Sunday, 27 January 2013

Let's do some reading 2013: The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller

This was a strange one. I feel like I could easily say that I really disliked this book but at the same time it had some really good aspects. I think that sums up the book quite well if I'm honest - I just don't know what to think. It was hovering so close to the brink of being a good read but it just came up short on too many occasions. I didn't know how I felt about any of the characters, I didn't know if I cared what happened and I still don't really know why I didn't give up on it. 

There were parts that I liked, Speller has a lovely way of recreating the world as it was left after the devastation of the first world war and I loved learning about things that I hadn't known had happened during the war, however I still feel like I don't quite know what the book was about.

First of all, something that is very important to me as a literature student is for a book to read fluently with no grammar/spelling or punctuation mistakes. When you're living with your characters in a world outside of your own, mistakes or difficulties in the text bring you violently back into the real world. Whilst there were no major errors, the use of ''he should of'' instead of ''should have'' got on my nerves increasingly throughout the novel. Although this was in speech, so could be put down to the accent of the character, it wasn't consistent, with ''of'' and ''have'' being used interchangeably.

Second of all, the way that some sentences were worded meant that I repeatedly had to re-read parts before understanding what they said. I know that in English our use of ''his'' is rather ambiguous, with ''he kissed his wife'' implying two very different scenarios for example, but the text just wasn't clear enough about certain things to the extent that I often wasn't sure who it was that was talking until something was said that linked back to the character. Additionally, although  I loved learning things about the war, there was a certain degree of assumption that the reader would be familiar with certain terminology or recall certain events, which were mentioned all too often with no explanation of what they meant or what significance they held.

Finally, I just didn't feel gripped by the story. I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I expected a huge twist, for the murder mystery to turn out not be a murder after all (explaining the 'return' part of the title), or for the least expected character to emerge as the villain. However, it was rather disappointing when the antagonist was finally revealed. It didn't come as a shock. Granted, it wasn't someone that I had suspected, but it was such a weak part of the story that I was happy to get to the end and didn't even bother to read the epilogue or afterword.

I think it was nicely written, but not feeling any connection to any of the characters held me back from really getting involved in the story. Having read a crime novel immediately after that had me turning pages in anticipation and excitement, I can now say quite confidently that this book was not my cup of tea in the slightest. 

the little nordic cabin

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Graze Boxes

Hey everyone, have you noticed the new ads on my blog? I'm very happy to say that I'm now advertising for a company that I really care about - Graze. I have been interested in nutrition since I was in school, but sadly couldn't study it at a higher level due to not having the required science qualifications, however I always dreamed about setting up a company that would encourage healthy eating with minimal effort involved. I believe that healthy eating goes far beyond dieting heavily in order to lose weight - it's about making healthier choices and picking foods that will actively improve your overall health, supplying your body with all the helpful nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy. Graze has done just that.

Have you guys heard of this? It's an amazing website where you can order little boxes of snacks to be delivered right to your door. It costs less than £4 per box and there is so much to choose from. All you do is select the items you'd like to try, bin ones you don't like the sound of, and then a box will arrive once a week with different heathy items for you to try. 

My box arrived this morning, with these yummy products. They taste really good and are teeny enough to fit in your handbag. 

Of course I just had to try the Scandinavian selection just for you guys ;) There were blueberries, lingonberries, cherry infused raisins and apple pieces. Very Nordic indeed!

Have you tried this? I highly recommend it. I probably won't be ordering a box every week since I'm a poor student, but I doubt I'll be able to resist treating myself every now and then!

I'm so excited to help Graze out in this way, and I hope you'll try it someday. Hint: you can get cake!

the little nordic cabin

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sunday Recipe - Condensed Milk Cake

Have you seen Dr Ola's blog? It's full of the most amazing recipes, including German biscuits and wonderful Egyptian traditional foods! I found this recipe for a condensed milk cake and decided to try it this afternoon. 

It was so delicious and super quick and easy to make. Dr Ola is one clever lady! 

All you need is 4 eggs, 150g plain flour, 400g condensed milk, 1/2tsp baking powder and 50g melted butter. You whisk them all together with an electric mixer until smooth, before pouring into a round cake tin and baking at 175c for up to 40 minutes. (mine only took 25 minutes) Easy peasy!

Once my cake had cooled, I dusted it with icing sugar and served with a dollop of lingonberry jam to add a little touch of Scandinavia! The flavours went perfectly together. I recommend serving the cake just like this, with a little glass of Bailey's or a cup of tea and a cozy episode of Call the Midwife!

the little nordic cabin


Friday, 18 January 2013

Hei! Hejsan! Hej! Góðan Daginn! Moi Moi! Góðan Dag! Unuunujoq!

If you are visiting from Vicki's 'Grow your Blog party' then welcome! You now know how to say hello in the following languages (in this order): Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Faroese and Greenlandic. I am in love with these countries and I like to share little glimpses of them here with my readers. 

My name is Nikki, it's nice to meet you :) I live in England and started this blog a couple of years ago. It used to be under the url "inspirenordic", but I changed it recently to '"thelittlenordiccabin" because I wanted to feel more free over what I could write about, whilst also keeping a strong focus on the Nordic region. 

I decided to write my blog because I wanted to share my passion with other people and because I love 'meeting' people from all over the world (one of the biggest, if not the biggest benefit of blogging, in my opinion :) I would be so very happy if I could inspire just one other person in the world to feel the same way as I do about this amazing region. To see the magic and the beauty in it and to fall in love with it just like I have. Maybe I've found you today :)

If you'd like to learn more, feel free to have a look at my posts from April 2012 as I wrote an A - Z on Scandinavia. You can also check out my 'interests' in my profile, where I have listed a variety of Nordic films, music and books that might inspire you. 

If you want to stay a while and snuggle at the little nordic cabin, you are more than welcome. I'll teach you to bake cinnamon buns and we'll talk about the northern lights :) I'm so pleased to welcome you into my little world.

the little nordic cabin

Twitter - @nordiccabin

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The "Grow your Blog" Party

Vicki from 2 bags full is having a party on the 19th January and everyone is invited! The idea is to "grow" our blogs by finding new blogs and 'meeting' new people. I think it's a fun idea, I already found this amazing giveaway through Vicki's blog as well as a couple of really great blogs that I'm excited to be following. 

Will you be joining me? Just click the link above to find out all the details, I think it's relatively straight-forward :)

the little nordic cabin

Friday, 11 January 2013

Cute Alert! (& giveaway)

I have always maintained that my favourite animal is the deer, especially the reindeer. However, I've discovered a new animal and I'm in love... 

...this is the fennec fox, the most adorable thing I've ever seen!

They have such soft looking fur...

...and such funny big ears :)

Oh hi! Come live with me now please!

Pictures lovingly taken from herehere & here - the links for the other two pictures were broken, please let me know if you know where they're from, I'd like to give credit for them.

PS: Click here for an amazing giveaway of such pretty, pretty jewelry. I found this blog through another site with a sign-up list for a blog party - more info on that to come - and was so excited when I saw the giveaway. Pop on over and have a look, I know several of you who will love it :)

the little nordic cabin

Happy weekend ^^*

Good morning my dears! I hope this beautiful cherry blossom tree brightens up these grey days for you. It's in Regent's Park, London. I love how it looks like candyfloss. If not, then I hope these fun links do the trick:

A note about friendship - I know that at first this seems kind of harsh, but it's kind of true. I've had problems with bad friendships, where people slowly but surely bring you down and zap away all of your positivity. It's sad to let go of friends, especially when you have a lot invested in the friendship, but if it's making you feel bad, perhaps it's best to just let go. What do you lot think about this? I'd be really interested to hear. 

Bra-time! - A super girly tutorial :)

A sleep calculator - I recommended this to my friend Dana but decided to share it here as well. I'm not sure if it works, but it might be a nice thing to try for all you sleepyheads out there.

Chimamanda Adichie's website - for those of you who watched the video I posted and would like to learn more.

and finally, a cheerful song to chase away those winter blues :)

the little nordic cabin

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Photo a Day Challenge 2013

This week has just flown by for me! It was last Friday that I fell ill, but today I'm feeling almost completely back to normal again :) Maybe even a teeny bit healthier now that I've got that horrid virus out of my system. Yuck.

I wasn't able to do much with the photo challenge, however I managed to catch up over the last couple of days. I took a photo for 'movement', which was on my most ill day. That one was just of my room, the same, unmoving area that I had been staring at from my sickbed all day. I think it's too boring to post! I'm also leaving out one from the other day called 'street'. Don't tell anybody, but I skipped this one entirely!

06/01/2013 - MINE - My sweet little Mackie
08/01/2013 - SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH 'T' - Some pretty Tealights that were a lovely 'get well soon' gift. They're rose-scented, which is my favourite :)
09/01/2013 - PAPER - My good friend Mirjam sent me a christmas card this year and when I opened it, this beautiful origami snowflake slipped out
10/01/2013 - ONE O'CLOCK - My little watch. Here's another secret, I'm not very good at roman numerals. Of course I'm ok with my watch (now..) but there was an awkward moment a few weeks ago in the library when I couldn't find anything due to the references for the books all being in roman numerals!

How are you getting on with the challenge, those of you that are taking part? I've got a busy weekend coming up, filled with essays and hopefully lots of blogging :) How about you guys?

the little nordic cabin

The Danger of a Single Story

I just wanted to share something with you quickly. I was sent this video the other day and honestly it blew me away. The lady has a wonderful way of speaking and as for the content, I just wish everyone could see this so that we stop the silly prejudices that so many people seem to have. 

I think I might be Chimamanda Adichie's biggest fan. I love the way she connects this all to literature. It really is such an important thing to think about, and a matter that is very close to my heart.

the little nordic cabin

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mean Girls vs Downton Abbey: The very greatest combination

 While I was.. well, not procrastinating because one of my New Year's resolutions is to not procrastinate so I definitely wasn't doing that... let's say while I was doing important not-related-to-anything-but-get-well-soon research just now, I found what might possibly be the best thing ever. 

I'm not even going to say anything. I'm just going to post these pictures and those of you who are obsessed with both Mean Girls and Downton Abbey (who isn't?!) will understand right away!

All credit goes to this amazing tumblr, which I strongly advise you visit.

the little nordic cabin

Friday, 4 January 2013

Photo a Day Challenge 2013 - 03/01 // View from Here

This is just a quick post because I'm poorly and semi-buried under textbooks right now, but I wanted to post today's photo as I'm quite determined to write a post every day for as long as I can! 

The prompt was 'view from here' so I went to this place where you can see out over Bournemouth to take it. I actually noticed that on the other side, beyond the little forest, you could make out the Isle of Wight in the distance, so that is what the grey shape on the horizon is :)

That's all for now I'm afraid. I'm going to go to bed and do some reading. My tonsils and glands in my throat are so sore and swollen. In fact, they're so swollen that I have a hint of the hamster-face about me. Gross. 

the little nordic cabin
(don't accept this kiss unless you don't have any tonsils)!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Photo a Day Challenge 2013 - 03/01 // Heart

Today's prompt was 'Heart'. I decided to take a picture to show you the beautiful earrings and necklace my little sister bought me for Christmas. They are white with pink roses and so sweet. You can also see the pink heart necklace that I got on my 21st birthday. 

I don't wear a lot of jewelry but I really love small, dainty pieces, usually featuring roses or pearls :)

How about you, what's your favourite piece of jewelry that you own? Is it something sentimental?

the little nordic cabin

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Adventures in Portsmouth

This morning we decided to go on a little roadtrip to Portsmouth. It's about an hour away from where I live and I'd never been there before. It was a really interesting place to visit, we got to see HMS Victory and visited the Mary Rose Museum which was full of Tudor artifacts from the sunken ship. My brother is obsessed with anything to do with history, so he adored it! The dress in the third picture is an original costume from the tv show The Tudors. It was the dress worn by Catherine Howard.

Before we went home, we found a cheap bookstore so we popped in and came out with 9 books between us!! That's a good start to my challenge! 
You can also see the bright pink coat I bought one gloomy day in December. It cheers me up when I wear bright colours!

the little nordic cabin

Photo a Day Challenge 2013 - 02 // Something New

This morning we took my little dog for a walk in the New Forest. There are always lots of semi-wild horses grazing in the hedges and, if you're lucky, they sometimes let you stroke and snuggle them. It seems that some of them have recently had babies since there are lots of fuzzy little foals wandering around at the moment. So adorable! 

So here is my 'Something New' - a brand new, New Forest baby ♡

the little nordic cabin

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Two zero one three

Happy New Year, my dear readers! Did you celebrate in style? I watched The Hunger Games with a lovely cold glass of Baileys and then listened to the fireworks from my bed. It was a cozy end to the year :)

Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? I love challenges, they keep me so motivated because I'm so competitive with myself. So here are mine:

+ Blog more - I'd love to spend more time here with you guys ♡
+ I've been a terrible penpal, I'd like to write more letters this year
+ Read 50 or more books - I'm going to sign up on Goodreads :) this one is a nice one because it means more reviews for you!
- Don't depend on others for my happiness
- No more procrastinating! / + Work hard!

And finally... 

+ Complete the 2013 Photo a Day Challenge:

The lovely Chantelle over at FatMumSlim has created this challenge and, I think, been running it for quite some time now. In fact, I think it was one of these challenges of hers that I took part in last May. I'd love to complete every single month this year. Please, please join me if you love taking photos too :)

I'll post my first picture right here. This morning my mum, little brother and I went for a walk along the beach. It was the first sunny day in ever such a long time! (You may have heard that England is sinking right now, there's been so much rain!) We had a lovely little walk up to the pier and watched while my sweet Macky chased after the seagulls! The prompt for this photo was 'Today':

Tell me about your New Year celebrations my lovelies. And let me know if you have any New Year's resolutions so I can cheer you on! Feel free to join me on any of mine, we can motivate each other!

One last thing... My computer is falling apart. Seriously. Websites don't load, my Word processor crashes every chance it gets, deleting my progress and my screen keeps going dark. So if I don't comment you, don't be sad. It will either be because my comment deleted while I was trying to post it, or because I've thrown my computer out of the window in a rage. 

the little nordic cabin