03. January 2009 · Comments Off on Busy new year · Categories: Home · Tags: , ,

I hope everyone had a fun new year – we roasted a chicken and watched “Dark Knight”, then stood on the deck and looked at everyone else’s fireworks. Swedes don’t have a Guy Fawkes type event during the year, so new year’s eve is their big chance to play with fireworks, and they really go for it. It seemed like every house around us was setting off rockets, and a few were coming from the beach and further away. Across the water we could see a line of fireworks marking the other side of the fjord. The sky was lighting up all around us – I’m pretty sure I have never seen so many fireworks all going off at once!

We’ve been hard at work preparing the baby room at home. The wallpaper was in pretty bad shape in some places, so we patched it up here and there before painting. We’ve done two coats of paint, and one more should finish it off. Today we also ripped up the old carpet and bought some ridiculously cheap laminate flooring from Ikea. We were thinking of just putting down cheap vinyl, but the laminate was SO much cheaper that we decided we’d use it. It’s only 35 kronor per square metre – that’s just over £3 for you English folk, or about $7.50 in NZ dollars. It’s not too handsome – you get what you pay for – but we are planning to do major building work in 2-3 years time so it will do the job rather well until then.

We also attempted to buy a changing table/cabinet thingo while at Ikea, but it was out of stock. We did get a changing mat and fleece blanket though, and I was allowed to buy some fabric from one of the sale bins – I love Ikea fabric!

The big achievements of the day were that we managed to order a sofa (although we can expect to wait up to 10 weeks for it!) and we managed to get mobile phones. It was a real struggle to get phones, and we ended up having to get L’s mum to order them for us as she is already a customer and we are lowly new residents with no credit history. But apparently in 6 months we will be responsible enough to be the masters of our own telephones.

28. December 2008 · Comments Off on Sleepy hands · Categories: Anneli · Tags: , , ,

New pregnancy symptom: carpal tunnel syndrome. Yes, the plague of computer users has struck me down at last. I’ve been a software engineer for 11 years, and spent 4 years learning to be one, so I’ve basically been in front of a computer for the last 15 years with no wrist problems to speak of – and now pregnancy-related tissue swelling is squeezing up nerves and causing my hands to take random naps.

It is worst at night (very annoying when my hands can sleep but I can’t) but they also start to tingle when I do almost anything that involves gripping anything – holding a knife, lifting a heavy kettle or bottle, knitting (oh no!), and a little when typing. During the day, a quick shake of the hands will usually relieve it, but in the nights I need to flap my hands around and change arm positions till I find a way to wake them up.

We had a quiet Christmas day in the house – we had planned to go up to Gothenburg but I was headachey and tired so we stayed in. We started painting in the second bedroom and then I had an afternoon nap while Linus pottered. On boxing day we hit the big sales and bought a TV and some new LCD monitors to use when working. We also looked at a few million sofas, but haven’t made a final decision on that yet. That evening we went for a delicious turkey dinner at L’s aunt & uncle’s.

Yesterday we ordered ourselves a baby buggy & car seat, and I’m somewhat relieved to have done that now. It’s a Britax travel system, where the car seat can snap into the buggy frame. It also comes with a flat bed and another seat, so apart from needing a bigger car seat at about 1 year you can continue using the system up till about age 4. We’re planning to use the flat bed as the baby’s first bed inside as well.

In the evening we had L’s cousins over for dinner, and they helped out with a whole lot of lifting and carrying and organising and painting. The second bedroom is now painted white (including the random black wall sections added by the teenage goth who lived in it before) and since our bedroom is quite small we will basically use that room as a giant wardrobe. Next chore is to clear out the third (smallest) bedroom so we can put a baby changing table and some storage in there. The baby will initially sleep in our room, but when it moves into a cot that room will be the nursery. However it is currently full of boxes of junk and it needs painting and has some old and dusty carpet that we probably want to replace.

05. October 2008 · Comments Off on house – before and after · Categories: Home · Tags: , , ,

A full set of “before and after” photos of the flat are online now, here

And here is a picture of the belly last week, at 20 weeks:

This morning Squirt was kicking hard enough that we could actually see my tummy moving from the outside. We have the inaccurately named “20 week scan” this Thursday (at approx 22 weeks) and if Squirt is cooperative then we should be able to find out whether we should call it a he or a she.

20. September 2008 · Comments Off on Amazing lounge transformation · Categories: Home · Tags: , , ,

Today we got our new sofa and chair, and the lounge is complete! Here is a before photo, and a couple of after photos – the rest of the pictures are here

Before:

After:

It doesn’t seem a fair comparison when the “before” photos were taken just after the chaos of moving in, but I don’t have any other old pictures to compare with.

The flooring is strand-woven bamboo, which is both environmentally friendly and extremely hard wearing. The walls are a lighty mushroomy-beige colour, that doesn’t really show up accurately in the pictures. Overall we’re very pleased with how it all turned out!

12. August 2008 · Comments Off on garden update · Categories: Gardening · Tags: ,

Here’s some of the wildlife seen in our teeny garden recently:

And here’s the progress happening on the grape vine:
And, happily, the rose that we moved some months ago has survived its ordeal and is flowering!
17. May 2008 · Comments Off on The amazing garden transformation · Categories: Gardening · Tags: ,

Following on from the amazing spare room transformation, we bring you the amazing garden transformation. Ta-daaaah!

The fine weather over the last couple of weeks inspired us to get out there and clean things up. We pulled out a lot of plants that we didn’t like much and didn’t want to maintain. We also tried to move a rose which appears to have killed it. But it seemed to have an aphid infestation anyway, and I am not too upset about losing it.

I still need to find some “before” pictures for a comparison, meanwhile all the “after” hotos are here.

PS: Hi Ulla! 🙂

06. May 2008 · Comments Off on The amazing spare room transformation · Categories: Home · Tags: ,

At last I have a full set of photos of our DIY makeover on the spare room. We did everything – stripped the wallpaper, filled and sanded and painted the walls, took down the door & repainted it, painted the skirting boards, painted the radiator and the heating pipes, replaced the door handle and light switch and power points and pipe holders, added a new doorstop, and laid the carpet.

A full set of pictures is here.

Here’s a before picture:

And here’s an after:

02. January 2008 · Comments Off on wow – what a year · Categories: Photography, Travel · Tags: , ,

yes, it’s time for the obligatory let’s-look-back-at-2007 post. what an amazing year! it feels like the first half passed in a frenzy of wedding organisation, but we did still manage to take some trips away, including a memorable easter in marrakech and yet another weekend in paris. i also took a fantastic girly weekend away in february, escaping to budapest with theresa, toni & tracey. we also visited knutsford several times in the first half of the year, to take advantage of the never-ending hospitality of aunty angela & uncle paul while i had my dress fittings with their neighbour.

the wedding week fairly flew by, and we enjoyed every minute of it. it was great to have so many people join us in sweden, and to be able to spend some extra time with those who stayed on a bit longer. we had a month back in london before heading over to NZ and having our second wedding reception, which was another great day. i caught up with old friends who i hadn’t seen for many years, and it was great to introduce Linus to everyone and to show him a tiny bit of my home town. from there we long-hauled it to the maldives for two weeks of blissful honeymoon.

since the wedding & honeymoon we’ve been mostly housebound, and starting to make improvements to the flat. we’ve replaced all the windows & doors with brand new double glazed ones, much more secure and much less breezy! the next step is to get some paint on the walls and some new flooring.

2007 was an interesting year for my career. in march i wrapped up my job at that big investment bank i was working for and headed for a new job at lastminute.com. as i threw out piles of “business casual” clothes i told myself i was leaving that industry behind forever and i fully embraced the jeans & sneakers environment again. it didn’t turn out to be all that i hoped for though, and i decided to make another move after just 3 months. i did a couple of weeks work for my old company – artists first – before heading away on honeymoon, and then started contract hunting when we returned. and lo and behold, i ended up buying a whole new business casual wardrobe! yes, i’m now back in the world of banking, but it’s a whole different world when compared to the last one. plus, as a contractor you don’t have to care about shmeltzing yourself into the “company culture” and don’t have to sweat about whether you’re doing enough networking to earn yourself a bonus. and i get paid more too. why wasn’t i doing this before?!

of course, the year wasn’t all sunshine and roses. you win some and you lose some, and we lost some very special people in 2007. early in the year Linus’s friend Rob was killed in a motorcycle accident, and not too long afterwards we were travelling to Sweden for the funeral of Agda, mother to Linus’s Dad’s wife Ulla. i had met Rob only a few times, and never met Agda (though i really wish i had – she was a knitting legend!), but it was obvious that they were both really special people and were well loved by many.

most painful for me was the death of my nana, just before we were due to come to NZ for our wedding party. she was a cunning old bird though, and let go just in time to allow us to attend the funeral, without having to see her in the sadly bed-ridden state she was in at the end – i do believe that she quite deliberately chose her time. i miss her terribly though. the world was a richer place for having had these three individuals in it, and we’ll never forget them.

sadly for nana, she missed out on one of the happiest occasions of the year – the arrival of her first great-grandchild, my nephew luke. he’s the cutest baby of all time – although i may want to retract that statement when i have one of my own!

and now it’s 2008 and there is much to look forward to. in february/march we’ll be back in NZ for a while, to catch up with the family and to be at the wedding of my very very dear friend paula. in june we will be taking possession of a little house in sweden by the sea, and there’s every possibility we’ll be moving into it before the end of the year.

so here’s to a new and exciting year, bringing more good changes and hopefully something great for everybody.

happy new year!

11. June 2007 · Comments Off on i keep thinking of things i should blog · Categories: Uncategorised · Tags: ,

and then i forget what they were.

last week linus & i went to the 13th london girl geek dinner, held at google. the food (from the google cafeteria) was damn fine – if that’s really what the staff get to eat (google is somewhat famous for it’s “free breakfast and lunch” policy) then i can see how fully they deserved winning that whole best place to work thing. the speakers were good as well although i would’ve liked to hear some more technical detail from the google girls. i also managed to meet candace, who i’ve known (in the virtual sense) for something like 8 or 9 year, but had never met IRL before, despite her having lived in london for about 4 years now.

the weekend was super sunny and delicious and we managed to stain the deck, and it looks bloody good, if i may say so myself. there was quite a lot of swearing and frustration involved with the staining device. the stain itself – ronseal “perfect finish” decking stain – seems to be a good product, but the long-handled fluffy-padded application device they provide with it is complete crap. firstly, it’s obviously designed for hobbits and anyone over 5 feet tall cannot use it. secondly, the spongy furry pad at the end of the too-short handle is completely hopeless at getting the stain into the grooves of the decking planks. which is odd, because getting the stain into the grooves of the decking planks is exactly what the marketing fluff claims it is good at. marketing people making things up? what has the world come to? anyway we finished applying the second coat with brushes, on our knees. if anyone out there is considering this stuff, save yourself a second trip to homebase and get a big wide bristly paintbrush while you’re there. you will end up needing it.

we also finally mowed the lawn, and i planted out my tomato plant, and we harvested and ate the first two strawberries from the strawberry patch.