September summary

Let’s wrap up September!

Not that I know why I seem to be so damned thrilled about that.

If it was up to me every month would be September. Best month, easy peasy. Weather is on its best behavior, by which I mean it’s less bright, and that alone makes life infinitely easier to deal with.

Rainy and cold you say? Ja?? Is nice! Reasons to stay inside, get some proper clothes on, and I can finally open my blinds.

 

Listened to

Could Architects just take a goddamn break already? New track and I can’t even tell if it’s actually good anymore. I just feel like I have no judgement and love whatever they put out. 100% biased.

So that overshadows the new Alazka release Phoenixthe title track of which is still a favorite:

which is the album I wish was Panik’s comeback record, och alas, a world of no, it was not. To be clear, this is one good album and any band putting this out should be proud.

That damn Architects track also overshadows the new Stray from the Path release Only Death Is Real,

…the new The National Sleep Well Beast

…AND the new Novelists release (Dear all, could you maybe consider spreading it out a little??? I can’t give you the attention you deserve.)

Being as an Ocean though. Being as an Ocean may just be the one that didn’t quite get overshadowed. Because this is exactly the record I wanted them to release, i.e. what they’ve created is finally in sync with my taste. There’s even bit of piano on this record. If I was PMS-ing I would cry.

Current favorite track off of Waiting for the Morning to Come: Thorns.

I’ve also binged Under huden med Kakan Hermansson. To a point where both reading is music is suffering from it.

 

Watched

Have you. Seen Architects. At Reading? How is the sound this good when it’s live??

Yesyes! I know I’m way overdue for a new favorite band. I’ll find one eventually. It’s not looking good though.

 

Read

Naomi Klein’s That Changes Everything. Might have mentioned.

 

Firsts

First Sephora shop ever. Because I needed (apparently??) the plum shade in the Kat von D Shade + light palette. EXACTLY the purple I’ve been looking for, as expected. And speaking of purple…

Dyed hair purple. It’s. It has many advantages. Such as it doesn’t seem to bleed as much as the red dye, goes better with most colors (e.g. cannot stand yellow when my hair is red). But. To be honest. I miss the red.

Adopting a skincare routine. Not a minute too soon some would say. Not my mother tho.

Mom: Are all those bottles yours…?
Me: Yes!
Mom: What was in that package?
Me: MORE!

I wish I was more like my mother; she’s a true minimalist. In that respect. I’m not even sure she has any type face cream.

 

Skincare

I know it’s too soon to talk about favorite skincare products, but, well, it’s my blog and its main purpose has to be space for me to do whatever I want?

Without further ado: madly in love with these guys:

I don’t usually fall madly in love with Body Shop products, but this camomile cleanser and vitamin E serum-in-oil are just so lovely!

 

Food

Made this excellent warm salad (it’s what we call “bowls” in Sweden) the other day, out of necessity: beets roasted in wasabi sesame and olive oil + kale, raw cabbage and vegan roasted garlic mayo, black beans and a really nice bulgur. Which I’ve already managed to make a weekly staple. And it was pretty too. And there was a picture. Which I then proceeded to lose (???).

I’ll give you this ginger shot instead:

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And because I live in fear of being mistaken for a healthy person: I don’t take it as a shot, I mix it with my water. Because I am obsessed with the that ginger bite.

Monthly menstrual report

Congratulations all speakers of Swedish! You can enjoy this fabulous video-taped podcast:

30 minutes menstruation + birth related bleeding💕 💕 💕

Another good thing about this month: no menstruation for me! I told you it was good.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

5 fall favorites

I’ve distanced myself from the metal. Wee bit. Always easier in fall.

I maintain that any fall soundtrack must include at lest one Richard Hawley track. This year, my pick is the 2003 release Run for Me:

Another favorite for fall is the latest Fink release, the album as a whole is my current go-to for whenever I’m not sure what I want to listen to, but I want to listen to something. Not Everything was Better in the Past is a nice one.

For some reason, Amy MacDonald always makes more sense to me in the fall. This is an old favorite I was reminded of when listening to an old mixed CD in my car:

I’m also adding Daughter to my playlists, e.g. Smother from the 2013 release If You Leave:

And obviously, Jonathan is a given. Som om from the album Klagomuren, one the best albums there ever was /fact.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

Experimenting with skincare

I’ve quickly abandoned my environment obsession and replaced it with a keen interest in skincare.

Currently, my skin seems to have two settings: oily or flaky dry. Like WTF?

I care for one reason only: you can’t put makeup on that. Unless you like your makeup patchy. (Did I also have to try just to make sure? You bet I did!)

Enter research skincare.

I have binged skincare by all my favorite YouTubers, added some Caroline Hirons, Under huden med Kakan Hermansson obvs (why didn’t I get on this train sooner?? Her combination of feminism and skincare is beyond brilliant!), and checked cruelty free status of a bunch of brands. It’s pretty much all I do. Read? But why? When I can watch another Pixi cleanser review??

Previously: sorta didn’t watch skincare at all, because what do I care? (Exception: hand creams. Care A LOT. But no one ever talks about that.)

So far though, this has gotten me to a point where I’m more confused than I was before. Certain about one thing only: there’s lots of trial and error to come.

Speaking of which. Went on a wee shopping spree. Sorta wished I’d stumbled on the cheat sheet on Caroline Hirons’ site before that; it’s a what products to spend money on, and what products you can buy for cheap. And grouped and sorted according to age! You have to love that.

Not that I’ve really splurged so far, but I was contemplating an expensive clay mask. However. You can make your own for barely any money! Didn’t even know you could; want to try this asap! Not least because that has to be better for the environment, right??

For similar reasons, I have purchased the camomile cleanser from the Body Shop.

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Not sure if it’s a cleanser one should be using if the skin sometimes is on the oily side, but oh, it melts away makeup and makes me forget all about my favorite Superdrug wipes. Also, no wipes=better from an environment point of view. (…apparently didn’t abandon the environment completely..?) Bonus: can keep my contacts in, which I find is frequently a problem with any makeup remover, somehow they get in your eyes an leave a film or some gunk on your contacts.

Unfortunately. Making up for whatever decreased environmental impact the cleanser involves by using C-vitamin peeling pads. People in the know say these specific ones are good. I’m not so sure. Don’t they make me more orange? And sticky? Or is that something else?

What I am most definitely loving tho, is this spatula for mask application.

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The feeling of spreading your mask on with this thing is so satisfying.

I’ve settled on this routine as my starting point, but as per usual, I’m not great at following instructions.

I did a wee experiment. Because my face felt sticky, I wanted to see if I was using too much product. So I sorta didn’t moisturize. Until I really felt I needed it and then only with a tiny bit of cream at a time.

Do you know what happens when you do that? (You probably do.)

You get yourself two sizable dry patches, that’s what happens. Skin in general feels kinda tight and itchy too, but that’s a minor problem. By comparison.

And so, mission of the day was to get an exfoliating sponge, preferably an AHA moisturizer, and a good night cream, possibly also an oil for nighttime use. According to online sources, that could maybe work for dry patches.

So I’ve now slathered my poor abused face with the youth concentrate Body Shop gave me, when I bought this serum in oil:

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Which I put on top of the concentrate (as instructed, dunno what the concentrate does), serum in oil btw, feels so, so nice on the skin, followed this with a layer of AHA moisturizer:

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My skin is not unhappy. Happier than it’s been for weeks actually.

Super excited to see what mood my skin decides to be in tomorrow, if this combo actually was as good as it seems or if it was just for now.

Not quite getting my hopes up. My skin seems just about as fickle as my menstruation.

The Endless Blog Challenge

We are heading into the last week of September, it’s safe to say we are well into fall.

As the month ends on Saturday, it should come as no surprise that for next week, one of the topics proposed is:

SEPTEMBER SUMMARY. Or September favorites, whatever you want to call it! Some sort of wrap up of September.

Let’s stick with the fall theme.

5 FALL FAVORITES. If I’m being honest, I’m expecting five songs you’ve added to your fall playlist, but let’s not be restrictive! Any type fall favorites, completely random or on a theme.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY. Interpret as you will, but sticking with the theme is one suggestion.

Good luck!

How to learn to love beans

This is the guide I wish I had when I went vegetarian. Because OH how I struggled with the legumes.

My first encounter with legumes, other than white beans in chili, was not a happy meeting.

Green lentils. No hint of a spice. As some sort of side dish? Shudders.

Don’t do that. Took me literally years to recover.

It’s actually not THAT complicated, there’s basically two things to it:

ONE. Buy canned and/or frozen.

There is one simple reason for this: if you’re unfamiliar with beans and/or lentils you’re not going to know what they’re supposed to look/taste like. If you start out buying canned/frozen beans/lentils you’ll learn, which will be immensely helpful if you want to start cooking them yourself. Which I personally think is a bit overkill, even if it’s something I do. I suppose it’s good for the environment, your personal finances and ehm, if you need something to do Saturday mornings? To make you feel you’ve accomplished something over the weekend?

And supposedly, if you struggle to digest beans, canned beans is a better option.

TWO. Start with the easy ones

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Some of them require less practice than others; this is a list of 4 of the easy ones, including examples of what to do with them.

Red lentils

This was probably my first love. The flavor isn’t overpowering, they more or less just add a bit of a crunch. Who doesn’t love a bit of crunch?

One of my go-to dishes for the longest time was just throwing together some rice, red lentils, scallions, red and yellow pepper and cucumber, and then dressing it with bit of olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. And when I could be bothered, sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.

Black beans

This is obvious, isn’t it? Black bean burrito bowl. Black beans, cucumber, a nice tomato, bit of corn, some avocado, add salsa and couscous. What more could you possibly need?

If you want a recipe, I would say head over to Minimalist Baker; she has some of the best ideas for food. And it’s simple too!

Edamame

Ah the edamame! Or soy bean, if you want to be less fancy. The nicest green color, bit of a crunch, goes really well with Asian inspired dishes (i.e. stuff you stick wasabi in). It’s also got an excellent protein-calorie ratio (i.e. lots of protein for few calories). I.e. makes it easy to make your meals protein-packed, if that is something you want.

Defrosts quicker than any other bean which is a bonus.

For me, this love story started out with a lazy sushi bowl. Basically, you cook brown rice, stick in the soy beans when its done to let them defrost for a minute, add some cucumber, shredded nori sheets, avocado and pickled ginger.

For spices! Mix sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and wasabi. Top with sesame seeds.

There are lots of version of this bowl; if you haven’t a lazy vegan sushi bowl in your life, you need to get to it! My version is probably based on this recipe, which used to be available on some other site back in the day. Yes well. Not important.   

Great white beans

There’s nothing the great white doesn’t go with. Had this been by first encounter with beans, I’d gone vegan right away.

I think it’s a consistency thing. That, and they work real well with pasta and greens. This is what I usually do: great white beans, pasta, pesto, asparagus and zucchini. 

Fry asparagus and zucchini in a bit of olive oil and garlic, cook the pasta and when it’s done and drained, add pesto and beans. For some additional texture you could add fresh veggies, e.g. leafy greens, and/or aubergine puree, or tomatoes. Olives is another option. To make it look nice if nothing else.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

It wasn’t supposed to be used like this

For the most part, I like to use things for that which they are intended. Unsurprisingly, tends to work best that way.

I do try out life hacks every now and again, but remain unimpressed.

For example; tried roasting sweet potato in the toaster recently. Supposed to work? Trust me when I say it didn’t.

There are exceptions of course.

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How I love a good blurry picture. 

Absolute favorite one:

Baking soda

I love using baking soda for cleaning. Originally I used it to clean my tea cups when I had no dishwasher, but this stuff, is -the best- for cleaning sinks. If baking soda doesn’t get it clean, it’s not getting clean, that’s my motto.

I also like to use vinegar for cleaning. Someone mentioned it was antibacterial and I was immediately sold on the idea. Bonus: good for the environment. It does smell a bit, but I like to mix in organic oils (pine!), and anyway, the smell fades quickly when used in the small amount required to make your own cleaning spray.

Another cleaning favorite:

Miscellar water

No not for your face, for when you inevitably get your Manic Panic hair dye on something other than your hair. I wouldn’t depend on this trick to work, but for me, so far, works every time. Much prefer this use over using it on my face.

Gawd I wish that was on my agenda today, cleaning with either of these guyes. Instead, I am clearing out the attic. Fortunately, my new apartment has no attic or any other type storage space—this is going to be my last attic clean ever! Because I am not moving again. For real this time.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

 

 

 

In my Release Radar

Ach nee. Last week my Release Radar playlist was so good. Beyond good. It’s making up for it this week by being utterly boring.

I mean I like Philipp Poisel, but this is no way a new track.

Not that I’m actually complaining. I need a break after last week. But I have made room for Fear of the Water by Syml, which someone in my Instafeed recommended:

I did have a new Manson track in my playlist. It was…I don’t really understand what he’s doing anymore. Not that it matters. It’s not as if there’s nothing, new or otherwise, for me to listen to.

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This has been an Endelss Blog Challenge post.

Perfect carrot cake cool oats

For practical reasons, my go-to breakfast this past year has been cold porridge. Or as the Mustards call it, cool oats.

(At least I think they settled on cool oats? There was a discussion I might be confused.)

Usually, I’ll cook oatmeal with soy milk, stick some flax seeds in it, sometimes cacao, cloves, and/or cardamom, put it in a container, top with cinnamon and some seeds and/or nuts put it in the fridge over night and serve with a banana the next morning.

Always a banana. But sometimes other types of porridge. Always cold.

As you may know, I’m concerned about my banana consumption, for environmental reasons. Bananas have no business being a staple in any Scandinavian’s diet.

SO. I was looking for a way to turn my regular breakfast into something that didn’t depend on anything being shipped from halfway around the world.

With the exception of apples, I could only think of carrots.

There has to be recipes for carrot cake porridge!? 

And there are! Lots of them. But they fail to mention a few key points. Because my first batch, it was not entirely successful. Kinda odd for someone who has been making porridge for breakfast (and sometimes dinner) for over 20 years.

It’s not that it’s difficult, but a few hacks are in order.

ONE. I recommend making three servings at a time; the oats will be just fine in the fridge for three days, and it minimizes time spent slaving away at the stove. If, like me, you need to transport your oats, use jars. That way we avoid some pesky plastic, and have a new use for them jars you probably drag home from the grocery store anyway.

TWO. I would say, use your regular porridge recipe and add three medium peeled and finely grated carrots, maybe less, but definitely not more!

For the first batch, I used two large carrots and one slightly smaller. And I used the grating size I always use in cooking (which is not fine by any means), also did not peel the carrots because I usually don’t. This works well if you roast them with spices, otherwise, not so much. Point is: the main problem with the first batch was it was like having carrots, with a twist of oats. Not necessarily bad, but not exactly what I like for breakfast.

THREE. I’m sure you know how to make porridge, but just to give you an idea of the proportions:

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3 dl oats. Or a mix of grains. Which is what I use most of the time. My current mix is oats, spelt (flakes obvs), oat bran and flax seeds. Spelt is particularly nice if you like a bit of texture.
3 medium carrots. As mentioned, peeled and grated.
4.5 dl plant milk. I like soy, but any milk will do. Almond is really nice if you don’t like or if you’re not used to soy. The soy milk tends to require practice.*
0.5 dl water. You want your carrots and oats to be covered in liquid, not necessarily swimming in it, but covered. You could add more water if you want a more watery consistency; I like mine on the drier side of the spectra.
Salt! At least 0.5 tsp. Recently forgot the salt. It was not good. But then I like salt..
Sugar. Yes sugar. Organic raw sugar to be specific, because the flavor is so nice. If you have an aversion to sugar, I guess you could skip it, but I wouldn’t advice you to. About 3 tsp does the trick.
Raisins. About a handful. If it’s going to be cake flavored, we need some sugars. If you don’t like raisins, cut up some dried apricots or dates. In fact, if you use dates, that is where you might want to skip the sugar, they’re that sweet.

FOUR. Spices! They get their very own section because they’re that important. It is what makes this carrot cake flavor.

I’ve seen lots of recipes calling for nutmeg. Why. Would you do that? I tried, and just no. Instead! I’m recommending cloves. Cloves! Admittedly, is a tricky spice and it can be overpowering. So unless you’re already a believer, I would say just a wee sprinkle, but don’t skip it. It’s such a nice contrast to the cinnamon.

Basically, these are the spices:

Cloves (ground!), a pinch
Cardamom ½ tsp
Cinnamon 1 tsp

Tip! You could use more or less of the spices, just keep this in mind: you want to use twice as much cardamom as cloves, and twice as much cinnamon as cardamom.

And if you’ve been making Swedish gingerbread cookies for decades, I need not tell you.

FIVE. You will want to stir the porridge while it’s cooking, because the milk will get stuck in the bottom if you don’t. And no, you do not want to microwave it. While this works well for porridge in general, you want the carrots to be nice and soft, which is difficult if you use the microwave.

SIX. When the porridge has reached preferred consistency, transfer to bowls or jars. Leave over night in the fridge to turn into a breakfast pudding. This also lets the flavors develop nicely, so you know, win/win.

SEVEN. Serve with an extra dusting of cinnamon, bit of nuts and seeds, OR, if you can find a nice/colorful granola or muesli that is brilliant. Just to dress it up a bit. Because it makes the eye happy.

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You could serve with banana and/or other berries, obviously, but it sort of defeats the purpose of this particular version. It’s supposed to be better from an environmental point of view. (Ssh! Not a word about the raisins! Just get organic ones, and pretend everything is fine, OK?)

 

*Let me know if you want a guide on how to learn to love soy milk. Because I know. Never thought I’d say that. 

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

The Endless Blog Challenge

For next week! I propose posts on the theme Tips & Tricks.

A FOOD HACK. Maybe you know the secret to the perfect pasta sauce? A highly underrated piece of kitchen equipment? Maybe you know the secret to the perfectly roasted aubergine? In short, any hack related to food!

IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE USED LIKE THIS. Ah yes, I am so skilled when it comes to headings (..but it is a rephrasing of a line in a Tura Satana song, so I’m feeling v. v. clever..). List some of your favorite things that you use for other things than what they’re really for. Tea bags to reduce puffiness around the eyes? Baking soda to whiten teeth? (Don’t do that though, I’ve got on good authority it’s not good for your teeth.) Maybe unorthodox use of your makeup brushes? You get the idea I’m sure.

HOW TO. Classic how-to post, I’m sure you’ve seen them before. Topic of your choice! If it was up to me, I’d request a How to update your skincare routine to fit your thirty-something skin, because that would make my life so much easier right now. But that might be asking a lot…?

And I’m going to throw in a cheeky fourth:

SONG RECOMMENDATION. Not just any old song, one song off of this week’s Spotify Release Radar playlist.