Saturday, 31 January 2015

My Meatless Month

31 days. 31 days without meat. Was it difficult? Not really. The reason I decided to spend one month of my life without eating meat was not very altruistic. Some people I know are vegetarians or vegans with a cause. I am your average absent-minded and indecisive female who just wanted to practice her self-discipline a little bit. As I said, it was not hard. Mainly because I don't like meat so much.

Anyhow, I do recommend this experiment to people. By excluding something from your diet, you need to be much more creative with the remaining foods. (The assumption here being that a) one cooks, and b) one cooks other dishes than pasta and veggies). There are so many delicious ingredients out there to be discovered. In this case, I re-discovered beans, spinach, mushrooms, porridge and much more. I have also stilled my cravings with sushi. A newly discovered treat is ginger tea. 

Cravings. I thought that I'd have cravings for meat. A couple of times it did indeed happen. The first time I really wanted to eat my favorite Indian dish, Chicken Jalfrezi. The second time I was about to stick my fork into a plate filled with the Swedish delicacy pyttipanna. The almost a storm intervened. So, I can proudly say that I managed to stay away from meat for a month. The most important result is that I did it. I don't feel physically healthier or fitter. My skin has gone crazy. The challenge was not so great to begin with.

But I did it. (However, I would probably never manage to stop eating cheese for a month). 

The Way To Keep Your Figure...

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Exciting News

Not many words are needed.
Via Belgrade.

And my dad thought that the idea to head to the 
Americas down under is a great one, time to leave Europe, he said.

And them there is one more, work-related, thing, that might of might not work. Cross your fingers.

Cuddling with the cat. 

Traduciendo, bebiendo, aprendiendo.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

My square meter of privacy

As I write this, I am hiding in a toilet on a boat. There is not a storm outside but in my world this does indeed feel like a hurricane. Good thing then that we do not have hurricanes in my part of the world. This morning - the first of a few mornings off - I have spent a great deal of time counting my blessings. Not so much because of the not-really-a-storm outside, it is rather my opinion about the world being a total mess that has made me more thankful. 

My world is not black and white. It consists of a multitude of greys with splashes of colour. This means that I usually get it. It is perfectly clear why most people act the way they do. Take the elections in Greece, for instance. As a citizen of Finland I'd rather not see our tax money being emptied into a black hole. However, I do understand why people would want to return to a more normal state of life in Greece. I cannot expect normal and average people to take responsibility for the actions of corrupt leaders. If I were in their shoes, I'd probably vote for the one promising me a more normal life too.

Therein lies the paradox. Or the problem. Call it what you want, but the world is too complex for my liking. We have made it too complicated. So, I reach out to the last rays of hope and count my blessings, trying to simplify my own life in the process, while the storm is gathering its forces outside. 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Some Thoughts... Finnish. 

Now I need to follow these pieces of advice and make a phone call. Stay tuned for some exciting news😄

Sunday, 18 January 2015


Food again. It's interesting how one starts craving for certain things. My things include chili, cheese and garlic. Sunday today. Lovely, lovely Sunday.
My plan is to work out, study Spanish and spend time with friends. Simple is good, I think. These things make me happy. 

Friday, 9 January 2015


Learning is a great thing and possessing the will to learn is a fine trait in people. I have always admired the so-called renaissance man (or woman!). The person, who with great curiosity, has made new inventions and discoveries, and walked his (or her) own path. It is, it seems to me, curiosity that has motivated these renaissance people. Curiosity and willingness to go to places unseen and doing things previously undone.

I believe that it is this curiosity and the admiration for and humbleness before the great unknown that deserves so much awe. Intelligence and talent are fines characteristics too, but somehow the purity of the motive overshadows them.

A while back I read a blog post written by a woman working in economics. (Unfortunately I cannot recall where I read this, so the reference is quite vague). This woman argued that everyone should make a new year's resolution to learn something new. The reason, however, was not so "pure". No, she argued that everyone should make a commitment to learning something new so that they would not be left behind. Because our society requires constant development and the acquirement of new skills. 

Sorry, but no thanks. Life is stressful as it is without adding learning to list of things that one must do in order to be considered acceptable. I can think of so many other reasons to engage in learning:

  • Learn languages to be able to communicate with those around you and to gain insight into other worlds
  • Learn social sciences to understand society
  • Learn maths to solve problems
  • Learn about nutrition to be healthier
  • Learn economics so that the current world will make more sense
  • Learn to challenge the way you see the world
  • Etc etc
Or, if you are feeling bored, Leonardo Da Vinci had one more good reason for learning: 

NaBloPoMo January 2015

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Change pt. 2.

Change yourself,
change everything,
change life.

Develop. Become better.
Be better.

Go searching,
avidly, constantly.

If not good enough,
change yourself.
Find a better self.

Fake it.

Run as far as it takes you.

Smile to the world.
Turn your tears into laughter
and your fears into light.

Change, go on changing.
Find a new costume,
and new life.

Dress up,

Come on,
do it.

Only one life.
Too short to stand still.
Too short for traditions
and pretenses.

Enjoy the silence.

Enjoy the scenery,
enjoy the road.

Remember, too short.
But hold on the core,
to what is really you.

Life, an endless road that ends too soon

NaBloPoMo January 2015


the act or instance of making or becoming different.

változás. muutos. förändring. zmena. изменение. cambio. zmiana. 

The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.

- Leo Tolstoy -

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

[Photo Diary] One Silent Corner of the World

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? (136-137)” 
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

(Quasi) Homemade Chai Latte

This year... oh no, wait, last year I fell in love with chai latte. However, as the ones at cafes are usually too sweet (and very expensive in the long run), I have been experimenting in the kitchen. I tried mixing my own spices, that just turned out weird (after a re-search on Google, I have some ideas on how to make it better). So, today I settled for using two different types of chai tea bags and a lot of milk. The drink was warm and comfy, and sweet enough, even without the added sugar.

Breaking Habits pt. 2: Letting Go of Meat

One of my plans for January is to have a meatless month. This is something I have talked about for such a long time that it was finally time to do something about it. It is not as much of a problem for me (I don't like meat that much) as it is for the people around me (who like meat very much). The "challenge" is also made easier by the fact that it is only meat that is banned. I still very much welcome fish and dairy on my kitchen table. 

Here are some of the delicious cooking that has found its way to that very same kitchen table this month. My boyfriend usually acts the cook. 

NaBloPoMo January 2015

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Christmas Is Over

Christmas is over - yay. 
The last day off work - nay. 

We don't celebrate Christmas so much in this household. This year it consisted of sleeping and food. And days off. I don't know how it is in the rest of the world, but here in Sweden we have had quite a few public holidays the in the past few weeks, which means paid holidays. Today is a paid day off and it feels like Sunday. Again.

It feels like the new year is starting now.

As we moved to a new part of town, we were given a voucher to one of the local gyms. We have been there twice and are both quite happy about it, so I definitely think we will continue going there. I'm quite pleased that there is a separate area for women and that the membership gives access to all the gyms in the same chain around the country. Not that I travel so much in Sweden but there is another gym close to where I work, so I could go there once in a while.

[Insert gym selfie here]

[have no gym selfie]

Point with this post? More gym and less time off work (except for my normal holidays, at least six weeks this year, whoop!) What a promising start of the new year!

Our only Christmas decoration says hello: 

Breaking A Habit - Or Just Growing Up?

Yesterday at 7.17 am I was standing in an elevator admiring my new trousers when it hit me. I had managed to rid myself of the very bad habit of impulsive and compulsive shopping. It is a process that has taken me years but I am happy that I achieved it. It was something I talked about trying to stop - but as it turned out, I had stop trying before I managed to stop. In many ways I think that habits are created and broken when we plant that little seed in our head and almost unconsciously let it grow there. Sometimes things take time, but eventually we will get there.

But whom am I kidding? The truth is that I want to show you my fabulous* new trousers.

* my sense of fashion is so fabulous (or shall we just be honest and call it peculiar) that I usually find everything I need on sale.

NaBloPoMo January 2015

Monday, 5 January 2015


Dear fellow language-learners. 

As you may have noticed, this month is all about habits and promises and resolutions and whatnot. Let's make a short summary of how to say these things in the languages spoken at the Playground.

  • English: Habit. Goal/aim. Motivation. Success. Failure. 
  • Finnish: Tapa. Päämäärä. Motivaatio. Onnistuminen. Epäonnistuminen. 
  • Swedish: Vana. Mål. Motivation. Framgång. Misslyckande. 
  • Spanish: Costumbre. Meta. Motivación. Éxito. Fracaso. 
  • Polish: Obyczaj. Cel. Motywacja. Sukces. Porażka.
  • Russian: привычка. цель. мотивация. успех. неуспех.
  • Slovak: Zvyk. Cieľ. Motivácia. Úspech. Zlyhanie. 
  • Hungarian: Szokás. Cél. Motiváció. Siker. Kudarc. 

NaBloPoMo January 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015


Habits, habits, habits 

Now, in the time of making resolutions and promises left and rights, let's spend a couple of moments thinking about habits. Good habits. When making a promise to myself, I usually approach the issue from a negative point of view: I need to let something go. An example of this is losing weight or getting rid of sugar. Even though the aim is a good one, the promise itself rests on the notion of deprivation. No more good food, no more sweets.This view (I think) is based on a very negative view of the self: I need to let go of things in order to be good enough. Now, this is a very ridiculous way to view oneself. So, instead. This year, I will add positive things to my life because I'm worth it. Yeah, yeah. It's a cliché, but if I don't think so, then who will?  Adding healthy food and exercise is a good thing because healthy, natural food tastes better and because working out makes me feel better. Really, the harder it gets, the better it feels.

So, what is it then that I want to add, apart from tasty food and great workouts? Here's a short list:

  • More quality time with friends and family
  • More adventures in the form of travelling and excursions
  • More time for things that I enjoy (learning languages, writing, photography, cooking, translation)
  • Adding mindful rest to my life
  • Being more thankful and grateful
  • Last but not least - I will be good to myself, not everything needs to be perfect all the time
How about you, what are your New Year's Resolutions? 

NaBloPoMo January 2015

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Things That I Adore Right Now

Cosas que adoro ahora mismo. Rzeczy, które uwielbiam teraz. Вещи, которые я обожаю прямо сейчас. Veci, ktoré zbožňujem práve teraz. 

Home-made chai latte

My new journal for 2015 and my red tea pot!

[Habits] [Photo Diary] In 2015...

Life is all about habits - it's all about turning our wishes and desires into a form of behaviour that will turn into a habit. Only a habit will provide the constancy required for any real change in the current state of affairs.

In 2015, this is one of the things I want to turn into a habit:

NaBloPoMo January 2015