Instagram Roundup (August)

Here are the few photos I’ve published on Instagram throughout August, all of them taken in Sweden.

Early morning on my way to the airport to return to England.

The lovely piece of cake I had on my birthday.

View of the lake in my old hometown.

A photo from the evening I was down on the west coast.

Another view of the lake from my old hometown.

A view of the other lake by my hometown.

 

Monthly Update (April)

We’re going to start doing monthly updates. Yay! Mainly for me to feel accountable for how much writing/revising I’ve done during the month, but also to see what I’ve been up to in general. Honestly, I think I forget myself if I don’t write it down.

Writing

Currently revised chapters: 14

I didn’t get as much done this month as I had hoped, but I have great excuses reasons. I spent just over a week on holiday, during which I didn’t do a single thing related to writing. Also, while it might look like a measly number, I stopped after chapter 14 when I realised that after ten years this novel needed a lot more work than just editing. Meaning that I’ve gone back to chapter one and started heavily revising.

Since then I’ve been revising, spending sometimes upwards of four hours per chapter, rewriting and trying to make it better. I’m nearly back up to where I finished (14), so if I can keep up a steady pace, I should be done revising before June rolls around. Then commences editing and proofreads.

My biggest problem, which I’m sure I’m not alone in, is lack of time. Every other week I have a few days off, but the other week I have several days in a row where my spare time is all of two hours between waking up after a night shift and then having to be back at work. During those two hours I generally have to shower, walk the dog and eat some dinner. Some of those days I’ve managed to revise half a chapter, but that’s rare.

I sometimes worry that I’m spending all my time revising rather than starting to write something new, but I think it’s best to focus on getting this novel ready first. I’ll worry about the next one later. The positive thing with all this revising is that I’m suddenly finding myself with lots of story inspiration again, something I’ve been lacking for a long time. So hooray!

Other stuff

I spent just over a week back in Sweden over Easter, and it was great. I loved seeing my family again. Below will be a spam of photos from the holiday, so feel free to ignore. The holiday was great, even if I got no writing or revising done.

Mom made a cheesecake decorated with Malteaster bunnies. Yummy!

When the egg is nearly as big as the kid, we might need to think about this…

The favourite thing the nephew received.

Mom made Easter egg cakes. It’s actually a cream and half a peach.

It snowed… SNOWED! Come on Sweden!

The one scenery photo I took, and it’s not even good!

A wild sprite appears!

Nephew happy out on a walk.

Niece rocking the tutu and sunglasses look.

 

Happy Easter!

It’s that time of year again when we stuff our faces with chocolate and chase rabbits down the hole…

I’m currently in Sweden visiting family, and so I get to enjoy the Scandinavian traditions which are actually quite different. No bunnies and none of the traditional British Easter eggs that we all know and love. There are Easter eggs of course, but you wouldn’t be able to go out and buy yourself a Maltesers or Galaxy egg. Rather they just have lots of the tiny ones, in a pick and mix type.

You see a lot more of chickens than bunnies, and because all Scandinavian traditions are mixed with their old ways, there are Easter witches. Because… Well, because when they converted Scandinavia to Christianity they found that it was easier to just let them hold onto their old ways, and just tag the new Christian traditions onto them. So now they are left with a combination of both.

Most of the dates of the heathen holidays pretty much lined up with the Christian ones anyway, so why make a fuss when they could just combine it? You can notice it in a way because up here they tend to celebrate all holidays on the eve rather than the day. Like most of the celebrations take place on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. I celebrated Easter yesterday (Saturday) rather than today (Sunday).

They also celebrate Midsummer’s Eve (originally summer solstice) every June.

But today we’re talking about Easter.

So, Easter witches.

It all stems from back in the day when people were very superstitious. They believed that the night before Easter, all of the witches would get on their brooms and ride to Blåkulla (Blockula) to meet with the Devil for the witches’ Sabbath. While obviously no one believes in witches anymore, the tradition somehow lives on in the children dressing up as witches for Easter.

See how scary the Easter witches are?

Beyond dressing up as witches, the traditions vary depending on where in the country you live. Some parts have an approach similar to Halloween where the children will walk between houses and ask for candy. The area where my family live, the children will draw something on a piece of paper, fold it into a letter and fill it with candy. They’ll then throw it into their friends’ homes and run off, and the friend is meant to run after them to try to catch them.

I love finding out about local traditions or even traditions that differ between countries. That said, with internet and the amount of information that’s around these days, I do find that the lines blur. People see things on tv/the internet and suddenly things from other countries appear. (Like I actually saw a couple of Easter bunnies in the Easter parade yesterday, something I’ve never seen before in Sweden.)

In any case, I wish you all a Happy Easter – no matter where you are in the world.

Does your country/family/region have any special Easter traditions?

It’s November already?

I feel like I blinked, and suddenly it’s November. Wasn’t it August like, last week?

We had our half-term holiday just over a week ago, and I went to Sweden for a few days to attend my newest niece’s naming ceremony. It was a nice few days, and the first time I visited my sister in her new flat. They live nearly five hours from my home town (where I usually go when visiting Sweden since the majority of my family is there), so I didn’t get to see everyone. Still, I was lucky that a lot of my family actually was down for the ceremony as well.

olivia-foot

The ceremony was lovely, with my sister and her partner reading parents’ vows for their child, and my sister singing a song. There was a spread of food and lots of cheesecake and mud cake. Very delicious!

Since I stayed there a few days before the ceremony I also got to hang out with my sister for a few days, which was really nice.

olivia-hands

Now I’m looking forward to Christmas, which this year will be celebrated in Sweden. The boyfriend and I have an agreement to celebrate every other year in Sweden and the UK respectively. So this year we’re both going to celebrate at my mom’s. My sister is doing every other year as well (partner’s family in their town vs at mom’s), and we’ve arranged it so that we do the same year at mom’s. Should be quite a few of us this year!

Amusement Park

Viggo turned five while I was in Sweden, and for his birthday present I gave him a day at the amusement park in Gothenburg. I suspect that he liked his gift, because this was the face he had when we first went in.

viggo-isak

My mom and one of my brothers went with us as well. The weather was good for most of it, with just a spot of rain at one point. Viggo dares to go on nearly anything that he’s allowed to go on, including things that go very high and triggers my fear of heights. Something that he does not care about.

We had a great day though, and I’m kind of hoping to make it a yearly tradition to go to the amusement park when I’m in Sweden during the summer.

On the flume ride!

On the flume ride!

Waving!

Waving!

Pool Time in Sweden

My first day back in Sweden my brother was working, so I took the kids to my aunt’s place and we had a swim in the pool. Viggo, the nephew, is never difficult to convince to go for a swim, but my niece, Moa is a bit more trouble.

She sat on the side of the pool for quite a long time, refusing to dip anything more than her feet, until finally I took her into the water. She immediately screamed to go back to the stairs to sit down, so I brought her back. A few seconds later she yells “more!” and lunges herself at me. We did that a few more times until she was happy to stay in the water.

We had a lot of fun!

moa-pool moa-viggo-pool pool viggo-pool viggo-pool2

And suddenly it’s the middle of August!

Right. So, things got pretty busy.

I finished up work, and there was a lot of extra stuff the last few days, including a prom night for the students. The day I finished work, I came home, then went straight into panic-cleaning mode since my family was arriving later that evening. They then spent a week here, and we did some sightseeing and hanging out – it was nice.

After that, I went back to Sweden for two weeks to see the rest of my family. I’ve not been back in England for a week, and I’m slowly gathering energy again. That much socialising and well… doing stuff, wears me out. I have a bunch of photos to share, but I will space them over a few different posts, because I don’t want to spam you too much!

This weekend just gone it was my birthday, and it was celebrated fairly quietly at home with the boyfriend and his parents. We’d invited a few friends over, but a couple were out of town and another decided to have their baby that weekend! So in the end it was just us four. I feel like they all had good excuses though.

I had brought some things back from Sweden, and made a Swedish cake called a Princess cake, which uses green marzipan. It’s three layers, with bottom being strawberry jam, middle being vanilla custard and then you cover it all with some whipped cream and top it with the green marzipan. It was the first time I made it, and I think I can definitely improve on it for the next one, but it wasn’t bad!

Princess Cake!

Princess Cake!

The boyfriend got me an insanely good gift as well; he got me a laptop! It’s perfect for several reasons, I’ll be able to sit more comfortably to write (sitting at the desk for too long tends to make me ache), and I can bring it when I go to Sweden and still be able to do things! (I suspect he may have gotten tired of hearing me curse at the 5+ year old laptop I was using in Sweden when trying to raid in the past.)

IMG_0187

All in all, it was a great birthday, and a good few weeks previous. Will write more about them in the next few days, while spamming you with photos. (Some of which you’ll have seen if you have me on instagram and/or facebook.)