#uksnow #TheBigFreeze Still Time To Dress Sensibly!

Norwegians and the Brits love to talk about the weather. When I call home to my grandparents in Norway, the conversation is not complete without a weather update. On the other hand, when it comes to clothing we are very different in Norway and the UK. Something quite visible now during the #uksnow Big Freeze!



British School children in shorts today. Me, minus 3 degrees Celsius.



Are you freezing? Continue to read! I will give practical advice on sustainable and warm wool outfits.

I have the last couple of days seen kids in Bristol walking around in only shorts!! My conclusion is that this is all about the British virtue of ‘resilience’. A word that doesn’t even exist in Norwegian other than in a dictonary called «foreign words».

This blogpost arouse from what I see as an urgent need that occurred yesterday, a pretty cold Monday morning. It is around minus 1-3 degrees in Brizzzle (minus 5-7 today!) and on my way out I meet a constant stream of School children: In shorts and skirts and many with NO LEGGINGS OR TIGHTS!! Parents, what are you doing? Well, the first thought that sprang to mind was ‘RESILIENCE’. The very beloved British word and trait that I have realised can be seen in how they cope with cold weather. Remember they live in awfully cold, often old, houses and are on the bottom of European countries for energy efficient houses and windows. I have never been freezing more than after I moved to the Cotswolds in a newly refurbished cottage with «original» sash windows and an open letterbox straight through the door!

WARNING! This post is not about being a natural knitter like generations of women before me. I love to knit two things, the very easy #Nostebarn baby blanket and after a bit of practice, I managed the scarf (green one in a pic further down). Stephen West’s ‘Best Knits’ was never gonna be my thing… A present for my lovely Sis #westknits #garnsurr #picklesoslo !!!


Anyhow, this post will from now on be practical advice on how to dress, children and adults. For 15 more languages please visit:



You can do it differently over here on this island. You can continue with that well known, stiff upper lip. Or you can try out dressing like they do in colder climates, but do it in a “light” version. Which means that when we would pick three layers in Scandinavia because it is below minus 10. You can get away with two. The most important layer is the INNERMOST LAYER, after the underwear, that has to be minimum 80-100% WOOL touching your skin!! This is big sin no 1 in the UK.





Simply a small wool undershirt #pierrerobertsportwool and wool tights will do. If they have PE, like today, I swap the tight to long johns and she can take off her socks easily. I find that with this warm innermost layer, a hat or a buff and gloves, covered with a school jacket and school shoes she will be fine. The shoes and feet are probably the most vulnerable part and I would change to wool socks if the weather gets colder (3-5 minus and below). But I also know that they stay inside a lot of the time at school if it is cold, so I don’t have to worry too much about this. They would need to change from shoes to boots if they were to be outside in the colder weather. Below zero I find normal wellies incredible cold and if they are tight you will get cold very quickly. An extra sole might help a bit for isolation.

There is a wealth of long johns out there for all sizes and ages! These can be worn with skirts or under trousers and counts as one layer. With this and a wind/water proof outer layer you will last in temperatures down towards minus 10 degrees. Some are more compact, but still soft. The ones that are prettier, but looser with more air passing through the fabric also are a little less warm, might need another isolating layer on top if you are talking minus 10-ish. Here are some examples, 100% WOOL. #januswool #nameitkids #joha #polarnopyret #norheim #devoldull



#vossatassar Bamboo material in clothes has become an alternative for those sensitive to 80-100% WOOL.

SOCKS! Long, short, @homemade . All great for different causes. The homemade ones are usually the less warm ones because they are not 100% WOOL and the knit allows more air to pass through. They need another pair of socks under which is not ideal. The other ones you should have as the innermost layer, towards the skin. That’s when the warming qualities of WOOL are most effective.  I used the long, knee height ones one cold morning at the allotment. A good alternative to long johns when it is just below zero.


There are a variety of good socks to choose from. Don’t be tempted to go for the knitted acrylic or polyester ones you find in a highstreet shop for a REALLY cold day. They only work if it’s around zero, is my experience. If it gets any colder then you need 80-100% WOOL! Socks are of specific importance – if your feet and head are warm, and maybe fingers – then you can last quite a bit, can’t you? Some socks are a mixture of wool and more soft elastics, but they should be at least 80% wool. One layer is enough unless you are out in temperatures below minus 15. Even colder I would normally only have one layer of wool socks and nothing else on my feet, but choose the thicker typer and the more wool content, the better. #ulvangsokker #karitraa #norheim #troll

I have compiled photos with mostly 100% wool clothes that will suit any weather dropping towards minus 5 and below. When the acrylic and syntetic materials just don’t do the job. And note: When I say “wool”, I mean wool, not a 0% lookalike wooly jumper! Check the label in you clothes next time before buying!

I have also recently bought a really cozy and warm (and expensive!) 100% wool fleece home-trousers. #cosclothing I find that 100% wool fleece is really warm and the selection in the UK seems quite good. Otherwise see selection at #Nøstebarn #Bergans



#benetton #cosclothing #nøstebarn #nostebarn #janusullpårull #janusull

These are ALL 100% WOOL QUALITY and soft and comfortable, usually as layer number two. If you choose these more thicker clothes as the innermost layer it will feel less comfortable and might start to itch, except the soft #COSclothing fleece trousers on the pic in the middle, but they are super expensive.


The inner layer is the most important.  This should preferably be 100% wool. With another wind proof layer you will be alright in temperatures down towards minus 10!! Wool materials on your skin creates warmth, it is what we call “breathing” and therefore don’t get wet unless excessive sweating or directly being soaked. And even so, if this inner layer is thin and wet – it does not loose it’s warming qualities like a lot of other materials!

Example of inner layers, there are lots of products that are soft and don’t scratch at all (!) Otherwise you can try bamboo which is also good for those with extensive allergies or similar. But try some of the high quality 100% wool made especially for children first, if you struggle with the thought of wool towards your skin. Honestly, they are supersoft!! Nøstebarn is from my perspective one of the best, but has other challenges like specific washing procedures.

If it is not freezing or you just can’t stand the thought of a wool inner layer, then go for the “stiff upper lip” and put on other warm 100% wool clothes as additional layers. The Ulvang jumper has become a great, big hit in Norway! It is warm, hardly needs washing, easy to wash when needed (twice a year?) and looks smart. Price is also reasonable when it lasts for years and you are saved through most cold spells.


The dark green #ulvanggenser 100% wool jumper on the left is versatile and incredible good value; hardly needs washing at all! The bright green fleece in the pic is also 100% WOOL #Outerlayer jumpers

Another example of outer layer, windproof and preferably water resistent trousers. It doesn’t have to be mega thick, neither do you need a down jacket as long as you have the 100% WOOL innermost layer plus additional layers depending on temperatures. And remember to close all your jackets and cover all gaps, typically between long johns and socks (socks outside long johns). I hear quite a few people complaining about freezing without having done up their jackets properly! In Norway you realise this very quickly because you freeze and you die. Here it might seem like another winter experience, but believe me, it doesn’t have to be like that #resilience #StiffUpperLip


Generally, I find hats are one of the stronger sides of how British people dress in cold weather. I haven’t seen “BUFFs” so much here yet. #buff has become a very popular item in Norway as it serves both as a hat and scarf. There is always a fancy hat around, they use them even around zero where many in Scandinavia for example would opt out on wearing a hat. I found the elk hat in the picture in a charity shop for 2 pounds so doesn’t have to be expensive.

927ca0fc-6015-4e2d-ac34-83eb616bc6f0.jpegIt had two layers, fleece inside, and that makes it a bit resistant to wind which I think is a plus. This one is not wool. As it doesn’t get to minus 10 and below much in Bristol, I find that the hats and gloves Brits here usually choose makes sense. But when it is colder I would recommend more wool (surprise!) and also proper mittens and not gloves. Gloves are good for sports and milder weather. In cold weather, especially children get freezing fingers if they only wear gloves. My Mamma knits the Kongsberg Mittens (name of a town in Norway) and they are fabulous. Wind and cold stays out! Contact me if you want a pair and I will see what I can do!



But look what my Mother-In-Law picked up in a charity shop! A #daleofnorwaysweater #DaleOfNorway Traditional and a fantastic cardigan for indoor use or as a second layer on a cold day. Keep an eye out for these things turning up -and check the label for 100% WOOL


I have also included in the photo some @homemade garments that I completely rely on both here in #England and in #Norway. 100% WOOL scarfs/shawls, can be wrapped around my head, neck or both if needed. Wrist-warmers, an alternative to gloves with open fingers. 100% WOOL scarf from #gap Buffs, they are mostly synthetic material, but #norheim has these in WOOL quality. For these type of items I would try #Intersport


The military in Norway is recruiting women and I understand many of them are turning to wool underwear . I have seen 100% wool underwear advertised and in sport shops in Norway now. Myself I used wool pads inside my bra when breast feeding, but other than that my underwear (bra and knickers) aren’t wool. But my next layer and what I call inner layer of thin jumper and tights/leggings are always 100% wool if out in minus 5 and below or in cold weather despite milder – just keep nice and cozy.



Because of the focus on saving our seas and plastic waste, I hope the focus can come back to the superb qualities of 100% wool clothing. And there are a lot of SOFT WOOLS out there on the market. Some prefer 100% Merino wool, others (like the white scarf below in pic) is 100% Alpaca. #Nøstebarn has organic non-treated wool which is incredibly warm and soft, but some don’t like it because of very specific washing instructions and higher chances of holes. they also have a combination of wool and silk that I used loads on my little ones when we lived in Oslo. They have a shop in Oslo amongst other places and they are online (and probably helpful if you email them). I will be recommending some brands and shops that you can probably find online, or hopefully a local shop. But please try wool alternatives first! You won’t regret it – YOU WILL STAY WARM – and you will save lots of money because it lasts!

Childrenswear with 100% wool can be bought in UK shops such as #NameIt and #polarnopyretuk. Other brands to look for are #Joha #Janus They last very well even if washing frequently. This is generally a challenge with 100% wool clothes that they loose some of they warming qualities if washed in the washing machine too frequently. I try to wash as little as possible, airing the clothes is an alternative if needed. Also, placing lavender between the clothes in your cupboard or in a small textile bag or similar will prevent moth holes in the clothes. I have never experienced big problems with this, but using the correct washing powder or substance is crucial (it has to say “for wool” on the package). If you don’t then holes in the fabric occur sooner. Wool programme is also crucial as it will shrink in warmer washing temperature. Some time this is used as a method like in the Kongsberg Mitten to make the looser knitted fabric into wool fleece/felt. Like the grey cusion in the chair below. Perfect on the Seat in a cold car. This is a small piece of wool, easy to make that can be brought outside and you can sit in the forest or on a stone without freezing your buttocks off!


Have a some nice, happy and cozy couple of Siberian days! #koselig #hygge #peiskos



#highgrove blankets #woolblankets #FemaleTeacherRoofJumping #funinthesnow


Looking At Homelessness. What’s In A Short Gaze?


I woke up last night. Thinking about a particular homeless man that I had seen that Saturday afternoon sleeping. And it didn’t make me proud. It didn’t make me anything close to a Good Samaritan.

I saw a man on the streets today. He was sleeping rough, right there in front of me, with his eyes open. Resting on his side 90 degrees straight down to one side with his head on the pavement. Or, there was a sleeping bag with him, and some dirty clothes. He had a note saying: It’s still cold at night. The sun was shining you see. And he was begging for money. I looked at him, briefly, quickly. I saw him as I had walked past, out of the corner of my eyeball.

Had my shopping bag over one shoulder, my four year old in one hand and my six years old in the other. We were shopping for tacos and ice cream. Such a warm day after all the cold this winter. 16 degrees and sunshine. I had decided only to gaze down in the direction of his face and head, quickly – as we walked passed. I don’t think my children noticed much. I was thinking, should they notice? But I looked hard. My professional, nurse look. Stared, as I couldn’t really see him breathing and he was sleeping, although his eyes were open.

In conclusiveness, in the blink of an eye, ten seconds and he was gone. We walked past, I decided I didn’t need to ask if he was awake. He was holding his body, I believe he was. Against the asphalt, leaning towards some sort of shop wall. I came home and woke up at night. Thinking about my children. What kind of children do I raise if I don’t care? Don’t stop and check when I pass this man. And there are many of them. My children see them, if not on a daily, at least on a weekly basis. And we don’t help. We don’t even stop.

Biscuit Tasting: A Foreigner’s Guide To British Biscuits

En test av 20 britiske kjeks og hva “dunking” er godt for! Text in English and Norwegian to follow.D3CDD784-E858-47B1-8304-D75ADC80D742

A Guide To British Biscuits, Cookies, Shortbread, Organic Alternatives And The Art of Dunking! (unfortunately in my Mother-in-Law’s Book Of Bad Manners.)

The Winner: Custard Cream (average 8.2 out of 10 points)!

Followed by: Rich Tea Biscuit (8), Jammie Dodger (8), Easter Biscuits Hobbs/Better Food (7.4), Oat Crunch (7), Malted Milk Biscuit (7), Digestive (6.6), Jaffa Cake (6.6), Welsh Shortbread (6), Chocolate Chip Cookie (5.8), Bourbons (5.6), Scottish Shortbread (5), Pink Iced Ring (4.8), Ginger Organic/Better Food (4.6), Digestive Organic/Better Food (4.4), Ginger and Dark Chocolate/Vegan (3.8), All Butter Viennies Swirl (3), Easter Biscuits M&S (2.2), Gingerbread Men Milk/Gluten, Peanut, Egg Free (1.4) and last unfortunately: Chocolate Chip Orange Cookie Organic/Better Food (0.2)


This Easter Saturday, two adults and three children spent some time together around the dining table tasting, dunking and comparing 20 different British biscuits. None of us are normally big biscuit eaters. This was the chance to start endorsing it. One had tea to drink with the tasting, then coffee, whilst the four others preferred milk. Therefore the dunking part became quite limited, but we tried. Towards the end of the tasting we had some Organic Apple Juice for freshness, and maybe a slight bias against the biscuits at the end. Many of the biscuits were suitable for vegetarians, we have included some organic (Better Food shop in Bristol). To our surprise very few were marked “fairtrade”, possibly because they are made in the UK? We also discovered from the children, secrets – that they have custard cream in forest school and a selection of biscuits with jammie dodgers being a favourite in after school club. Happiness in a Biscuit with milk!

Påskeaften var vi to voksne og tre barn som satte oss rundt kjøkkenbordet og gjennomførte “kjekssmaking” av 20 ulike britiske kjeks. Engelskmenn er jo kjent for en utbredt kjekskultur. De dypper gjerne kjeksen i te, kaffe, melk eller varm sjokolade. Hjemme hos oss er det min engelske partner som kjøper inn kjeks. Jeg tenker faktisk på kjeks som usunt magefyll… Men engelskmenn spiser kjeks og dypper det i te eller melk og annet regelmessig, gjerne hver dag. Kanskje litt som “fika” i Sverige? Vi dekker såpass mange som 20 ulike typer, men oppdaget at dette bare er en brøkdel av hva som faktisk finnes på markedet. Etter 20 hadde vi forøvrig fått nok, og vi måtte ty til forfriskende økologisk eplejuice mot slutten for å komme oss igjennom hele smakingen. Kanskje litt urettferdig for kjekstypene vi ventet med til slutt. Et godt utvalg var egnet for vegetarianere, vi inkluderte såkalte “organic”/økologisk godkjente varer (i Bristol fra Better Food). Det som overrasket oss var fraværet av “fairtrade” merket, muligens fordi kjeks i stor grad produseres i Storbritannia? Vi prøvde oss også på å dyppe kjeks i te, kaffe eller melk. Denne delen var noe begrenset siden det kun var en voksen som liker te eller kaffe. De fleste i panelet dyppet derfor kjeks i melk, forøvrig vanlig blant britene. Vi oppdaget også at de minste barna hadde sine favoritter og kjente til flere av kjekstypene, som vi har lite av hjemme. Minsten på 4 år fortalte om lykke når de får servert Custard Cream på uteskolen (forest school) en dag i uka, mens 6-åringen kunne fortelle om et utvalg av kjeks å velge mellom på skolefritids, hver dag. Hennes favoritt er Jammie Dodgers. Lykken er altså: kjeks og melk


Details with comments in the order tasted/detaljer med kommentarer i rekkefølgen vi smakte:


Digestive 33/50 points

Kids score: 23

Adults score: 10

Description: Crumbly. Good for dunking.


Digestive Wholemeal 22/50 points

Vegan Organic Better Food

Kids score: 13

Adults score: 9

Description: Barnyard smell of straw. Good for dunking.


Oat Crunch 35/50 points

Kids score: 24

Adults score: 11

Description: Wholesome.


Malted Milk Biscuit 35/50 points

Kids score: 21

Adults score: 14

Description: Pastey. Salty. Perfect with a cup of tea.


Rich Tea Finger Biscuit 40/50 points

Kids score: 23

Adults score: 17

Description: Thin, some say probably the original dunker biscuit, very similar to the Norwegian “Mariekjeks”/Marie or Mary Biscuits. Perfect to dunk.


Welsh Shortbread 30/50 points

Kids score: 15

Adults score: 15

Description: Sweet. I love dunking this in tea, but see the point that biscuits for dunking needs to be slightly denser to absorb well and not drop into the drink. Something you might find a bit challenging with this one. So don’t dip it into the drink for too long!


Scottish Shortbread 25/50 points

Kids score: 13

Adults score: 12

Description: Buttery.


Custard Cream 41/50 points

Kids score: 27

Adults score: 14

Description: Artificial. Kids love it! Personally I don’t like to dunk this.


Bourbons 28/50 points

Kids score: 20

Adults score: 8

Description: Quasi-chocolate. This is a biscuit I find in my Mother-in-Laws’ biscuit tin. Not for dunking. (Or, hold on – my Mother-in-Law says it needs dunking to sofaen up😳) I’m still not 100% sure whether dunking is for basically softening the biscuit to make it easier to digest, or for taste?


Jammie Dodger 40/50 points

Kids score: 29

Adults score: 11

Description: Jammy. Good for dunking.


Jaffa Cake 33/50 points (officially a cake, not a biscuit)

Kids score: 26

Adults score: 7

Description: Bitter. Not to dunk.


Pink Iced Ring 24/50 points

Kids score: 17

Adults score: 7

Description: Armour-plated. Sugar Crash.


Ginger and Dark Chocolate Cookie  19/50 points

Gluten Free

Kids score: 10

Adult score: 9

Description: Building material.


Stem Ginger Cookie 23/50 points

Free from Gluten, Milk, Peanut, Egg, Soya Organic Fair Trade Better Food

Kids score: 13

Adults score: 10

Description: Dry and spicy. Probably also perfect for dunking.


Gingerbread Men 7/50 points

Milk Free, Gluten Free Coop

Kids score: 7

Adults score: 0

Description: Disgusting, “taste-free”.


Easter Biscuits 37/50 points

Hobbs House Bakery Better Food 

Kids score: 24

Adults score: 13

Description: Spiced. Yes to dunking this. The bigger one in the picture below.


Easter Biscuits 11/50 points


Kids score: 6

Adults score: 5

Description: Tame.


Chocolate Chip Cookie 29/50 points

Kids score: 18

Adults score: 11

Description: Too many biscuits…


Chocolate Chip Orange Cookie 1/50 point

Organic Better Food

Kids score: 1

Adults score: 0

Description: Yuck, cardboard.


All Butter Viennies Swirl 15/50 points

Kids score: 8

Adults score: 7

Description: Buttery.


And still hungry for biscuit facts? Read this, I missed the programme:

‪TV Review, Britain’s Favourite Biscuit (Channel 5): does exactly what it says on the tin https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/britains-favourite-biscuit-channel-5-a8110626.html‬




Time Has Come For Some Allotment Fun

New to the allotment? Fearing the committee trawling around and pointing out that your plot is not up to scratch? Read on. I am on my first ever allotment journey and will travel with you through the year.

Onions in the ground has been my biggest accomplishment this week. Fun work to do with my little helper on Easter break.


Allotment time and work is supposed to be fun, nutritious, practical and therapeutic. I cry inside when I hear people giving it up because of time. Plant something easy! Don’t care about your neighbours beds being weed free. My theory is to eradicate weeds by growing other plants and vegetables where they have a tendency to take over. Well, time will show!

After several spells of snow and winter, Spring is upon us. Last weekend we could even see cherry trees blossom in the snow.  This time I believe the coin has turned and yesterday’s Spring equinox (20th March 2018) promises that we are going into the lighter, sunnier season.

I am also lucky to have my Tim Foster course work and book «Good Earth Gardening» by my side for advice. I have put down some broad beans as I was told they germinate better when it is cold. A fact I picked up from BBCs iconic Gardeners World. Another helpful place to find some tips about seasonal greenery work. I watch it from time to time on BBC IPlayer.

Bookshelf in the shed:


Today my main ambition was to put woodchip on top of some black plastic that was left on the ground around my blackcurrant bushes from the allotmentier before me on what is now my plot. I presume the black plastic was put there to keep weeds away, and I therefore decided to leave them in place, but they need covering up. For aesthetical reasons I will help myself generously to the free wood chip reservoir on our allotment site. I had to carry around fifteen of these boxes. My pink box revealed:


End result and I think it looks better. Fingers crossed it will last.

71F7FE47-3639-4F7D-8322-AC95DD70A4DASurrounding my beautiful blackcurrant bushes. Let’s hope the committee notices and are happy 😃

I’m now on Gloucester Road #Bakersandco checking out their brunch, filter coffee (black, a must have for any Norwegian!) and reading Tim Foster’s book. A book review will come some time this year! But the coffee was too thin ☕️


Happy Easter from Bristol!



#Vaffelmamma on how to make Waffle Hearts, and the Good Soil Association

D04688AF-D75C-4780-BD78-C0418D541FB1Norwegian and English text. Tekst på norsk og engelsk.

FFF0CA7B-B0DC-44DC-A19A-77CAECFE8539 Vaffelhjerter er det mange av i Norge.

Store, små, noen med sukker på. Og i dag har jeg snappet opp at det er den internasjonale vaffeldagen! Tenk det. Nå er det snart en dag for det meste, og det er selvfølgelig også en unnskyldning for å sette igang vaffelpressa. Jeg går på med friskt mot med klassisk oppskrift fra Ingrid Espelid Hovig, nemlig “Vaflar – frå Lise”, og her følger en billedserie med framgangsmåte.

There are lots of Waffle Hearts in Norway. We love to eat them as a treat with sugar on, maybe some butter, or soured cream with jam on top, or maybe brown cheese (brunost) which is an excellent choice for these beloved hearts. More continental versions might include vanilla ice-cream and fruit compote on top, and the whole waffle eaten with a knife and fork. Even a popular children’s book by Maria Parr and later tv-series has the title “Vaffelhjarte” (published in English as Waffle Hearts).


Waffle heart necklace in oxidised silver from #Frisenberg.no

A Classic Norwegian waffle recipe can be found in one of Ingrid Espelid Hovig’s cooking books and they are called “Waffles – from Lise”:

Waffles/vafler (10-15)

1. 10 dl plain flour/hvetemel

I have now started looking for the Soil Association mark as they certify organic food and produce to a very high standard in the UK, and they are based in Bristol!

2. 4 teaspoons baking powder/bakepulver

3. 2 dl granulated sugar/sukker

4. 2 teaspoons cardamom (ground, not pods)/kardemomme


This I normally bring here from Norway. I have used the pestle and mortar on cardamom pods, but then you need to grain them very well indeed, unless you want the feeling of eating sand… Cardamom is crucial for the Norwegian tasting waffles.

5. 10 dl milk/melk

I usually put in half the milk with the dry ingredients first, then mix to a smooth mixture. You don’t want any lumps whatsoever. Then I add eggs, and last the rest of the milk.

6. 4 eggs/egg

Why not make a hole top and bottom of the egg and blow the inside out instead of breaking the egg (middle pic). This way you can use the egg shells for Easter decorations!

7. 1dl melted butter/smør into the mixture (and you don’t need additional butter in the waffle maker)

Leave the mixture for half an hour with a cloth or similar to cover the bowl/mixture. La stå i en halv time.



Easy to make, fresh just before serving. #ScandiKitchen for tips on where to get the waffle makers. Mine was bought in Norway, using an adapter.

Served warm & fresh ❤ Hearty food ❤





Sigrid! Ambassador For Happy Norwegian People

A92D4FD7-AA51-44C8-9C9B-EF34FB03F87DOne week ago today I spent the evening listening to Sigrid @Motion in Bristol. During one week in Bristol we had World Happiness Day and #vårjevndøgn, Sigrid and Susanne Sundfør. And right now is the night before the clocks are put forward. Where I grew up, in a Norwegian village, we had light all year around, but no direct Sun from November, and it wasn’t back shining on our house in the valley until last days of January every year.

Sunshine came to Bristol with Sigrid last Saturday. Another #HAPPYDAY, and a reason to celebrate #WomansDayEveryDay after two Norwegian artists have visited the city this same week in March. Pretty cool!

Whilst #SusanneSundfør is not so jumpy and happy, and creates a more characteristic ‘Nordic Noir’ stage atmosphere, Sigrid is the other end of the scale. Happy, fresh, natural and energetic! And some of THE BEST beats!!

4552947A-779F-4E21-88F8-12D9BDDC46AAIt was biting cold and moving into snow. We Norwegians normally like that! And Sigrid didn’t disappoint as she typically pointed out that “we Norwegians wear #wool” (and then we mean wool: 100% wool!). Details important to us wool enthusiasts, and the fact that she showed everyone her wool base layer on stage was no disappointment 🙂 She continued the night with her happy moves, her happy energy and her happy beats in front of a pretty full #Motion nightclub venue.

On a different note I was feeling slightly ripped off because tickets were now available for £13 and I paid £50 because the concert originally was going to be at #Thekla, a much smaller venue, something somebody had taken advantage of reselling really expensive tickets because they sold out fast! Bugger. And then, they changed the venue!  But apparently this happens quite often in Bristol, I’ve been told, concerts moved around the city depending on ‘size’. We bought the one brand of canned Beer and Cider on sale and got on with it.


This all didn’t matter when Sigrid started singing! The band slightly anonymous in black in the background. They left Sigrid to do showbiz. Big colourful boards behind, made me think of Scandi and Nordic interior design known through it’s simplicity.

After all it is impressive how she manages to carry this show by herself. She has no dancers on stage with her. This is personality and charisma! And talent, of course. She is a good singer. I didn’t feel the sound picture as a whole was optimal, the band and choirist didn’t quite manage to pull it off in unison, and I had a feeling that some of what I had seen in her music videos or heard on the radio was better. Not so unusual though and this doesn’t mean she’s not good live. Sigrid’s best songs are really the best hits! And she’s a winner. My favourite at the moment: Dynamite! Giving an important message to women; that they are not mostly about pleasing others and making everyone happy all the time. Be Dynamite – completely legitimate also for women! I like it.

Early in the evening she introduced us to some of her not so well known music, carrying on to the hits! Strangers, Dynamite, Don’t Kill My Vibe, her new Raw, one after the other.

Sigrid is great when it comes to creating a relationship with her audience. Somebody shouted: «You’re gorgeous!» and she had to restart a song. She thanked the audience a lot, and we felt that it meant something. This is charming and she was adressing her Bristol audience, not just one more venue with people in it. This is one of her strengths as an artist and entertainer. Her act feels quite personal and authentic. She is also a bit different to the typical female pop singer act when it comes to style and moves. To me she represents a new generation of women, not so much ‘Second to the Man’, but without playing it all out as simply an act. She has grown up with more freedom and opportunities to grasp and take, I think, than generations before her in a Norwegian context. Sadly, many artists change a lot through early professional well meant advice and commercialism, in the end they can end up unrecognisable just to sell more. I think Sigrid will be able to resist some of these forces. Something ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ is evidently a result of, but we all know how hard it is. And of course anyone would change going through what she is at the moment.

As a Norwegian I can feel the vibes of excitement as she is right in the middle of her breakthrough! Right now. One of the reasons why I couldn’t miss this concert although my companion was sick in bed at home. And here in the UK we have already realised how big she is becoming as Strangers was used in the intro for the TV screening of BAFTA!

I knew three songs from before: Strangers, Don’t Kill My Vibe and Dynamite. They are still lifting the show and the atmosphere. The age group in the crowd was mixed, and I am especially glad to notice her teenage fans (typical mother of a teenager) as I basically think Sigrid is a great role model for lots of young people. Her unconventional moves around the stage communicates and states: confident, as well as not simply displaying a super confident successful woman at all times. It is more subtle and complex than that. What I mean is that she doesn’t ‘feel fake’. Something she is also signing about in her songs quite a lot, the questions of fake friendships in ‘Strangers’ and “I can never fake it (…) I just wanna be pure” in her new ‘Raw’. With the funkiest beats she pours out her energy, her love for music and her performance reaches out to the people. She is ‘The Woman in the Room’ taking up all the space that she needs! A Star is born and I hope the future is bright and happy for her 🌟 I can’t wait for the school run and rocking in the car with my kids to her music.


Hay, Berry! Berries On A Straw – “Stråbær»


A1A5D2B9-C55B-4224-9B29-004DC4AEA71ACan anyone help me? Why don’t English speaking people seem to know that the name “strawberry” comes from picking berries and threading them on a straw? (It actually doesn’t but is a very sound -and a bit dull- explanation to a Norwegian) Don’t you do this cherished activity in English speaking countries? I have now confirmed that it is usual at least in Scandinavia and in Slovakia.

What happened to me was that I embarrassed myself on a quiz on my allotment course being the only one raising my hand for alternative 1, when we were to vote on the origin of the word “strawberry”. The three alternatives were:

  1. A long, long time ago children used to put strawberries on a straw (I was sitting there thinking: We still do that in Norway… but didn’t say anything)
  2. “Straw” in strawberry is from “strew”, referring strawberries strewed/spread/dotted around the ground.
  3. Straw being laid on the fields around the strawberry plant to prevent fruit from rotting (here I cannot recall the exact explanation that was used in the quiz)


I put my arm up, voting for alternative 1) 💡The others in the room laughing. I also giggled, somebody should vote for that one too…

The others voted quite equally on the two other alternatives, but leaving alternative 3) as the winner. Alternative 2) was the right one. Something you can read more about on this Oxford University Press Etymology Blogpost from 2015 ,  written by Anatoly Liberman.

In Norwegian culture “picking strawberries and threading them on a straw” is one of the most nostalgic things one can do. It is even described in national song treasures from famous authors and songwriters like Alf Prøysen’s “Vise for gærne jinter” – “Folksong for crazy girls”:

Vise for gærne jinter/Folksong for crazy girls

Oppå Lauvåsen veks det jordbær/At Lauvåsen the wild strawberries grow

fine jordbær/fine strawberries

raue jordbær/red strawberries

hele væra er bære jordbær,/and the whole  world is full of strawberries,

finn et strå/find a straw

og træ dom på…./and thread them on….

Alf Prøysen (1914-1970) , Norwegian artist, author and song writer


I understand that there might be a big leap between this practice in maybe some northern countries and the origin of the English word “strawberry”. After all we call them earth berries (wild strawberries/woodland strawberries) in Norwegian. So strawberries don’t really make sense translated directly to “stråbær”, other than as a culturally sound and traditional practice where picking wild berries and putting them on the closely sounding and pronounced “strå” (straw) still is a cherished and possible activity, especially for children growing up.

This made me really excited! There is another problem though, a straw isn’t precisely what we in Norway call “strå”. Because the Norwegian “strå” would be defined as hay in English. Possibly another etymological search about the realtionship between the English “straw” and the Norwegian «strå».

Strike a pose! (hahahaha play on words again, in Norwegian, pose=bag)


Norsk sammenfatning:

En av de store erfaringene ved å bo i utlandet er hvordan man forstår ting utifra der man kommer fra og kulturell referanseramme: På hagekurset jeg går på hadde vi en quiz – spørsmålet var hvor kommer opphavet til «strawberry», på norsk jordbær, fra?

Det engelske ordet er altså «stråbær». 💡

Alternativ 1) i riktig gamle dager plukket barna jordbær/”strawberries” og puttet dem på et strå (jeg har jo lyst til å fortelle at det gjør vi fremdeles i Norge,😅men holder munn).

Alternativ 2) fra gammelengelsk «straw»/”strew” betyr å kaste ut bær, de var bær spredt utover.

Alternativ 3) man pleide å legge strå under jordbærplantene slik at bærene ikke råtnet  (husker ikke helt forklaringen her).

Jeg stemte selvfølgelig på 1), mens de andre fordelte seg på 2) og 3). De lo åpenbart av alternativ 1), og jeg lo også, de kunne jo tro at jeg tulla litt og ville stemme på det ingen andre stemte på🤣🤣🤣.  For å korte ned denne lange epistelen…, jeg spør min engelskmann hjemme; plukker ikke barna her jordbær og putter på et strå- som i Prøysen sangen? Nei, han hadde aldri sett eller hatt noe forhold til det. Så altså, de på kurset trodde det var noen som hadde kommet opp med et morsomt ordspill «straw» og «berry» hahahaha🍓

Simply brilliant!

Det tilgjengelige kjønnet


Hvorfor er det så vanskelig for sykepleiere å sette grenser? Har kjønn noe med saken å gjøre?

Tidlig i karrieren på 2000-tallet. Jeg husker en lapp som sto over dørsignalalarmen inne på personaldoen på sykehuset: “Ikke slå av romalarmen. Du skal sitte i fred på do!”

Dette hadde avdelingssykepleieren hengt opp. Var det et svar på et kvinneproblem eller et sykepleierproblem? En kombinasjon av barmhjertighet, omsorgsidealer og moderskapsideologi som sitter i veggene hos “trøste- og bæreyrkene”? Gjør det kvinnene i faget spesielt utsatt for grenseløshet?

Den åpne kroppen

“Den åpne kroppen” er en metafor på kvinnekroppen som både er intuitiv og konkret. Det kan bety kvinnekroppens åpne hulrom, omslyngende samtidig som blod og melk strømmer ut fra åpne sluser. Kvinnekroppen kan bokstavelig talt tappes for krefter og invaderes på samme tid.

Det er sosialantropolog Jorun Solheim som bruker begrepet “Den åpne kroppen”, som også er tittelen på hennes artikkelsamling om kjønnssymbolikk i moderne kultur. Boka gjorde meg som masterstudent nysgjerrig og interessert i hvordan tanker om kvinnekroppen som symbolsk, men også rent konkret åpen, kan ha å si for min egen opplevelse av å være kvinne.


Omsorg som egenskap vil mange tenke som kvinnelig og feminine trekk. Omsorgen omfavner og kan i praktisk arbeid inkludere alt fra å legge inn urinkateter, skifte sengetøy til å vanne blomster.

Dette er noe av det Solheim kaller kjønnsgrammatikk. Arbeidsoppgavene og fordelingen mellom menn og kvinner opprettholdes med en form for kjønnskomplementaritet – et utfyllende system av motsetninger.

Og det snodige er at dette mønsteret synes å ha en direkte linje fra folks hjem og arbeidsdelingen i hjemmet til arbeidslivet. Er det her sykepleien lykkes med en type ekskluderingsprosjekt? Som når mannen tar ansvaret for barna hjemme, men utstyres med handlelapp i butikken og sjelden kommer til ullsokkenivået på barna før mor tar over?

Og er det derfor vi har fått en økende motstand mot husarbeidet i sykepleierjobben fordi det minner om kjønnsgrammatikken – vi forsøker å bevege oss bort fra?


Det er også forventninger til menn, selvfølgelig. Et eksempel (beskrevet av L. Frost og S. McClean) som fanget min oppmerksomhet, var fra et stål- og gruvesamfunn i Wales hvor mannlige arbeidere ble rammet av utstrakt arbeidsledighet etter stenging av industriarbeidsplasser. Etter hvert fantes det jobber innen turist- og servicenæringen, for eksempel som kelnere. Det som sto i veien, var bildene av egen maskulin identitet. Å gå fra arbeid i stålindustri og kullgruvene til å jobben i servicenæringen var en umulighet for mange. De ville heller gå arbeidsledige.

Forventninger til kjønn virker helt konkret og som dypstruktur i moderne kultur. Det virker sammen med klasse, sosial og kulturell tilhørighet. Tidligere har vi hørt at sykepleieren gjerne var en borgerlig middelklassekvinne. Er de kvinnelige sykepleierne anno 2017 mer sårbare i møte med krav om tilgjengelighet eller det å strekke seg så langt at de blir utbrent, enn kvinner som rekrutteres til andre yrker?

Utdatert tankegods

Paradokset er at mange av omsorgsbeskrivelsene vi bruker i sykepleien er så sterkt knyttet til en tenkning om kjønn som to motsetninger, en dualisme og kjønnsgrammatikk som forutsetter komplementaritet. Kongstanker som likestillingstanker og den norske modellen er bygget på, handler om det motsatte, nemlig om at kjønn er likestilt, likt og helst bør være irrelevant og nøytralt. Det har blitt flagget at sykepleien har en positiv eim av maternalisme, altså moderlige omsorgsidealer. Problemet er allikevel grunntankene som formet disse omsorgsidealene og at de er så ufattelig utdaterte. Og de lever samtidig i beste velgående i det norske kjønnssegregerte arbeidslivet.

Allerede Florence Nightingale flagget faget som “naturlig” for kvinner. Jorun Solheim mener også at det er noen spesielle sammenhenger i vår moderne kultur mellom kvinnen, hustruen og moren – og hvordan hun plasseres i hjemmet. Hun trekker også fram det kvinnelige husarbeidet. Og samtidig som vi ser dette, og at Florence Nightingale tross alt var normbryter i sin samtid, må vi i sykepleien forholde oss til våre viktorianske medsøstre som en direkte fiende når det gjelder å skape levelige arbeidsforhold for kvinner som i dag går inn i yrket.

Det fleksible kjønn

Er turnus enda et slikt felt hvor vi stiller oss til disposisjon? Hvor vi ikke setter grenser og blir åpne og tilgjengelige?

Norsk Sykepleierforbund har gjort en viktig jobb med å kartlegge utlysninger av deltidsstillinger. Selv gjorde jeg en uformell undersøkelse av jobbannonsene som ligger ute hos sykepleien.no: Blant 53 stilllingsannonser finner jeg “fleksibel” som ønsket personlig egenskap i 25 annonser, altså grovt sett 50 prosent av annonsene. I utlysninger fra psykiatrien var dette sjeldnere nevnt. Psykiatrien er en av sykepleiens maskuline øyer der man ikke trenger å be arbeidstakere om å være fleksible, og dessuten behjelpelige, som noen også uttrykte det. Dette er kvinnespråket. De som gir, og skal gi mer. De som er “too good to be true” som en kollega ble beskrevet i en farveltale, mens en annen kvinnelig kollega, like dyktig, fikk tittelen “balsam for sjelen”. Er det bare meg, eller er dette svært kjønnete merkelapper?

Tiden er overmoden for flere fortellinger om “åpne kropper”, om omsorg og menn. Jeg vil ha en mannlig sykepleier som er “balsam for sjelen” og faktisk; “Too good to be true!”

Deltid som symptom

I Norge vet vi at kvinner jobber deltid. Noen forskere har lurt på om dette er enda en av disse “naturlige” konsekvensene av inntoget av kvinner i arbeidslivet; at arbeidslivet blir kjønnsdelt, og majoriteten av kvinner forblir i lavtlønnsyrker med deltidsløsninger. Det “naturlige” ligger ikke nødvendigvis i biologiske forskjeller og teorier om kvinnelige omsorgsegenskaper som noe radikalt annerledes enn menns omsorgsegenskaper. Det “naturlige” skapes i det sosiale rommet hvor kjønn gjøres og utspiller seg. Mellom deg og meg. Det “naturlige” med omsorgen og sykepleien trenger ikke for evig tid å være knyttet til det Nightingale postulerte.

Feltet er motsetningsfylt. Hvordan kan vi akseptere de spesifikke kvinnelige erfaringene knyttet til kvinneyrkene og deltid og samtidig få menn på banen? Er det kvinnene som er grenseløse og gir for mye? Er deltid en måte for kvinner å skjerme seg og sette grenser, eller er det et symptom og resultat av et arbeidsliv som rett og slett ikke går i hop med kvinneliv? Er det menn som ikke setter grenser for hvordan arbeidslivet kan spise seg inn på familielivet? Og ærlig talt, norske menn har da også forandret seg og tar stadig mer del i familiearbeidet.

Den norske deltidsmodellen kan være både bra og dårlig på samme tid. Men er den også et bevis på hvordan kvinnene i faget mangler evne til å skape levelige arbeidsforhold i yrket?


Artikkelen var først publisert i bokasinet under meninger i Sykepleien Nr. 10 2017 #sykepleierhelse – en overlevelseguide. http://www.sykepleien.no

Bildet innledningsvis er fra et intervju med Helge Svare i tidsskrift for kultur, samfunn og politikk, Syn og Segn 1.2018, 124. Årgang


Susanne Sundfør In Bristol #Colstonhall What A Magical Voice Sounds Like!


Susanne Sundfør cannot be accused of being an ambassador for Norway as one of the happiest countries in the world. Her music is dark, blue and melancholy. The atmosphere – a cross between jazz and electronically fuelled sounds -lifted us into unknown places by her voice. It’s simply magical!

In a landscape of folklore, “tusser and trolls”, forests and water sounds combined with jazz and electro ecco – it’s big, it’s bold and she is very confident. Sundfør has originality and what I would call a ‘different’ voice. The live stage performance clearly brought out the most powerful in it! It is astonishingly beautiful.

After a rather mediocre warm up act, it is not difficult to understand that Susanne Sundfør is the strength and powerfulness of world class, again – especially her vocal. Wrapped in a somewhat fragile but strong and confident expression and showcased through her flow like, floating motions, witty comments and musical expression on stage. Supported by musicians clearly mastering it all. Together with Megan Kovacs and Jesse Chandler, the three of them alternate between piano, synth, organ, strings, flute, clarinet, saxophone and more. A bit messy on stage, but as a musical picture it is #PicturePerfect !

Today was a day of bad coughs and almost fever for Susanne Sundfør, but that woman can still sing! I am completely new to her music and instantly a convert. Feeling a bit ashamed and ignorant to the Norwegian musical scene as she has recently been in the media headlines because she lost out on the main Spellemannsprisen 2017 (equivalent to Brit Awards here). Previously Sundfør has rejected the category of “Female Artist of the Year” because she does not believe in categories based on gender. More about that on her Instagram or Twitter.

The title of her last album “Music For People In Trouble” sounds to the point from what I manage to catch up from this concert. Not believing in love, warnings of nature destruction and the longing for a secret lover, “good luck, bad luck”, all in her songs. I captured “snow falls” in one of them and got completely mesmerised, hiding tears from my companion on the night. It was magical, that’s the only world for it. I got the feeling of being spellbound (‘trollbundet’/Trollbound in Norwegian).

“The Sound of War” being one of my favourites of the night:

 “And the snow falls down/ Your footsteps on the ground/ Are lost in the silence”

It was probably the mentioning of snow. Later I even thought I could hear her sing something about Norway’s Oil in one song…

«Bedtime Story»

Verse 3

“And when the nights are cold and strange and all the birds are gone

And all the oil’s been spilt, and left us on this Earth alone

I’ll think about the time you reassured me you were mine

Oh, what is love but a frail little dreamcatcher?”

Despite this capturing and to some extend narrowing in on a contemporary sociopolitical situation in Norway, I was a little disappointed by her lyrics. To match the music, I thought it was not quite there, but some was, don’t get me wrong! Overall, I would have expected something deeper, sounds a bit pretentious, but I want it more meaningful with fewer clichés. If this had been mainstream pop, I probably wouldn’t have questioned the lyrics so much. This expectation comes from the depth and mood of the atmosphere created on stage, fuelled by the music and Sundfør’s divine voice which just takes it all to a higher place! Thank you Susanne Sundfør, great night in Bristol!


And I’m sure we will get the happy vibes from Sigrid on Saturday@Motion 😀


Need A Job For Sunday? (or any other day) I went down to my Allotment in Snow



I could smell the blackcurrants as I was pruning the bushes back. Beautiful smell with slight sharpness, but still sweet warmth in the snow. Fresh, sweetness. They are FEBRUARY JOBS TO DO ON THE ALLOTMENT (whoops! it’s early March already) 

In the pictures above: Gooseberry Bush (left) Raspberry with Autumn Fruit (right)

Spring Pruning it’s called!  Who would have thought that with two or three days with snow you would do work on your allotment? Well, this time it was not my suggestion! I have signed up for an Organic and Allotment Gardening training course over the next four months, and I am ready to learn! Today we were going to learn about pruning fruit bushes and with expert guidance from Tim Foster decided to go ahead. He usually does all his pruning in February and now it has tipped March, hasn’t it? It needs to be done. Today was fresh, but pleasant and the practical training was so helpful that I after the session went down to my own allotment to check on all the mistakes I had probably made when pruning in Autumn. And I was actually going to do something about it! So whilst the kids could use the plastic bag trick for “sledging” (check my Instagram or twitter for videos!) a very defined path at one end of the allotment, I could get on with the work!


I have been told that my great-grandmother used to have gooseberries (stikkelsbær) in her garden on a sunny Norwegian hillside. The season was short (Summer from June-early August), but it paid off.  The gooseberries are delicious. Individual gooseberry pies are a favourite dessert in our house. And I have become so fond of the ones had during this first season. When it comes to pruning it I take a less traditional approach of pruning like an apple tree; to(wards) something… I will not go into details on how to prune on this blog as I am very new to this, but I appreciate any advice and comments on my approach!


 Before and after pruning the gooseberry bush (above)

Gooseberry pruning is not flawless and some blood was spilt over it! Even though I am doing it “the apple pruning way” which mean I am only removing bigger branches and not cutting off up to half the length on each new growth, traditionally done.



My small Apple Tree doesn’t need much pruning in the future, but I decided to give it a go this year. Always pruning to something! (the bud here is maybe not really outward facing hmmm)



6C52856E-ADF2-4F0D-BF43-4EB56D2B3304You recognise the blackcurrant bush from the white buds, whilst the very similar redcurrant bush has black buds. I aimed to open it up from the middle, removed quite a few older and dead wood and noticed lots of young shoots from the ground.


     Dead ends waiting to be removed.

Not all of my three blackcurrant bushes were doing very well. I probably cut back a bit more than the 1/3 of the buch that I am supposed to. I decided to put some manure on two of the weakest ones. The manure I have will be fine this spring, but has really too much straw content still. This will degrade with time and it is nutrious even if it doesn’t quite have the right texture.


I try to only do organic planting and growing on my plot. This is a very important aspect of my learning journey and ambition for my allotment.

A small redcurrant bush that I planted last spring. Exciting!


This was a refreshing morning routine! #outdoorlife #liveterbestute


#joesbakery saves the day!


And these lovely crocuses!