Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 1)

Our next stop on our Nordic Adventure was Stockholm, Sweden. We have been to Sweden a couple of times, but this was our first time visiting the capital city. Stockholm is the most populous city of the Nordic countries and the centre for cultural and economic centre of Sweden. We allocated two and a half days for Stockholm and if we had more time we would have loved to stay longer. The food, the shopping, the architecture and the sites, make it an amazing destination that you don’t want to leave.

Our first day in Stockholm was relatively lay back by my  travelling standards. We experiences amazing Swedish pastries, had family fun at Skansen open air museum, did fika with our cousin, window shopped in the old town and finished the evening with a plate of Swedish meatballs.

 

Continue reading “Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 1)”

Halloween Colouring

Happy Halloween y’all! Did you do anything special for the All Hallows’ Eve? We had our Halloween fun over the weekend. We Trick-a-Treated at shopping centre and did some other Halloween events for kids. Tonight we have treats ready for the two lots of kids that visit our home. Halloween is really not a popular holiday in Australia, but this year there is definitely at lot more interest then previous years.

Over October I decided to just colour in Halloween inspired pictures from a variety of colouring books. I could only get done seven pictures , since I didn’t finish the university semester until mid October. It’s been really fun to colour pictures with the Halloween spirit and revisiting books that haven’t got as much love as they deserve. The books I coloured include the Romantic Country Series, Fantasia and Colouring Heaven Anime Special.

 

Continue reading “Halloween Colouring”

Norwegian Road Trip Day 3: Sunnfjord Museum (part 2)

While we were in Førde, we made one more stop at the Sunnfjord Museum. I wanted to dedicate a whole post to this museum, since I really enjoyed it much more then I expected to. This museum offer us a personalised experience, which really made me appreciate this history of this region and was a great ending to this road trip.

The Sunnfjord Museum is an open air museum and is one of the four regional museums in Sogn og Fjordane. It is presents the day-to-day life of the farming and tenant families of the traditional district of Sunnfjord in the mid 1800’s. The main feature of the museum is the cluster of 25 buildings which originate from different places in the Sunnfjord district. It is situated on the spectacular location at the end of the Movatnet, which gives it an authenticity to the landscape.

The museum consists of 32 antiquarian buildings, a herb garden, mountain farm and cultivated landscape. Three of the buildings are in their original location, and the rest are from other settlements in Sunnfjord. These buildings are great examples of the building techniques and traditions from the 16th to the 19th century. Many of the buildings can be visited inside and are furnished as they would have been back in their day. If you want to get a closer look at some of the objects you can see them on the Digital Museum.

The museum is opened all year round (opening hours) but they only offer daily guided tours during June to August. However, there are exhibitions, special events and educational programs offered a different time in the year. They also offer exhibitions and educational programs for kids. They encouraged visitors to make the most of their visit, by having a picnic on the grounds, or swiming and fishing in the lake. Also from the museum there several walking paths with information boards describing the natural and cultural history of the area.

 

Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 3: Sunnfjord Museum (part 2)”

Baked Eggs with Mediterranean Hash

It’s been a while since I have posted any recipes. I haven’t been as passionate about cooking recently, while I’ve been juggle uni, a testy toddler and constant onslaught of the flu. Cooking has been more a chore of late, but I’m hoping that now I’m on holidays I can experiment with some new recipes. I’m really excited to make some homemade pasta after watching the new docuseries, Salt Fat Acid Heat. If you have Netflix you must check it out and have your passion for food renewed.

So this recipe is just a quick lunch I prepared for myself and my partner, while our daughter was having some Nonna time. I was inspired by Spinach and Potatoes Baked with Eggs from Scandinavian Comfort Food. Since I was missing some of the key ingredients, I italianized it with what I had on hand. I also got to try out my new Lodge caste iron skillet, which I bought as an non-toxic alternative. It was a great to cook with and easy to clean.. Well easy for Marco to clean, since I’m the cook.

This dish can serve two hungry people or three, if you add another egg. I served it with a fresh green salad coated with my new favourite ingredient, Cobrum Estate Lemon Infused EVO. I also used this oil in the hash to infuse it with a fresh lemon flavour. If you watch the first episode of Salt, Fat Acid Heat, you will get why I’m a bit obsessed with EVO right now.

Continue reading “Baked Eggs with Mediterranean Hash”

Norwegian Road Trip Day 3: Førde (part 1)

After a little hiatus to finish the university semester, I can now continue sharing my last day in Norway on our road trip. So today is day three, we are at the furthermost point in our road trip from where we started in Bergen. Our destination is Førde, which is the most populated municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane. The township of Førde is located east if the end of the Førdefjorden and at the mouth of the river Jølstra.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to find in Førde, since it doesn’t seem as touristic as other towns, but there are a few great attractions that you can visit. There are the waterfalls of Huldefossen and Halbrendsfossen, the Førdehuset cultural centre, where you can find the Salmon sculpture, The National Tourist Road and the Sunnfjord Museum. We were quite time poor since we arrived quite late the evening before and only had the next morning to site see before driving back down to Bergen to catch our flight. However, we did get to see a couple of attractions and were happy that we included this stop in our trip. 

 

Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 3: Førde (part 1)”

Book Review: August Reverie 2: Epic

It’s been a while since I have written a colouring book review that wasn’t Colouring Heaven issue. So today I have a new review of a book from one of my most recent colouring book hauls. I decided to focus on August Reverie 2: Epic, which has the most beautiful array of artwork. I bought this book on impulse and I’m so happy I gave it a chance, since its not like an of the other books in my collection.

August Reverie II: Epic – Fantasy Art Adult Coloring Book (Volume 2) is the second colouring book illustrated by Chinthaka Herath on behalf of Vivid Publishers. I haven’t got the first book, August Reverie: Adult Coloring Bookbut just like the second one, it has been very popular among the colouring community. Both books are quite similar in style and genre. Chinthaka also has a third book coming out on behalf of Vivid Publishers. I’m not sure if it will be similar, be here is a sneak peak of one of the possible designs. I don’t know much about this artist, only that he is the owner and art director of Intense Media and resides in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Vivid Publishers is also based in Sri Lanka in Kandy, so I’m assuming they are all in the same. This publishing house has also released one other book prior to the August Reverie, which may or not be by the same artist, Wild Animals Adult Coloring: Absolutely Amazing, Stress Relieving, Wild Animals. I’m not sure if it’s very popular, since I haven’t heard much about it but has great reviews on Amazon. 

August Reverie II: Epic is a soft cover colouring book, which is glue bound. The artwork on the front and back cover gives beautiful examples of completed pictures that you can find in the book. You can also find more completed pages by the artist and colourists on the Vivid Publisher Instagram page.

Inside the book there are 24 hand-drawn fantasy illustrations (not including the name plate or contents page). Each design is assigned a name, which can be found on the contents page and there are page numbers on the back of each page. All of the pages except for one features a beautiful women adorned in jewels and most are surrounded by flowers, animals companions, or heraldic frames . There is only one page that does not feature a woman, instead it is a beautiful hummingbird surrounded by flowers. Some of animals companions you will find in the book include Butterflies, Bumble Bees, Dragonflies, Birds, Lion, Unicorn, Fish, Dragon, Bald Eagle, Jaguar, Dolphin and Squirrels. The flowers that you will find include Tulip, Rose, Aster, Peony, Dahlia, Petunia, Forget-Me-Not, Gazania Rigens, Henryi-Clematis, Zinnias and Jasmine. The theme of the book is royalty and dreams, which really comes through the fantasy and regal designs. The artwork is really stunning and is quite detailed, making it easier to know where to shadow and highlight. Additionally, at the the back of the book there are also two pages from August Reverie (first volume).

The pages are all one sided, so there is no need to worry about bleed through. However, paper is very thin and is only really appropriate for pencil, markers, gel pens and pastels. It is highly recommended in the book that you use thick paper or cardboard behind the page you are working on to protect the followings pages, especially when using markers. I assume if you use any water on this paper it would instantly buckle and would not be tolerated. The paper is bright white paper and does have a bit of a shine to it and quite a nice tooth. I recommend Prismacolor Premier Pencils or a softer pencil, just because I fear a harder pencil,  like Faber-Castell Polychromos, may ripe the paper. I do have a firm hand, so a softer hand may be more successful using harder branded pencils. Pastels are another media that are great on this paper, which I employed in one of my own completed pictures. I was able to get quite a few layers on this paper and I didn’t get to the point where the paper wouldn’t take anymore. However I did have to be careful to colour on a flat surface, as the ends of the pages tend to curly or bend if your not careful. So greater care had to be taken when colouring near the edge of pages. The pages also show great indentation from where I coloured on the other side, which is why its so important to protect the rest of the book with some at least 1-2 pages behind your work. At the back of the book there are 3 blank test pages where you can test  your art media.

Both this book and the first volume is available in PDF form, for those that prefer to print out their colouring books. You can purchase the PDF book from the Vivid Publisher’s website. Additionally if your did purchase the physical copy of either book from Amazon, you can get a free PDF copy from the website.  I bought mine from Book Depository and I am still waiting to hear back if my purchase qualifies. So I recommend sending a message to Vivid directly if you purchase yours elsewhere.

Some other bonuses on the Vivid Publisher website (via Youtube), are video flip through of both books and videos of the artist colouring his work. There are currently five videos of Chinthaka colouring pages from August Reverie 2: Epic, which are speed colouring with commentary. He also regularly does colouring contests with free PDF’s of pages from the books, as well as promotional sale prices for the books on Amazon.

Below I have included my own video of August Reverie 2: Epic flip through, which includes 4 completed pictures. You can also see these completed pictures below, with commentary on what I used and my inspiration behind my colour choices. After completing this pictures I am still very much in love with this book. My only issues with this book is that the thinness of the paper and although the tooth is lovely I was not able to cover those stray hairs with pencil. In some pictures is brought the hair to life and in others it came across a little too prominent. Other then that the tooth of the paper is lovely and the artwork is just spectacular. Any more pictures that I colour from this book in the future will be added to my gallery for August Reverie 2: Epic.

Continue reading “Book Review: August Reverie 2: Epic”

Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Balestrand (part 4)

Our last big stop on our 2nd day of our road trip was Balestrand. This was probably the one I was most excited about. We arrived it was quite late, so we did a little bit of wandering around. My daughter had also become very unruly, so we ended up spending a couple hours before retiring for the day at our apartment in Førde. I did really like Balestrand and happy we trekked this far to explore this small town.

The village of Balestrand is in the Balestrand municipality, in the Sogn og fjordane region. It is located on the northern shore of the Sognefjorden and the mouth of Esefjorden. This town has been a major tourist stop since the 1800s. It is also known as the Art village and has inspired many artists from England and Germany. These travellers have also influenced much of the architecture.

Some points of interest include Sognefjord Aquarium (Sognefjord Akvarium and Gallery Munken), Golden house Gallery (Det gylne hus), Kviknes Hotel (Private collection of art mainly from the national-romantic period), King Bele Statue and Balestrand Viking Barrows, St Olaf’s Angelican Church and the Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism (Norsk Reiselivsmuseum).

Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Balestrand (part 4)”

Book Review: Colouring Heaven Fairytale Special

This months Colouring Heaven magazine released in Australia is the Fairytales Special (Issue 36). I was pretty excited about months issue, since it features the artwork of Hannah Lynn. I don’t have any of Hannah colouring books, but I have seen the beautiful coloured works by other colourist. I was considering ordering one of her most recent colouring books, Fairy Tale Princesses & Storybook Darlings Coloring. However, when I saw some of the artwork was going to be featured in this Colouring Heaven I was pretty happy to get a chance to try out her style. This edition actually came out a little later then usual, so after about three visits to BigW I finally got my copy.

Before I show you my completed work I will tell you a bit about the featuring artist, Hannah Lynn. Also if you haven’t heard about Colouring Heaven Magazine see my previous post for more information. Hannah Lynn is a self-taught artist based in Idaho Falls, in Idaho, USA. She was an avid colourist growing up and didn’t train to be an artist. However, her passion for art lead her to make her own artwork, as well as self-publishing and illustrating her own all ages colouring books since 2006.

Hannah has published about ten colouring books to date. They all have her signature style of sweet and whimsical big eyed girls with elaborate hair and costumes. Although they are quite 2D it doesn’t take much to bring these beautiful images alive, not matter your skill level. Most of the colouring  books follow different themes so they are quite unique, but there not deny who the artist is when you see any image from her books. These  books can also be purchased as PDF. Hannah also often gives away free sample PDF from her books. In fact if  you sign up to the Hannah Lynn Vip Lounge Subscription, you get a free exclusive colouring page and a few other treats.

The Fairytale Special issue, it features the 40 pages of line art, on single sided paper. All of the work has been taken from Hannah’s previous books, except for one. This exclusive page is the second page of Beauty and the Beast. The majority seem to be from the Fairy Tale Princesses & Storybook Darlings Coloring Book However, there are a couple from Mermaids, Fairies & Other Girls of Whimsy Coloring Book and Sweet & Simple Whimsy Girls: Mermaids and More Coloring Book. As with most Colouring Heaven magazine the images are named on the corresponding page, by character or theme. Something that is a advantage of purchasing her work in this magazine edition is the paper quality. I have seen from other reviews that the paper quality in Hannah’s book is Amazon Createspace paper. This is ideal for markers but not so great for pencils and not advisable for watercolour. However, if  you can’t get a hold of this magazine, but you would still love to colour her work the paper quality bothers you, you can still purchase the PDF copies of the book and print it out yourself.

For this issue I coloured three pictures and using a few different coloured pencil brands. I also made a video flip through, which is up on my Youtube channel. You can also see more Colouring Heaven Magazine book reviews and completed pictures on my Colouring Book Reviews  and Colouring Galleries pages. As well as any new pages completed from this issue on my Colouring Heaven Fairytale Special gallery. I really did love colouring Hannah’s work, so hopefully I will be able to do a few more from this book in the near future.

 

 

Continue reading “Book Review: Colouring Heaven Fairytale Special”

8# Colouring Update: new books

Hi again, today I have another colouring book  haul. More colouring books? Yes I though I was going to stop buying anything for a while, but then was a sale and you know how it goes… I’m very excited about each and everyone of them, so I thought I would tell you about them before I get colouring.

 

Continue reading “8# Colouring Update: new books”

Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Vikøyri (part 3)

After stopping at Undredal we made our way to the town of Vikøyri. This stop wasn’t originally in the itinerary as we had intentions of crossing the fjord to Balestrand. However we were starving, so this was a convenient stop to make to have a break and try some Viking cheese.

First a bit about our major stop. Vikøyri is the central town for the municipality of Vik, in the Sogn og fjordane region. This old coastal settlement is situated midpoint on the Sognefjorden and the mouth of the Vikja river, which is the best salmon river in the region. Some of the points of interest include the Tine cheese factory (see below), the Hopperstad Stave ChurchHove Stone Churchold shore dweller siteMoahaugane Burial Mounds, the Kristianhus Båt- og Motormuseum.

 

Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Vikøyri (part 3)”

Norwegian Road Trip Day 2: Undredal (part 2)

When I last left you we began our day in lovely Aurlandsvagen and next made our way to Undredal. We weren’t sure about making a detour to this small town as we had heard mix things. I guess if you are doing a river cruise you will see a nice view of the town. However, since we didn’t do a cruise we thought we may as well visit Undredal since it was only 20 mins from Otternes Bygdetun in Aurland.

Undredal is a tiny village within the municipality of Aurland and is situated on the Aurlandsfjorden. It previously was only able to be accessed by boat, but today it can be reached by the highway network. It has very small population of about 100 people and 500 goats. Why so many goats? Well Undredal is famous for it’s a brown goats cheese and goat sausage. It is still made in the traditional way and important for the towns economy.

We arrived to Undredal still quite early in the morning, so nothing was open except for a small store. Some points of interest that were closed were the tourist centre, the Undredal stavkyrkje (smallest Stave church in Northern Europe) and Undredal Tredreieri (Wood turners).

Unfortunately for us there wasn’t much to do, except enjoy the beautiful view of the fjord. It was still worth stopping just for that. I recommend stopping by this town later in the day if I want to visit some of the points of interest or get a bite to eat. From what we saw there are no coffee or pastry shops, so I’m not sure where people have breakfast, who are staying in the accommodations. The only cafe/restaurant we found was Eldhuset, it opens daily, but not until 11am.

You can visit the local farms producing the goats cheese, but it was the wrong time of year for our visit. You can actually pre-organise with the farmers to visit them and at the very least spend time with their goats. I discovered this the evening before so it was a bit late book in and we still had quite a big day ahead of us.

 

Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 2: Undredal (part 2)”