Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 2)

Hello everyone and thanks for checking back in with me. It’s been a while since I wrote about my Nordic adventure and today we continue in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of this post is dedicated to delicious foods we consumed and shopping our way through Gamla Stan,
Norrmalm and Östermalm. However, we did spend a good portion of the day visiting the Royal Palace and the Swedish History Museum, but I will write a separate post to share with you some of the marvels we found.


Södermalm: Breakfast

Its always great to start you day with a big healthy breakfast, especially if your up early. I found the perfect cafe in Södermalm that offers a wholesome breakfast and some great coffee. Pom & Flora is trendy little cafe, which offers wholesome breakfast bowls, fancy toast, fresh baked breads ith eggs and more, gluten free breads and a selection of coffees, juices and smoothies. They have two locations, so if your not in
Södermalm, you can also visit their other location in Vasastan.

For Octavia and I, we ordered the Seasonal fruit with whipped coconut cream and Steel cut oats cooked with oat milk and cardamom, stewed rubhard, nuts and cottage cheese. Marco had the Grilled Croissant with cheese & ham. We also ordered some cappuccino with oats milk. Everything was really fresh and delicious and the service was relatively quick.


Gamla Stan: sites and lunch

Next we headed to the Gamla Stan, which is the old town of Stockholm and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Here you can find the Royal Palace, some of the best restaurants and cafes, museums and little bouquets between the narrow streets.

First we headed to the Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten), which is one of the largest palaces in Europe and is still the offical residence of the King of Sweden. It contains five splendid museums that you could easily spend all day exploring. Since I took so many photos I will write a special post just for the palace and the museums that we visited. The photots below are just of the Palace exterior, views from within and the Parade Square (Outer Courtyard). It was here that we caught the end of the changing of the guards.


Afterwards we wondered through the streets of Gamla Stan and did some window shopping before stopping for lunch. I just loved the hussle and bussle of the streets. The main streets are Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan. Perhaps one of the most famous symbols of the city is the building in Stortorget, a small public square. Some other interesting stops are the momument to St George and the Dragon and the extremely narrow Prästgatan (The Priest Street). Unfortunately I got to this narrow street just as a whole lot of tourist arrived to gawk and walk down it. We decided we were too hungry to go down that rabbit hole.


There are so many amazing place to lunch in Gamla Stan. I was considering Resturang Tradition, which offers high quality classic Swedish food and some of the best meatballs in the city (also lactose free!). However, since we were on a budget we went for another exciting but less expensive option. Strömmingsvagnen is a food truck offering traditional Swedish fried herring. This sounded delicious to me, but Marco wasn’t convinced until he tried it. Octavia and I shared the Nystekt Strömming med Hemlegat Potatismos (Fried herring with mash potatoes) with the choice of pickled cucumber, creme fraiche salad and lingonberry. Marco went for the safest option, the Herring Burger. It was all so delicious! The herring wasn’t greasy at all and tasted fresh, without the fishy flavour. The mash potato was creamy to perfection and the salads and jam fresh. The burger was also amazing, as the fillings really brought the best out of the herring. For a cheap lunch, I can’t recommend it enough, even if your not a fish lover. Afterwards Marco and Octavia got some Icecream from the Hell Dog Food Truck and which they both highly recommend.


Norrmalm to Östermalm

After lunch we had to go back through Gamla Stan to make our way to the Swedish Historical Museum to see the Viking exhibition. So we walked from the south west of Gamla Stan across the bridge into Norrmalm and along the Lilla Värtan river towards the museum. It was a long walk on a really hot day. You may be wondering why we didn’t take public transport. Well, the day before we did get a day pass and we barely used. So today we decided to walk, which we did. It only took about 30 minutes, but it felt longer because of the heat. It was still nice to walk along the Nybroviken, which is a small bay, which separates Norrmalm and Östermalm.
Östermalm is a beautiful beautiful and afflutent part of Stockhom, where you can find plenty of shopping, beauitiful architecture and museums.

After visiting the museum, Marco and Octavia went back to the apartment to have a rest before dinner. I didn’t want to sit around the appartment, so instead I went shopping. I walked back from Östermalm to Norrmalm. I window shopped my way from Nybrogatan to Birger Jarlsgatan to Biblioteksgatan. I even found an Eataly, which I didn’t know about in Stockholm. The one and only Eataly that I’ve been to was in New York, which I loved. If I had more time I would have loved to come back to dine there.

It was so hot out and I was getting really thirsty, so I stopped into Joe and the Juice. This is a Danish juice bar, that has since spread across Europe, America, Asia and Australia. This is my first time visiting one of their bars, but I do remember trying to find one in Sentosa, Singapore. They offer fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, as well as plenty of savoury and sweet options for lunch or afternoon tea. I ordered the Prince of Green fresh juice, which was sweet, earthy and very refreshing. I would have got something else, but I had to have dinner soon. Not long after this I had to make the dreaded walk back through Gamla Stan to meet my family back at the apartment for dinner.


Södermalm: Dinner

For dinner I already had a place in mind, which was near the apartment in Södermalm. Krogen Soldaten Svejk is an Eastern European Restaurant which offers hearty dishes at an affordable price. They have good reviews and we saw plenty of customers on arrival, which is aways a good sign.

I ordered Vepřová du chef Jurajda (roasted loin of pork with sauerkraut and dumplings). Marco ordered the Schnitzel Feldkurat Katz filled with ham and cheese, with fried potatoes. For Octavia we orderer the Cheese and Sausage Plate. The food was exactly what we were hoping for, it was well cooked, hearty and so delicious. The only disappointment was the Cheese and Sausage plate, since we didn’t know that it would be processed cold meat. However, we probably should of asked a few more questions. It was still good, but nice exactly a kids meal. Octavia didn’t mind tucking in to our dishes anyway and we had an extra side dish.

To finish the night off we head to a local grocery store and bought some Swedish Icecreams. Their grocery stores full of interesting foods and plenty of dairy free and other healthy alternatives. You can probably guess which ones was mine.


Since this post has mainly been able food I will share with you some of the other places I would have loved to have tried. Unforunately this was our last full day in Stockholm, so I wasn’t able to try them this time.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you had or having an amazing time celebrating the end of 2018 and a new start to new year. I am actually really excited about the upcoming year. So many exciting things are going to happen and so many possibilities.

I don’t intend starting the new year with any resolutions. But this year is hopefully going to be fresh start for my health. Once I am feeling 100% I intend to grow my family by one more, followed by my dream Disney wedding in Hawaii. So there is lots to look forward to and prepare for.

This year for this blog I’m hoping to continue to write about travel and colouring. I will also focus more on food and tell you about my new found passion for genealogy.

Before I completely move into the new year, I thought I would take a look back over the last year.


Live

So this year I did quite a bit of spontaneous travel. We visited Singapore and Nordic Europe. I am still in the process of writing about my trip through Sweden and Finland. We saw so muchand I have been a bit lazy in getting it all written up. If you planning I trip to either of these place do check out my posts to see some of the amazing places that you can visit and eat.


Eat

I didn’t post that many recipes this year, but these are the ones that made it onto the blog. As you can see its mostly pasta, since thats a big part of our diet. You can find all these recipes and more in my Recipe Index. Probably my favourite recipes for this year were the:


Colour

Adult colouring still remains a big part of my life. I find it to be a great creative outlet and I don’t see myself giving it up any time soon. I know its not trending so much for regular folks, but the colouring community is still alive and well. This year I review quite a few book reviews, including:

I also did a few of themed colouring projects:

Here are a few of my favourites from this year:

All the best for your new year and I look forward to bring you more travel adventures, delicious eats and colouring inspriation this year!

Book Review: Menuet de bonheur

Before I finish out the year I wanted to bring you my last colouring book review of the year. I have been working on this book for a little while towards the end of the year and its was one of my goals of 2018 to do a review for this beautiful book.

Menuet de bonheur (Minute of Happiness) is a Japanese colouring book by Japanese artist Kanoko Egusa. I originally bought this book sometime last year from Amazon Japan, as it was hard to get hold at the time. It was quite pricey, but I couldn’t help myself since it artwork is just spectucular and its become one of my most prized book.

The artist, Kanoko Egusa is from Sendai-shi, Miyagi prefecture (3 hours north of Tokyo). She studied design and drawing at university and became a freelance graphic designer and later an illustrator. A few years ago she was asked to create a coloring book, which lead to the release of both Menuet de bonhear and Rhapsody in the Forest in 2016. Both of these books have become very popular within the colouring community for Kanoko’s unique style and her adorable of animal illustrations. These two books have also been published in Dutch editions, however the Japanese edition is not too hard to get hold off. This year Kanoko was also featured in Colouring Heaven Magazine for the issue Secret World of Animals Special and she also published Waltzes for the Seasons Colouring Post card Book. I haven’t heard if she will be bring out another colouring book, but I’m sure it would make many of us very happy. 

This Japanese book has a soft cover, with a lite dusky pink removable dust cover, which is decorated in a collage of beautiful animal images found inside the book. It has 92 pages which are printed on both sides. The paper is white, medium quality. It is not very thick, however watercolour pencil can be used with care. The texture of the paper does take some getting use to as it is not smooth like other books.

The illustrations include cute domestic and woodland animals in both natural and human-like scenes. There is quite a bit of variety in terms of theme and style of the images. There are scenes in the home, the city, the forest, garden, mandalas and collages and there are also 18 double page spreads. There are a few themes in the book, which include the birth, market place, countryside, in the garden, summer holidays, halloween, christmas, Parisian culture, Japanese culture and marriage. Another additional extra at the back of the book are two postcards and five memory card/oraments that you can colour, which is printed on light brown paper.

I adore this book and I highly recommend it if you love colouring true to life woodland creatures in more domestic settings. My only issue with this book is the paper, but after colouring a bit in it I have gotten use to the texture.


Below are the images I have coloured in this book so far. I have included my most recently pictures as well as the others I coloured for last years for Christmas and Halloween colouring.  I have also made a video flip through, which features all the completed pictures.


This first picture is the one that brought me back to Bonheur de Menuet. I always like to colour the title page of a book, so I have something to see when I first open it. It also takes away some of the inital fear when I first go to start a new book. Since I already started this book last  year I was eager to get to this page first. 

I used Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils for this page. This pencils work well on this paper and don’t need to much layering to get a good result. I really had a nice time colouring this page and bring each element to life. Since wanted this picture to flow I coloured the fruit and animals first since I knew what colours to use. Then I coloured the rest of the elements with colours that would contrast eachother. I also tried to reuse as many of these colours to be more harmonious. I find this technique works best for me as I’m not a great planner of colour schemes. 


The next page I coloured was this adorable bunny fashionista. I switched to Prismacolor Premier pencils, which I hadn’t used in this book since Halloween. I really didn’t like how these pencils previously worked on this paper. However, I am more experienced now and have learned to colour with many light layers. So this time around I really enjoyed using Prismacolor and continued to do so as you will see below. This is another picture which I didn’t know which colours to use. So I started with the each item of clothing and slowly used contrastly colours for each to complement the last. I decided to colour the bunny with grey blue fur like adorble little guy


This next picture I did for my daughter, who is obsessed with ginger cats. I enjoyed colouring this page the most, but it probably took the most time. I modelled the background on this farmyard picture. It took me a while to find the right picture to inspire my background and the rest was easy from there. The grass however took forever. I tried not to rush it to give as much depth as possible. The stars of the page, the kitties, I left until last and although they are a tiny part they are definetly the most important and gorgeous part of the picture. I had again used Prismacolour which work like a dream on this paper and was great for layer and blending. 


This last picture is probably my least favourite of the bunch. I had high hopes for this page of goats but it just didn’t come together like I imagined. It was a bit diffcult to make all the elements cohesive and the background is a bit vanilla. So I was really happy when this page was done. Besides Prismacolor, I also used a white Posca for the fur and details. 


These last pages were done for Christmas and Halloween projects last year. The very first picture I coloured in this book was this Halloween picture. I used Prismacolor pencils and it was ok for the small details but the sky was a disaster. I really didn’t like the way the pencil had layed down on the paper, but in hindsight I was probably pressing too hard.

The next page is a very special one for me, since it was acutally my first page that made it as a daily banner for the Facebook colouring group that I am a member of. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos, a white Prismacolor Premier pencil for blending and a white gel pen for details. This page taught me about that mistletoe was white and holly was red, since I thought it was the other way around. I also found out after extensive searching that these are chipmunks, which we don’t have in Australia. I really liked using Polychromos pencils on this paper, but I tried to be careful since these pencils are quite hard and the paper is quite thin. I also coloured the adjacent page with Prismacolor and quite a bit of gel pen. I am quite happy with both.

This book can be purchased from:

Book Review: Johanna’s Christmas

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and/or happy holiday time with your family and friends. I also like to wish you a Happy New Year over the next day or so, depending where you are. Today I have finally have for you my review and finished pages from Johanna’s Christmas. This is the only other book that I worked in over the past month.

Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book is a Christmas themed colouring book by the great Johanna Basford. It was published back in October 2016 and its been quite popular during the last two holiday seasons. I wasn’t sure about buying it last year. However, a few months ago I found it for a really good price, so I though why not add another one of Johanna’s books to my collection and have plenty of beautiful pages to colour during the holiday season.

Johanna’s Christmas is a similar format to Johanna Basford’s other books, but it doesn’t have removable dust cover. Instead it has a soft cover with a french flap, The front and back covers are decorated with a collage of Christmas inspired drawings and has gold foil detailing on the front cover. Inside there are 80 pages, which are perforated for easy removal. The paper has a nice, soft texture, ivory in colour and is thick like Johanna’s other books. Although there are 80 pages, there are only 37 pages of illustrations, which doesn’t include the title page, name plate page or colour palette tester page. On the back side of the pages there is a pattern that has been printed in grey ink. Through out the book there are three different patterns on the back side of the pages. You could colour them, but they are more decorative or allow you to feel more free to use different mediums with ease. I know some people feel that they are getting less for their money, however it really didn’t bother me. I liked having the freedom to use wet media, which I normally don’t in Johanna’s books because I am paranoid of bleed through. I also liked that I didn’t have to worry about colour transfer onto the other page, however there are quite a few double pages spreads. I am careful to place a piece of paper on those pages to protect the facing image, even when storing the books. Just note the I have UK edition, so if you would like to see a comparison to the US edition, see this great article by Colouring in the Midst of Madness.

The images in this book undeniably Christmas inspired, however there is plenty of variety and all have Johanna’s signature style. There are drawings with wreaths, mandalas, round and full page collages, full page scenes and images with large blank backgrounds. There are plenty of Christmas trees, baubles, winter animals, presents and much more.

All in all, I am very happy that I bought this book for Christmas colouring. I love the format of the book, that gave me the freedom to experiment, I love the variety of pictures, which included many cute animals and cosy scenes. The paper is just fantastic and takes pencil and watercolour like a dream. My only criticism is the the black french flap, attached to the cover is in black, which has left black marks on both the front title page and back colour palette test page. Although this can be erased it will be constantly rubbing and I will have to protect it with paper for storage.


Below I have included a video flip through of Johanna’s Christmas and photographs of seven pages that I have coloured from the book. They are listed in order as they appear in the book, rather then when I coloured them.




The Christmas polar bear is one of the first pages I coloured for the holiday season. I have seen this page done in a variety of ways, but I wanted mine to be more unique, so I created a background, which was inspired by the northern lights and forests in Scandinavia.

I first roughly drew in the tree line and tried to mirror it the best I could for the lake. I then added in the skyline, which was also mirrored on the water. This took quite a while, but on this paper my Prismacolor pencils blended quite well. Next I coloured the polar bear and ice and added white gel pen for the fur and to go over the black ink lines. Lastly, coloured the water line, scarf and presents. I tried to reuse the same colours from the background, with an additional pop of limestone green and yellow orange. I also did some extra detailing for the stars and presents with white gel pen. This pages didn’t turn out perfect but I am happy with the pastel colours and the concept.


The Gingerbread houses is a double page spread, which I coloured last in this book. I didn’t take this one too seriously, I just wanted to do something fun and pretty.

Since there was so much to colour, I put a base of layer of Inktense pencil activated with water. I found that this worked really well with another one of the pages I coloured below and it really sped up the colouring time. Since I had to go all the way to the edges of the page, the paper did buckle a little, but over the next couple of days it did flatten out, by having the book closed. The texture of the paper was affected in anyway, so its was lovely to colour over the top with Prismacolor pencils. I quite liked how the pencil was quite chalky over the top and helped soften the black ink lines. In saying that I did still go over all the black lines with a white gel pen. I was nearly able to finish it however I did have to use a bit of white Posca pen when my gel pen ran out. This was not idea, since its just absorbs into the paper, but it was only a small section.

For the sky, I had originally just coloured it with darker pink Inktense pencil and light pink Faber-Castell Albrecht pencil. It was a little flat though, so I tried to draw in some clouds with different shades of pencil. I did end up outlining them with white gel pen and going over the sky again with pink Prismacolor, just to give a point of difference. Its not perfect but its better then having no sky and it was quite easy to do.


The Rocking horse was the first page that I had used Inktense as a base and Prismacolor pencils over the top. I found this technique really sped up the colouring time and gave a richer colour. It also softened the black lines and the pencils gave a lovely soft finish. The only thing that I am not happy with and was a learn curve was the green circle background. I originally went in with a dark green and white Inktense pencils. After activating it with water the texture looked horrible. When I tried to go over the top with light green pencils, it just looked very scratchy. I think the problem was the white Inktense pencil. Overall then the paper took the water quite well, since I didn’t have to colour to the end of the paper. So I have mixed feelings about this one.


The next double page spread is my least favourite of the bunch and was more of an experiment with Mungyo Pastels. I am a bit nervous to use pastels, since when I have used them over pencil they kinda washed out the pencil vibrancy. I know you can use a colourless blender to protect the pencil but it seems I still worry doing a rich layer of pastel. So I thought for these pages I would do a really rich layer of pastels and then go in over the top with pencil. The only thing I didn’t count on was that I was not able to erase the pastel as well as I hoped. So it was a little hard to cover the drawings with pencil and it took on some of the background colour, hence why my gold is so orange. I don’t think I would do this again but it at least now I know.

The last picture is my favourite and is the first picture I did for the Christmas season. I took quite a while filling in the background before colouring the rest of the picture. I don’t normally do this but it was well worth it because when the other colours did smudge on the background I was able to erase it. Although it looked like quite a simple design it quite a detailed picture and it took me a while, but I just love it.


I hope you like the last of my Christmas colouring for this season. If you are curious about this book and see it for a good price I really recommend buying and putting it away for next year. I think it will still be popular next year like all of Johanna’s books and it’s just a beautiful quality colouring book. At the moment, the prices are quite low but also look out price drops prior to the next Christmas season.


This book can be purchased from:

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Some of you may be celebrating Christmas or Christmas Eve today. In Australia it’s Christmas Day, so I will be spending the day with family.

During this past month I haven’t been able to post anything on this blog, do Christmas shopping and prepare for today, as I have been very unwell. After initially getting a virus, I recovered, then my daughter got it and she recovered. However, then I got a mutated version which lead to a viral and bacterial infection. So I have been bedridden most of this week. However, today I am feeling well enough to be around people and enjoy one of my favourite days of the year.

Christmas Presents

Unfortunately for my family they won’t be getting any presents from me today. I normally start doing my Christmas shopping in November but I was a bit late to start this year and then I wasn’t able to do any. I guess I’m also not feeling as materialistic this year. In saying that Santa and Marco did leave me some presents. I got a these gorgeous two dresses from Baby Lemonade. The cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat. I am so excited about this book after watching her series, Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix. As for colouring books I finally got Johanna Basford’s new book World of Flowers and Emelie Lidehall Oberg’s Fairy Tales Colouring Book. I am a big fan of both these ladies work, so I knew eventually they would be joining my collection.

Christmas Colouring

Over this past month I planned to do as much Christmas colouring as I could. I didn’t do as much as I would like to since I wasn’t feeling up it, but I did about nine pages in a few books. Today I will just share a couple page, since the rest are from Johanna’s Christmas. I will do a book review and flip through, to showcase that book in the next few days.

The very first picture I did for Christmas colouring this year is from one of my recent books that I had yet to start. This Christmas Angel is from
Creative Haven Beautiful Angels Coloring Book, by Marjorie Sarnat. I coloured her with Prismacolour and used white gel pen for some of the details and cover some of the black lines. The paper in this book is quite good, but it was a little challenging to blend too much with Prismacolor. I also find most of the pictures are quite busy, so I tried to just reuse the same colors. I am not too sure about the flowers and the pink, but I prefered not to use red. Overall I’m quite happy because the original sketch is quite flat so I think I bought a little dimension to it.

The next picture is from ESCAPE Collage Art by Marty Nobles. This is my second picture in this book and the perfect Christmas image. The paper in this book is a little different. It is thick but its closer to a old children’s colouring book. I do find that soft Prismacolor pencils work well, which is what I used. I just found it challenging when layering for animal fur. It took me a while to do this one as well, as I wanted the right colors that would be harmonious and more old fashioned rather then bright and modern. My background is a bit strange, but I had to give it a little texture. The snow dots where actually already drawn in the picture, so I just used a white gell pen to bring them out. I don’t mind this picture so much now its done. What I reallly like about this book is that you can focus on different sections, which don’t take too long to complete.

Marco’s Birthday Feast

The last thing that I will share with you today was Marco’s birthday dinner, which was a week before Christmas. If you remember last year I made him the Feast of Seven Kingdoms. Well I didn’t go that overboard this year. Octavia had just gotten better and I was on day one of my second bout of illness. I took a couple of short cuts, but I tried to make everything from scatch. We didn’t have a huge amount of guest, so there was plenty for food for that night a couple days of leftover.

So when they arrived to served this platter, which included Proscuitto di Parma, Organic Nitrate Free Legham, gerkins and Rice Croquettes. These croquettes are my Nonna’s specality, which she makes at every family event. I finally tried my hand at making them. I also made a couple gluten free for my nephew. According to Marco mine were really good, but not as good as Nonna’s since she fries hers a bit longer.

For the dinner I served homemade Papardelle with a Traditional Bolgnese sauce. I used this recipe from Food Nouveau and it was pretty good. The traditional ragu uses butter and milk, white wine and much less tomatoes. I cooked it for three hours and it was just so full of flavour. I think the secret is really pushing the meat to carmelise. Since I’m not in the habit of using milk I did use lactose free, hoping that it wouldn’t affect anyones allergies. I also made homemade Gnocchi with pesto and topped with Pecorino Romano. I normally make my own pesto but I used a good quality organic brand to save time. I also made Baked Tuna Canneloni, which had Fontina cheese in the bechemel and filling. Everyone was surprised to really enjoy this one. I also made a green salad and sauted kale with raisens (forgot the pine nuts). For bread, since Serbian’s need their bread I made Focaccia. My sister and brother in-law actually have their own Pizza restaurant, so I was able to use their dough to save time. I added lots of EVO to the dough and a salt brine and let is rise a couple of times. I should have probably split the dough in two, so that it would be more crispy and not as high. Nobody cared, they actually really liked it and there was really not much left at the end of the night.

Lastly for the birthday cake, I purchased this as an impulse buy from a the French bakery, Jocelyn’s Provisions. It was a small Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Small Round, topped with white cholate ganache and sprinkled with
candied violets.  It was extremely rich, but really delicious.

If you made it this far down let me know what you did for Christmas? Any special art projects, cooking or eating endeavours?

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.

 

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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”