Trips in 2014: Poland in December.

Slowly catching up with the updates I'm behind with... On the 13th of December my parents, Fanny and I headed down to Poland to visit my grandma for a day. 2014 was a bit of a record for me in recent years with its four trips to Poland, three of which were to visit grandma. This last trip was a bit of a let-down because we were supposed to take the ferry in the evening of the 12th but it was cancelled due to a winter storm. Because we had to postpone the trip until the next evening Per and Fanny's boyfriend were unable to come with us as planned. It was still rather windy during the two nights we spent onboard (i.e. on the way there & back) and I had a hard time sleeping, but seeing how happy grandma was to see us made it all worth it.




After spending several hours with her and showering her in gifts (mostly chocolate) we headed back to central Gdynia for lunch.



Since we still had the whole afternoon to spend before the ferry was due to leave in the evening we decided to go to the Christmas market in Gdansk. I'd never been there before and it was quite cozy.





Once we grew tired of the cold we headed back Gdynia and spent a couple of hours at the large shopping centre there before catching a cab back to the ferry terminal. The next morning we were back in Sweden again.

2014 Top 5.

TV shows


Mad Men | Call the Midwife | Halvvägs till Himlen | Historieätarna | Inte OK!

I actually no longer download any TV shows regularly, and these days I watch most of my TV on TV. The shows I used to download regularly have all been cancelled and I haven't found any new shows that appeal to me enough to actually commit to them. Mad Men and Call the Midwife are the only shows I watch that have been around for a while. Other than that I've started watching several Swedish shows that I greatly enjoy and look forward to each week.


Films


Still Life | Frozen | The To Do List | Hundraåringen | About Time

I watched more films than ever this year, another reason why TV shows took a back seat. There were many great ones and I had a hard time picking my favourite five but in the end I managed to narrow it down to these ones. I put this together a week ago and since then I've watched Gone Girl and I think that would have made the Top 5 otherwise though.


Books


En man som heter Ove | The Light Between Oceans | The Boy from Baby House 10 | The Snow Child | Between Shades of Gray

I read more than usual at times this year but since the summer I've had a hard time finding books that have drawn me in so my reading pace has slowed down significantly. I have a bunch of books waiting to be read on my nightstand though so I hope I will read more next year.

Around here: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.








I started preparing for Christmas and bought most of my gifts earlier than usual this year, but the actual day still managed to sneak up on me a bit... Can't believe Christmas is tomorrow! So much has happened in my life in the past week that Christmas had to take the back seat for a little while, but now things have fallen into place a bit more and the Christmas spirit is coming back to me. On top of everything else I got stomach flu the night between Sunday and Monday so I had to call in sick yesterday and today. I slept most of the day yesterday and fortunately I'm almost fully recovered today but they say you should wait 48 hours before you go out and meet people to make sure you're no longer contagious. I don't mind spending today at home finishing up the last preparations and packing though, not at all :) Of course I had to take some photos around the apartment before packing up the presents.

As soon as P gets home from work we'll drive over to my hometown where my whole family is waiting, I can't wait :)

Trips in 2014: Gothenburg.

The weekend before last we went to Gothenburg with our friends Sara and Oskar. We escaped work a couple of hours early that Friday and caught the train that would take us from the east coast to the west coast. All the food and drink supplies we'd brought along made the four hour long trip pass by much quicker than I expected. Soon enough we found ourselves in the bar at our hotel, which is where we ended the day.



Needless to say Saturday morning began with the obligatory delicious hotel breakfast. Once everyone had eaten more than they should we headed out exploring the city. To my great delight our means of transportation was not a bus nor train, but a ferry that conveniently stopped close to our hotel and took us into central Gothenburg. It was a grey and chilly day so my photos are rather dull and I let my camera stay tucked away in my bag more than I would have otherwise, but here are some photos from around the city:





The Universeum science centre (last picture) was the perfect place to spend a couple of hours and escape the cold. I especially enjoyed the aquarium and rainforest exhibits. I recognized quite a few of the fish we have in our (fresh water) aquarium back home and it was fun to see them in a more "natural" habitat. They are much too small to take photos of though.



After a late lunch (Italian food - yum!) we went to the Christmas Market at the Liseberg Amusement Park, the highlight of the weekend. I've spent several summer days there but it was my first time going in the winter and it was a quite different experience to walk around the park surrounded by Christmas spirit and drinking hot cocoa.



Of course there were far more lights than in the summer :)



On Sunday the sun finally made an appearance and I took the opportunity to snap a few final shots of the city before it was time to catch the train home and say goodbye to Gothenburg for now.


Life lately: November 2014.



Watching | Most notably I watched Interstellar at the cinema. I was a bit sceptical beforehand because it's not my kind of film at all, but it was definitely worth watching and did not feel long despite its three hours.

Listening to | I updated my 60s/70s/80s/90s playlists with some new tunes so I've been listening to those a lot, and also my Christmas playlist on Spotify :)

Consuming | Way too many unhealthy things I am sure. I blame the constant darkness.

Reading | We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves which I bought when I was in Stockholm on the 11th-12th of the month. Really like it so far. I also bought The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult so I'll be reading that next.

Visiting | Jenny in Växjö.

Enjoying | The iPhone 6 I finally got my hands on. I am so in love with it. Also, the training I went on in Stockholm + staying at a hotel right in the middle of the city centre near all the shops :) And the cute heart-patterned dress I got from Oasis and have been wearing as much as I can ever since :) And, going on a mini-break to Gothenburg this past weekend with our friends. On a smaller scale, I really enjoyed seeing some sunshine again at the end of November, at long last.

Making | Progress with my Christmas shopping. I'm about half-way done now. Still have some tricky presents to figure out though.

Looking forward to | Some big news I'm expecting on December 19th, then December 22nd depending on what happens on December 19th... And Christmas of course.

Around here: Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue.



After a grey and gloomy November when it's been hard to tell the days from nights things are finally starting to look up and the world slowly seems to be regaining its colour. This afternoon I looked up from my desk to the above view. If that's not a good sign, I don't know what is.

Photobooks: 2013 album cover.



Last night I finished and ordered my 2013 photobook! I completed it several weeks faster than its 2012 counterpart even though it's about 70 pages longer. Making photobook pages has become a much quicker process than it used to be for me because I no longer spend as much time on each page and especially don't overthink the page design as much as before.

I shared the pages I made for January, February and March on here but then I fell behind and decided that it would be too overwhelming to share them all. However, if you're curious you can preview the entire book here. Here's a close-up of the cover:





*Front cover template from Chelle's Creations. I used a template I downloaded years ago for the back cover. The blog I got it from sadly no longer exists.

Life lately: October 2014.



Watching | I went to the cinema twice and watched the Swedish films Min så kallade pappa and Hallonbåtsflyktingen. I really liked them both. Swedish cinema really has stepped it up in recent years. My favourite films that we watched at home were This is Where I Leave You and Bad Neighbours.

Listening to | I've got tired of my old playlists so I've started listening to some top lists on Spotify and discovered some new music. But soon it'll be socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music again and I can't wait :)

Consuming | Way too much chocolate for my own good, especially in Warsaw and after I came home with a box of Wedel pralines for Per (that he generously shared with me, of course).

Reading | I didn't get any reading done in October! I don't have any books on my nightstand that I like very much right now, so I just end up playing games on my phone before bed instead. I need to finish one more book this year to reach my goal of reading 10 books though, so it's about time I got started.

Visiting | Cissi in Warsaw.

Enjoying | Going to Warsaw of course, and the warm autumn we've had.

Making | Photobook pages! I am proud to say that I'm getting close to finishing my 2013 book. I never thought I'd finish it this year because it's so much longer than the ones for 2011 & 2012 which I finished in November the following year, but unless anything unexpected happens I should be able to complete it very soon.

Looking forward to | I have some weekend trips lined up, but honestly, what I look forward to the most is the day I can get my hands on an iPhone 6 (the silver 64GB edition). I've wanted one ever since it came out but I wasn't quick enough and now it's been sold out everywhere for weeks. I keep checking the shops online on a daily basis but no luck so far. It might be back in stock at the end of next week though, so fingers crossed :)

Trips in 2014: Warsaw, part 2/2.

On Saturday morning we caught the tram to the area where Cissi lives, because of course we couldn't visit Warsaw without stopping by her apartment. It was another really cold day, probably the coldest day of the entire trip. This was the view from Cissi's apartment building, the city centre wasn't far away at all:



Better yet, Cissi lives close to the Arkadia shopping centre which is said to be the largest in Poland. We had a tight schedule for the day but Cissi had allowed an hour for Fanny, mum and I to explore the mall, so that's just what we did. Inevitably I ended up at my favourite store Oysho which has the cutest PJs I've ever seen. I found the sweetest sweatshirt there that I promise to show you sometime.

Our next stop was the restaurant Vege Miasto where we had lunch. I don't think I've ever eaten such colourful food before, and the raw snickers we had for dessert was incredible.





After lunch we walked to the Old Town area of Warsaw where we spent the rest of the afternoon. It was so cold and windy that we had to find places where we could heat up every once in a while. Fanny even wore two scarves, but nothing was warm enough.











The final landmark to cross off on our list for this trip was the Palace of Culture and Science, which we'd walked past dozens of times the previous days, but we had yet to head up to the top. I had hoped that we'd get to see the sunset from up there, but since the day was grey and overcast I didn't think it'd be anything remarkable and we hadn't really kept track of the time. However, as it turned out, the sun was just about to sink beneath the horizon the moment we got out of the elevator on the 30th floor, and I rushed out to capture a photo of it at the very last moment (the middle photo below).





I can't think of a more perfect ending to our final day in Warsaw :)

Trips in 2014: Warsaw, part 1/2.



So! Last week I went to Warsaw with mum, Jenny and Fanny to visit Cissi who is spending the autumn there. My only prior experience of Warsaw was a warm day in the summer of 2002 when mum, Cissi, Jenny and I caught the train from Gdynia early in the morning, arrived in Warsaw four hours later and spent the rest of the day ticking off one landmark after another in a great rush before it was time to catch a stifling hot train back north again in the evening. It was a fun day, but needless to say my memories are a bit hazy. This time around we arrived on Wednesday afternoon and stayed until Sunday morning, so we had plenty of time to explore the city at a more humane pace :)

Since October has been unseasonably warm up here I'm actually still wearing my light summer coat and ballerina flats most days. However, when I checked the weather forecast for Warsaw the day before we left I found that it was going to be much colder than here so I dug out my winter coat and decided to bring that with me. The moment I set foot on the train that was going to take me to my hometown where I'd be joining my travelling companions I realized my mistake - I hadn't thought to wear my winter boots. It was supposed to be close to freezing in Warsaw so I knew that my ballet flats would not do. Fortunately an emergency stop at the mall in Lund on our way to the airport solved the problem. I basically grabbed the first warm shoes I could find, but as it turns out I've ended up really liking them.

The flight from Malmö went smoothly and in the afternoon we found ourselves at our hotel in Warsaw. It was way past lunch time and I'd noticed a Vapiano restaurant just around the corner so that's where we headed first. I have such a hate/love relationship with Vapiano - most of the time when I go there it's terribly crowded and you have to wait around forever to get a table, let alone something to eat. This time we arrived at the perfect time though since it was neither lunch time nor dinner time yet and the restaurant was practically deserted. It was my best Vapiano experience so far, hands down.



After lunch we explored our surroundings a bit more and then in the evening Cissi was done with work and came over to our hotel to meet up with us. We spent all of Thursday together since she had the day off. Wednesday had been relatively warm but Thursday was a different story - suddenly it felt almost like winter and I was so grateful for my warm coat and shoes as we walked around the city centre for hours. We spent a good few hours at the Copernicus Science Centre which was a welcome change from the cold. Here are some photos from various locations around the city that we visited:








In the afternoon we went to one of Warsaw's Wedel chocolate cafés, yum :)




I was so happy when I woke up on Friday morning to a blue sky and sunshine. Our plans for the day included lots of time spent outdoors so it was just perfect. As soon as we'd finished breakfast we caught a taxi to the Wilanow Palace. I'd only seen it in pictures before but it was even prettier in real life, especially on such a beautiful autumn day.









Our next stop was the Łazienki Park which was equally lovely.








Once we got back to the city centre we walked past the Palace of Culture and Science which is probably Warsaw's most famous landmark, and a place that we would be revisiting the next day.




On Friday evening Cissi joined us again and we went out for dinner at this really cute restaurant. We were so tired from all the walking we did that day and the cold too, so we didn't stay out very late though. The next day ended up being equally busy if not more so since we still had a lot of ground left to cover, but I'll save those photos for my next entry :)