23 books in 13 weeks

21 08 2013

It’s not the 30 books I read in 12 weeks over the summer of 2011 when I was on sick leave while pregnant with V, but this time around I have had other distractions thanks (?) to my smart phone (Instagram, FB etc). I could have read more books but I was also lacking motivation, maybe due to being more tired / stressed with not sleeping so well and trying to entertain V (even though our babysitter / nanny is great!).

Here are the 23 books I read during the course of the last 13 weeks (grades from 1 to 5):

1. Jonathan Tropper – How to talk to a widower (4)
2. Elisabeth Nemert – Ljusets dotter (3)
3. Ann Rosman – Fyrmästarens dotter (3)
4. Alan Hollinghurst – The Stranger’s child (4)
5. Lisa Jewell – Thirtynothing (3)
6. Abraham Vergese – Cutting for stone (4)
7. Måns Wadensjö – Förlossningen (3)
8. Laurie Viera Rigler – Confessions of a Jane Austen addict (2)
9. Edmund de Waal – The hare with amber eyes (4,5)
10. Mons Kallentoft – Pesetas (3)
11. Jonas Gardell – Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar (5)
12. Anne Enright – The gathering (2,5)
13. Cecilia Ekhem – Väntrum (5)
14. Ann Rosman – Själakistan (3)
15. Elizabeth George – Believing the lie (4,5)
16. Elisabeth Schönbeck – Äldst, yngst eller mittemellan (4)
17. Margaret Foster – Keeping the world away (4)
18. Fredrik Backman – En man som heter Ove (4,5)
19. Jonathan Tropper – Everything changes (4)
20. Marie Hermanson – Himmelsdalen (4)
21. Ben Elton – Inconceivable (3)
22. Annika Lantz – 9,5 månad (4,5)
23. Mary Kay Andrews – Savannah blues (4)

24. Niklas Orrenius – Sverige forever in my heart (5)
25. Bodil Malmsten – Kom och hälsa på mig om tusen år (4) (finished reading on 27th August)

Not to forget all the times I have read V’s favourite books about “Pepe” (= Pelle by Jan Lööf)…

And now I hope that the baby arrives soon so I am chosing a light book 😉


At the last minute

1 07 2013

I have finally exported my blog subscriptions from Google reader (closing down TODAY) and imported them to The Old reader. Hoping that it will be as easy and great to follow my favourite blogs as from Google reader…

The Wonderful Blog World

14 06 2013

I don’t know if I have any readers left out there in cyberspace, but since I was put on sick leave on the 21st May I have been trying to spend as much time as possible in a horizontal position and it’s difficult to blog from there… However, I was told by the doctor yesterday that it looks quite ok for the moment so I am daring to be a bit adventerous and sit up for a while!

I read today on a blog friend’s blog that her son had asked her to make his favourite banana pancakes for his school summer party, and the recipe just happens to be mine!! Her blog post reminded me that I wanted to write about the wonderful blog world:

My blog turned 6 years a few weeks ago and even though I am not a very active blogger anymore, I still read all my favourite blogs and just like my pancake-making friend above, I am reminded every day of the blog community as many of the people I have met through the blog are now my friends on Facebook. Also, the blog world has meant that:

– I have met xx number of bloggers when travelling (New York, Virginia, California, Copenhagen, Stockholm, southern Sweden, and Brussels of course)! And of course this has also meant lots of great travel suggestions!
– We have hosted blog friends who came to Puerto Rico to visit!
– I still can’t believe that I missed the big Swedish blog meeting here in Brussels on the 10th September 2011 as I just happened to be in labour!
– I have had long skype talks with one dear blog friend whom I still haven’t met IRL but hoping to do so one day
– I was given advice on how to proceed to get a Swedish passport for my new-born son (born here in Brussels) by a blog reader
– and through the same blog reader I was introduced to a mother-baby group here in Brussels and through that group made new friends (and my son got some of his first friends!), got breast-feeding support when my son was losing weight at 2 months old, my new doctor was recommended through this group and today I just had a delivery of 5 books to read while resting from the wonderful midwife Jo who runs the group – all which would not have happened if I didn’t have a blog!
– My son V got lots and lots of wonderful presents when he was born from my dear blog friends, some of them I haven’t even met IRL.
– and maybe the most amazing of all: one of my blog friends is going to become OUR NEIGHBOUR!!! (I will let her announce that herself when she’s ready to go public…)

So all in all, the blog world has given me lovely friends, support and information as well as entertainment and distraction when life has been rough…

Thanks everyone and I hope to continue blogging, even if as sporadically as lately.

My Venice favourites

23 04 2013

Every now and then I get asked to give some Venice advice since I lived there for 5 months in 2000-2001. A fellow blogger, Miss Marie, recently asked for Venice tips, so I thought that I would make a blog post out of it. Venice is a magical, amazing, beautiful, smelly, frustrating tourist trap for a city and I know people who visited the city and returned home really disappointed! However, there are ways to limit the disappointments and this is what I usually recommend people to do:

Venice seen from the Lido, Italy

    • The locals drink spritz al aperol, not Bellinis. I know, I know, nowadays a drink famous all over Europe but let me tell you, in 2001 not even the Italian students in neighbouring Bologna had heard of the spritz!!
    • Favourite places for drinks: Campo San Lio close to the Rialto bridge, there is a bar, L’Olandese Volante where we always used to go. Also Campo Santa Margherita which is the square where the students hang out. I usually go to some of the bars next to the “Pizza al volo” “hole in the wall” (by the way, great pizza to eat on a park bench on the square in the middle of the night).

Spritz al aperol, Venice, Italy

    • Another Venetian drink is to order a “ombra“, small glass of wine together with some snacks (Venetian “tapas”) in a bar.
    • Tramezzini are triangular sandwiches that Italians eat for a mid-morning snack, sold in all bars
    • You pay more if you sit down to have a drink / coffee. Be careful on Piazza San Marco (the only square that is called “Piazza” in Venice, the others are “Campo”) as the coffees are VERY EXPENSIVE, especially at Caffe Florian (they add more to the bill if there is live music). Have a coffee standing at the bar instead if you really want to have a coffee there.
    • Visit the San Marco basilica and look at the mosaic FLOOR – it is beautiful and completely uneven after all the aque alte (when the water rises – an unforgettable experience if you ever have the “luck” to see it!)
    • Piazza San Marco is the most romantic and magical in the middle of the night, no tourists, no pigeons, no peddlers trying to sell you cheap souvenirs…

San Marco, Venice, Italy

    • In general, avoid restaurants on the Piazza San Marco-side of the Canal Grande and go towards Piazza Santa Margherita (Dorseduro) as it is cheaper and less touristy, which means better food and better value for money. You will see more “everyday Venetian life” on the other side of the canal.
    • IF you find it, and IF it still exists, check out the restaurant Arca, close to the church San Pantalon (Holy trousers?!) nearby Campo Santa Margherita. Nice pasta and pizza and not very touristy.
    • The Peggy Guggenheim museum – great museum, great location in a small palace next to the Canal Grande. I always visit the museum when I go to Venice. http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/
    • There is a nice ice cream bar on Fondamenta Zattere, and lovely views towards La Giudecca island – also a must for me!
    • The restaurants around the Fish market, close to the Rialto bridge are quite nice
    • You don’t go to Venice to eat well – just remember that! In general Venetian food is not as great as in other regions in Italy. Lots of polenta (I am not a fan)…
    • You always get lost in Venice but it is part of the experience. Look for signs for Rialto, San Marco, Ferrovia (train station) etc, that way you always find your way eventually. Addresses are not used in Venice so ask for instructions how to find a place instead of the “street name”. Getting directions from a local is impressive: “cross two bridges and three squares, turn left, turn right…”, you will never remember it all! Bring comfy walking shoes as there is a lot of walking involved, up and down bridges…
    • If you are looking for shoe bargains – il Gran Viale / Strada nova is the only “normal” shopping street in Venice, the street from the train station Santa Lucia towards Piazza San Marco.
    • I never took a gondola ride, very touristy and expensive (and I was a single student ;-)). Take a vaporetto instead to experience the Venetian ”buses” (i.e boats).

Vaporetto No 1, Venice, Italy

  • A really sweet place for a souvenir is the Itaca Bottega Art gallery, where a very friendly artist, Monica Martin shows and sells her pretty pictures of Venice http://www.itacaartstudio.com/ or more info here: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/19d299/ Address: Salizzada San Lio / Calle delle Bande, Castello (close to the church Santa Maria Formosa, kind of behind Piazza San Marco). I fell in love with her art and got one of her paintings as a graduation present from my parents (our graduation ceremony was in the Palazzo Ducale – the only time I have been visited the palace!)
  • If you want to visit any other island, visit Burano for pastel coloured houses or Murano for the glass studios. Don’t bother to visit the Lido, not really worth a visit if you are short of time – believe me, I lived there for 5 months!
  • Ponte Accademia – one of three bridges over the Canal Grande and the only one in wood. Cross this bridge towards Campo Santa Margherita, at one point you might pass a veggie boat where they sell vegetables directly from the boat
  • Campo San Polo is a lovely calm “everyday” square.
  • Literature: The city of falling angels by John Berendt and Out of this century by Peggy Guggenheim.

You can also read my blog post about an unusual hen party for a groom that my friends from my studies in Venice and I organised a few years ago!

A little anecdote which describes life in Venice quite well (and might explain why I keep insisting on “the not so touristy areas…): an Italian friend from Abruzzo (another Italian region) lived and studied in Venice for 7 years. He would always go to the same bar in the morning, have his coffee and chat with the other locals (as he saw it). One day he went into the bar with a friend, a true born and bred Venetian, and guess what: the coffee was suddenly cheaper than usual! It is not official, but apparently some places have local prices, “Italian” prices and the “tourist” prices… I have seen it in a restaurant where the menu was all of a sudden much more extensive when some locals came in for dinner than for us mere mortals (i.e tourists)!

Oh, writing about Venice makes me really want to go back…

Son’s +115 books…

18 01 2013

Is it normal that a 16-month old boy has +115 books already? 🙂 I guess not but with a Latvian auntie who has a printing company (thank you, Z for the amazing contribution to V’s library!!!) and a book-loving mother, grandparents, aunt & uncle it might be understandable!

Trying to get some of the books organised…

He has books in Swedish, Spanish, French and English (and I found one or two in Italian as well)! He even has the same book in Swedish, English and French (Ensam mullvad pa en scen / The best singer in the world / Le meilleur spectacle du monde* by Ulf Nilsson & Eva Eriksson). Practical if any of our international friends would like to understand what we are reading.

Opps, some of mummy’s political science books mixed in with the children’s literature

His father might not agree, but I think that he needs more Spanish ones – any tips on classical Spanish children’s books?? O comes from a non-reading family and I don’t think that they had any children’s books when he was a child (how sad!)…

*) Interesting how the translated titles have nothing to do with the original one!!

Crochet animals!

15 07 2012

Maybe it is a bit ironic that I, who never learnt how to crochet in school as my sewing teacher could not teach left-handed crochet, love crochet animals! I discovered Dutch Anne-Claire Petit‘s monkeys in an interior design magazine, which showed her home where the monkeys were scattered in every room, and ever since I have been crazy about the sweet crocheted animals.

V seems to like his monkeys, and the bear (from the Swedish Children’s Cancer Foundation) as well.

My Dutch friend I who came to visit us today gave V the striped monkey, and the striped cat was her farewell present to me when I left Brussels in 2007.

The first baby who got a Anne-Claire Petit monkey was my friend Å’s son who was born in 2006. He got a red and white monkey that Å named after me 😉 and he used to wrestle with it before falling asleep.

Å gave V these crocheted animals for the pram, they are from the Danish brand Navne dyret, also very cute!

Waist: Low

25 10 2011

Check out my sister’s blog post about Swedish jeans’ models for babies… I don’t know if I should laugh or cry when it comes to the fashion conscious Swedes!?