Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Dear readers and blog friends, thank you for your visits, comments, pins, likes and emails in 2013. May your new year be filled with blessings ... and magic!

I'm signing off with Auld Lang Syne. See you in 2014!

photo credit:
1: Trouvé Magazine via Erin Kate Gouveia / 2-3: Aristocrat Kids Spring 2014
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Monday, 30 December 2013

drawing with light 29

Peter O’Toole (1932-2013) preparing for his role as T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

photo credit:
Dennis Oulds via Books and Art/Tumblr
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Sunday, 29 December 2013

my Sunday moment

This is my favourite Christmas present this year: a handmade notebook by my younger daughter; 20 squared pages, the size of my thumb. Kaffi is the Icelandic word for coffee.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt
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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Holidays



As I write this, I'm finishing my cup of coffee and about to start preparing the rice and almond pudding, a Danish dessert that has become a tradition in our household on Christmas Eve (we open the presents after dinner tonight). The turkey is in the fridge, waiting to be prepared as well. I'm ready for a delicious feast.

I visited my new friend John Lewis and bought a white tablecloth and white napkins for our Christmas table (I love their Christmas ad this year, about the animal that had never seen Christmas). I snapped a few photos yesterday when I was getting everything ready. The berry branches are old, I bought them in Iceland many years ago and they are one of the few things I kept when we moved abroad.


To me Christmas wouldn't be complete without an Amazon book package. This year A got me a few from my wish list: two books for the coffee table, Ralph Lauren (it's huge, filled with images) and The Natural Home by stylist Hans Blomquist. As I couldn't imagine Christmas without literature, I got a beautiful edition of Jane Austen's Persuasion, from the Penguin Clothbound Classics, which I'm collecting. And yes, there was some Downton Abbey too. Yesterday I got three books in the mail from friends so there will be no shortage of reading material in this house over the holidays.


*Looking for inspiration for the holidays? Check out my Christmas board on Pinterest

I wish you all happy and peaceful holidays with loved ones! Or as we say in Icelandic: GLEÐILEG JÓL!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Monday, 23 December 2013

white Christmas daydreaming

With plenty of rain and wind in the West Midlands today I thought how wonderful it would be to wake up tomorrow with the ground covered in snow. I'm a white Christmas girl at heart; there is nothing like light snow falling on a peaceful Christmas Eve. I guess I will just have to white-Christmas daydream with the help of the Fresh Holidays 2013 ad campaign. There is so much joy in these images captured by Laurie Frankel.

I hope your Christmas preparation is going well. Have a wonderful day!

*Looking for inspiration for the holidays? Check out my Christmas board on Pinterest

photo credit:
Laurie Frankel for Fresh Holidays 2013

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Friday, 20 December 2013

a Danish home at Christmas


I just wanted to post these lovely images of a Danish home in Hellerup at Christmas to wish you a wonderful weekend. I find it beautifully decorated and I like the black and golden theme. I have never decorated with black myself, but it looks quite stylish.

Got any plans this weekend? Today A and I went into town to do the Christmas shopping and will continue and finish tomorrow. I thought there would be more craziness in stores by now but people seem fairly easy going, excluding those that seem to express their built-up irritation in traffic! Right now I'm preparing a simple dinner for the kids and myself (the Friday pizzas were served yesterday), as A is off to Birmingham to enjoy a Christmas dinner with his work colleagues. There will be no more school for the kids until January so tonight it's relaxation and DVD-time. While shopping today I got myself a copy of last year's Downton Abbey Christmas special and am looking forward to watching it, although I know it doesn't exactly end well.

*Looking for inspiration for the holidays? Check out my Christmas board on Pinterest

photo credit:
Kira Brandt for Bo Bedre

Thursday, 19 December 2013

the waterway nearby

Since we moved I haven't had much time to photograph my new surroundings. I'm still learning where places are and how I reach them, preferably by bicycle. After we got the proper wi-fi at home I have to admit that I haven't been going into the town centre as often as I did. There will be plenty of time for exploring when we have settled well.

Today I wanted to show you part of my close surroundings. I live on the right side of this small canal or waterway that I bicycle along when going into town (about 8-10 minutes). I took the top photo on a stone bridge (not for cars), which we walk over every morning when going to school. What I love about this spot is the country-like scenery if I keep the focus on the canal itself (on both sides there are neighbourhoods; ours is a relatively new one, developed in the 90s.) I don't know how to explain it but every time I cross the bridge it feels a bit magical and I love that second when I take in the scenery before continuing my way. The little things...

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

the bring-on-the-Christmas-mood list

This isn't one of those gift-guide posts; this is my what-went-wrong-this-year—next-year-I-will-be-better-prepared list! In other words, the bring-on-the-Christmas-mood list. As you already know, my mood emerged very slowly this year. The spark is obviously there; I felt it on Monday when I listened to the children singing at my son's school and while baking cookies when I got home. Every time they play White Christmas on the radio something stirs inside, even though I have every reason to doubt Christmas will be white this year. I find heart-warming greetings from loved ones, even from the new neighbours, in the mail every day. My wonderful Amazon package from A is already here and before I know it I will be feeling like my usual self this month. That said, I have realised that obviously something went wrong this year; I wasn't prepared and here is my list of things I think would have done the trick in December:

the red holiday checked tablecloth in the photo would have looked pretty on the kitchen table and these cotton and linen holiday napkins too (Lexington Co.)
that classic wool throw in the foreground would have been ideal, the blue one too (Lexington Co.)
or this basket weave blanket, hand woven in Kenya from organic, homespun wool (Toast)
I wish I had bought this winter animals card set for my holiday greetings (The Moorea Seal shop)
and discovered Wendy Paula's Parisian apartment houses Christmas card earlier, a collage with many of the loved Mulberry Muse characters for my vintage-loving friends (Etsy)
reading a few pages everyday in the Penguin clothbound classics edition of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens (Amazon)
I believe wearing these red Calvin Klein plaid PJ bottoms on weekend mornings would have set the right Christmas tone - there are red lounge bottoms for the gentlemen too (Asos)
I hardly ever drink from mugs but the blue Taika mug always looks so festive to me and would have been perfect for the hot chocolate; the Sarjaton mug too (iittala)

That's it, that's my list. Have a wonderful day!

photo credit:
1: Lexington Company Holiday Living Collection 2013

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

notes à la mode 41


In 2010 designer Massimiliano Giornetti presented his first womenswear collection for the house of Salvatore Ferragamo, after replacing Christina Ortiz. Giornetti had been working for the fashion house for ten years and was at the helm of their menswear department. His autumn/winter 2010 collection, which he showed at the Milan Fashion Week, is one of those that seem to be rooted in my memory. I think it has everything to do with the colour palette - reminds me of a forest walk in autumn - and the timelessness of the garments, and also the fact that so many of the pieces appealed to me (e.g. the leather-edged capes, wide-brimmed felt hats, and scarves). His inspiration for the collection was Greta Garbo's 1970s wardrobe and here are some of my favourite close-ups.


photo credit:
Salvatore Ferragamo Autumn 2010 via StyleBistro

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Monday, 16 December 2013

k&a: meringue tops + chocolate frosting / sauce

With the holidays coming up I decided to post two new recipes on KITCHEN & AROMA today, my meringue tops (with or without chocolate) and chocolate frosting or sauce, which I sometimes serve with them. As I say in the introduction to the meringue tops recipe, it will be the most sugary one on the food blog. After what feels like endless experiments I have accepted the fact that you need a certain amount of sugar to keep the texture right.

Did you enjoy a good weekend? The tree has been decorated and I baked cookies (I also did disastrous experiments, that is, texture-wise, which tasted really good). Still no sign of my Christmas mood! Our son even decorated the living room floor with white Christmas lights and a selection of white baubles in the centre. I didn't have the heart to tell him to remove it; he was so proud.

After lunch today I'm going to a play in his school, the Christmas production, and maybe that will help bring on the Christmas spirit with full force.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

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Friday, 13 December 2013

missing Christmas mood + tableware collections

Beautifully painted white and blue tableware tends to sweep me off my feet. Lately I have been admiring this detail of Jasper Conran's Blue Chinoiserie collection (I have added it to my wish list, next to the Royal Copenhagen's Blue Fluted Plain collection). Currently I don't have any ultra fancy plates and I don't really need them, but as I was unpacking our things I realised that it was time to update the casual plates and cereal bowls. Conran has a collection called Casual, which I would like to view a little closer before I make a decision.

How is your Christmas preparation going? It's only the five of us over the holidays and no need for big plans (no relatives around, therefore no Christmas parties). Unfortunately, my Christmas mood is still missing. I don't know what is wrong with me this December. With all the semi-Griswolds in the neighbourhood one would think that their decorations would have some affect, but they do absolutely nothing for me. And don't even get me started on the tacky reindeer figure in front of one house. I cannot even look at it!

Maybe the Christmas spirit will kick in this weekend. I'm going to let the children decorate the tree while I do some baking. I'm also going to make a big batch of home-made muesli, which mainly consists of oatmeal, cocoa powder, raw cane sugar, maple syrup and coconut oil that I put in the oven for a few minutes. The kids love it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

*Looking for inspiration for the holidays? Check out my Christmas board on Pinterest

photo credit:
1 + 3: Jasper Conran / 2 + 4: Sharyn Cairns for Homelife | styling by Glen Proebstel

Thursday, 12 December 2013

drawing with light 28

The Wollman Rink, Central Park, New York City, 1954

*Looking for inspiration for the holidays? Check out my Christmas board on Pinterest

photo credit:
Edward Pfizenmaier via Facie Populi

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Icelandic design: Christmas items by Hekla Íslandi



I have featured Icelandic artist and designer Hekla Bjork Gudmundsdottir, the owner of Hekla Íslandi, on the blog before but not given her design the space I think it deserves. I was reminded of it when pinning the boy, girl and sheep above. I find her Icelandic and Nordic motifs very alluring; her design takes me back to my childhood in Iceland.

Hekla Bjork, born in 1969, was brought up in the south of Iceland, surrounded by volcanic mountains. The word Hekla in Iceland is a girl's name and the name of an active volcano. Her work is inspired by nature and the production of the items started back in 1996 when she first made gift cards, replicas of her paintings. She has offered a Christmas collection for a few years now and I still remember when I bought my first Hekla Íslandi Christmas napkins. Gift cards, tags and napkins are not the only items she offers, there are also candles, matches, runners, gift wraps and bags, décor and even chocolate. If you are travelling in Iceland you will find her design in many flower and gift shops, and I would be surprised if you wouldn't find it in any of the duty free stores at Keflavik International Airport.



*Looking for inspiration for the holidays? Check out my Christmas board on Pinterest

photo credit:
Hekla Íslandi