaggerating - it's not a big deal 96% of the time. But I do worry that people - including me?? - will be doing it to Mike when the poor lad moves to Sweden. If I do, you have my permission to slap me across the face with a fish. (yes, we did have that one in Sweden.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Question time.

Borrowed from Min Karusell.

1. Pick up the nearest book, page 18, row 4:
'tre  three      ni vill väl   I suppose you'

2. Reach as far to the left as you can. What are you touching?

3. What did you last watch on TV?
My name is Earl.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
About 8?

5. Apart from your computer, what can you hear right now?
Vehicles outside. IT crowd.

6. When were you last outside and what did you do then?
Biked homewards...

7. What were you looking at before writing this?
The TV...

8. What are you wearing?
Clothes, mostly.

9. Did you dream anything last night? If so - what?
I can't remember...

10. When did you last laugh?
Earlier this evening when Mike tried to put me on the floor.

11. What's on the walls in the room you're in now?
Big mirror, some lamps, clock, frame with a few photos.

12. Have you seen anything strange lately?
Does the IT crowd count?

13. What do you think of this challenge?
Not very challenging.

14. Which was the last film you watched?
Get him to the Greek. Now that was a mistake!!

15. If you became a multi-millionaire, what would you buy?
A big house where we both could live.

16. Tell us something about yourself that people don't know.
I'm terrified of driving. Ok so people may know that one...

17. If you could change ONE thing in the world, without having to care about politics or guilt, what would that be?
I would open up all borders and stop making it so bloody difficult for people to move around and feel welcome.

18. Do you like dancing?
I most certainly do - though I don't do it very often...

19. George Bush?
Yes. No? What about him?

20-21. What would you call your children?
Starship and Sodapop.

22. Would you ever live abroad?
I would. I do.

23. What do you want God to say when you go to heaven?
'Welcome! I've been looking forward to you moving in.'

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Summer fun.

It's almost summer. I've got Summer Lovin' stuck in my head and that's quite nice.

On Thursday I'm going home, just for the weekend. But am quite excited to see people. And to spend a day with my sister. And to see her new flat!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


It's been a busy week. Pleased it's Friday tomorrow! I've not got the energy to write anything exciting tonight (HA! Do I ever?) so I apologise for this post...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Language fun.

I need more languages. More words. More more more.

Wishing I had paid more attention to French and Spanish in school - I just kind of drifted through and now I don't really speak either. No really about it really, I don't speak either.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Small talk.

I had a lovely, lovely weekend with wonderful people. And now I've had a headache since I woke up Monday morning. Bet it's cos I said that thing about migraines the other week - I knew I should have touched some wood.

It's been weeks since I went to Pilates now, Easter and weddings and laziness have stood in my way. Will I go tomorrow? Tune in...

Friday, May 13, 2011

A hard day's life.

Inspired by the inspiring Spiderchick.

07.40-08.00 - we wake up, after all our alarms have stopped going off.

08.02 - shower, brush teeth, run about trying to find my dipper card for work (which is always in the same place...)

08.15 - bike/drive (well... get driven!) to work.

08.30 - settling in at work, open up emails and sigh a bit. I ponder breakfast.

08.45 - breakfast time! Porridge at work = best way.

08.48 - work.

13.00 or so - lunch! Usually a short walk to buy a salad/sandwich/soup... and maybe a muffin.

13.15 - back at desk, eat sandwich whilst trying to look productive.

16.00-17.30 or so - home time!

10 minutes later - if I was clever and biked in, I'm home by this time.

...or 30 minutes later - if I'm having to walk back...

18.00 - Mike arrives home, starving. So this usually means it's dinner time! ;)

Bit of TV/reading or maybe the internet (ha! never!) or some charity work. Or all of the above. Until...

22.30 - I start moaning that I'm tired. Mike convinces me to stay up '10 more minutes'.

23.30 - I realise it's been more than 10 minutes and moan some more.

00.00 - I go to bed, moaning some more at Mike to get him to stop working and come to bed so we don't sleep in the next day., I do lead an exciting life!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Touch wood and all that.

I'm sure I've bent your ears about this in the past but I love acupuncture. It's the best thing in the world!

I had 6 sessions with my GP, starting before Christmas and one every one or two weeks after that. And I've not had a full migraine since.*

Here's a photo of how happy this makes me (yes, I'm sure that's a happy face!):

* I don't care if it's a placebo - I'd take placebos over migraines any day!!

Monday, May 09, 2011

I wish I was a little bit taller.

As I was swishing home on my pretty bike today (you know, biking superfast so the wind goes 'swishswishswish' in your ears), I rode past a girl walking along. And just as I went past her I'm sure I heard her crying.

And I'm ashamed to say I didn't stop to check she was ok. I didn't even look back. But I was so, so close to stopping. And I wish I had. Because that's the kind of person I want to be; someone who cares about others.

Friday, May 06, 2011

X marks the spot.

We took a walk to the polling station in the drizzle last night. It was a lovely night, and as old as this sounds I have to say it - we've been needing some rain.

Being a dirty foreigner, I didn't get to vote in the AV referendum. Which I suppose makes sense, as I can't vote in the general elections here - so obviously I couldn't possibly have an input on how these should be done. Luckily, Mike's views aren't a million miles from my own so I feel like I've had half a vote, at any rate. Kinda like I had half a vote in the general election last year, and that turned out to be a useful one... But anyway.

I do get to vote in the local council elections though, which I quite like doing. I had a strategy this time around: I decided not to vote for any party who has put reams of leaflets through my door. I wanted to put a sign on the door to that effect but wasn't allowed - but perhaps this blind approach is more effective?

So, that meant no Labour and no Lib Dems. One or two leaflets would have been ok, but... I really wish I'd saved them all, to be able to give an accurate picture of the ridiculous amount of paper wasted on rehashing the same information ('Tories can't win here!' seemed to be a favourite... not exactly telling me much about the party).

I can fully understand why they do it. Any vote they can sway by churning out leaflet after leaflet is another vote in their favour. And I fully support them distributing information materials. But when it's the same information over and over, when it's photos of the same guys in the exact same pose over and over, when it's trying to insinuate that more leaflets = more activity in the area = better party, or when they send us separate letters - one addressed to me, one to Mike, in separate envelopes, through the same door... I'm less inclined to give them my vote. Why? Waste of paper.

Ok, I know not everyone has easy access to the internet. And I know not everyone has the inclanataion to go look up what the different parties stand for (reading status updates on Facebook does not count, I'm sorry to say). And I know not everyone cares that this much paper is wasted (I'm not exactly the most environmentally conscious person but... seriously. Next time I'll save the leaflets and show you!). But what's wrong with producing one or two good quality (content-wise, I mean) leaflets, and trust that your party's policies are sound enough to persuade the doubters?

The party I ended up voting for didn't put anything through my door. Which was lucky, cos it was the party I was planning to vote for anyway. They won't win, but maybe they'll inspire some to be a tad greener.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Spring air.

It's lovely outside. A bit chilly now, but over the two long weekends we've just had (3 days work over 11 days... nice ratio I think!) it's been so gorgeous.

The lilacs are out, sweet smells overpowering everything apart from the smell of sun on skin. It's the best scent in the world. At least when it's on someone you happen to be close to.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Yesterday was a typical Sunday. Slow. Lie-in. Some bad TV (Back to the future 2. Seriously). Supermarket. Looking at glasses. Some yummy food:

Roast veg couscous with grapes. This is so easy. And so gorgeous. For those who speak Swedish as a second, third or 14th language, here's an approximate translation:

4 dl couscous (uncooked)
400g cherry tomatoes
200g green grapes
small aubergine
a couple of red peppers
raw chorizo (we used 6 small ones)
a fennel or cauliflower (definitely fennel!)
a leek and/or onion
couple of parsnips
150g feta cheese
greek yoghurt.

Now the recipe says don't cook the couscous first, but I did and it was great so that's what I'd recommend. Spread the couscous over a largeish (deep) baking tray, cut all the veg and stuff and cover the couscous. Crumble feta cheese on top. Pop in the oven for near enough an hour. Serve with yoghurt (recipe says 'and coriander' but I say coriander should never be eaten so I'd say 'and basil or other fresh herb).

We've just put in whatever veg we've had in the fridge really so don't worry if you're missing any of the ingredients above. Don't miss the fennel + grapes though!

Check out Om jag var din hemmafru for more great recipes (and use the google translate function...)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Happy birthday!!

Grattis lilla pappa! Jag saknar dig.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


I read this post over at Make it do, it's about April fools tricks.

The last one made me smile:

I also love the old sheet trick. Tuck the top sheet under the mattress at the top. Fold it in half and bring it back up to the top like normal. When the family tries to get in bed, they will only fit halfway.

Apparently my great aunt did this to my uncle the first time his wife (then girlfriend) brought him to meet the family.* Such a simple yet funny trick - I always thought I'd never fall for it, but now I'm thinking it might confuse me... at least if I'm tired enough!

* this is how I remember the story. It might've been my dad rather than uncle? I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm mistaken and if so I'll issue a full retraction ;)