New Year, New Me…Or Not!

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If you are anything like me,a New Years resolution is another word for failure, unfulfilled promises and disappointment. This does not have to be the way.

I was recently inspired by my cousin. He had a bucket list which was not at all short and included tasks such as ‘give blood’ and ‘be on TV’. The list goes on. There are some goals like ‘be on TV’ that are relatively challenging when you are not a celebrity, yet he managed it.

Benji, my cousin, is currently my prime source of inspiration for achieving targets. Once he has put his mind to something, he engineers that dream into a reality.

For example, more recently, he took me to join him at boxing training with Bobbi Jo at Metro Fitness in Stockport. He said “I want a fight”. Bobbi Joe, the knowledgeable coach said that he wasn’t ready to fight and needed a lot more training. Benji, being the stubborn young man he is, managed to find a fight anyway.

I wouldn’t advise throwing yourself into a boxing match unprepared. However, I would take some guidance from Benji’s philosophy – No matter how much people may laugh, or even dismiss your goals, do not let them deter you from your path. You may not be the best at your desired task, however you can turn a thought into reality. Don’t be afraid to dream big, because chances are, you have the ability.

This year when you set your New Years resolution big or small, side-step the trend of talking the talk and actually make it happen, because the world really is your oyster.

Happy New Year x

 

Christmas in Bergen

IMG_1863.jpgHaving spent crucial developmental years aged 9-12 in Norway, the land of months of darkness and then in the summer, the midnight sun up north. Visiting my childhood town of Bergen, a city notorious for rain, was a much needed  homecoming.

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Our first day was spent in pepperkake byen. Bergen boasts the largest town made out of gingerbread, there is debate about whether they are deserving of the title, as certain props in the town aren’t edible. Even so, it’s still huge. The smell when you walk into the room is fantastic. Each of the structures has its own, unique touch. There is everything from gingerbread football stadiums to churches.

IMG_1678.JPGOn the day of gifts, the meal we eat is called pinnekjøtt, directly translated to ‘stick meat’. Dried, salted lamb ribs, steamed for hours on a low heat over freshly chopped birch tree branches. The salty, tender meat, is a beautiful annual tradition. Accompanied by mashed suede and boiled potatoes. Heavenly. Then for dessert. Is a porridge comparable in flavour and texture to rice pudding. However, The porridge is cooled And whipped with whipping cream, to create a cool fluffy bowl of happiness we call Riskrem, or in English ‘Rice cream’. Pouring an undiluted berry cordial over the dish to add more sweetness and voilà, you now have a masterpiece.

This all begins at 6pm, which means that the poor, excited children don’t get to open their presents until further into the evening.

IMG_1770.jpgThe day after we spent the day in Hundvin in a home far into the countryside at the farm of Solveig and her delightful family. We ate freshly fished cod with boiled potatoes and carrots. There was a fried bacon and onion sauce to pour on the potatoes. And a pinnekjøtt meat sauce to pour over the cod. After a few days of over eating, the fresh, organic meal provided by Solveig and Rolf was much needed.

A message to my 8 year old self.

 

12109179_407366896141324_1180049102406316227_n.jpgGiorgia, my little sister turned 8 a few days ago and she reminds me a lot of myself at that age.

Don’t be disheartened by the the differences your friends point out about you. Being the only mixed raced person on my dad’s side of the family, I often remember my cousins saying “your hair is so puffy”. Even though they were just stating a fact, to me it felt like there was something wrong. As an 8 year old my differences caused me to want to desperately fit in. I remember I once went to the extreme of putting vanilla yoghurt in my hair so that I could have golden, shiny hair like them.

Looking back. Children just state the obvious. Yes, I may have had big hair. Now that we’re all older, I realise that they actually like my hair. You don’t have to be the same as everyone else to be loved. You just need to be yourself.

This is a lesson that can be taken all the way from birth to adulthood.

A few years later at the age of 14, this time with the cousins on my mum’s side. One of them said to me “Imani you are not ghetto enough to be in this family”. This time instead of putting yoghurt in my hair in an attempt to be the same, I realised that’s why they like me. We are now all a lot older than when we first started playing together. We have changed and grown, some of us have jobs, university or children. Yet we still have cousin sleepovers. We all have our little thing that makes us like each other more.

Perhaps the most difficult thing that someone has said to me is that I was “old” or “boring”. This was at the age of 18. It hit me hard, someone I respect was saying I had changed and it wasn’t for the best. I had reached a cross road. Was I to attempt to be another person’s version of ‘fun’, or was I to stand my ground and be ‘boring’?

I decided that changing my personality for the benefit of others is not at all constructive. I was in a good place. The year before had been a disaster. My AS levels were shameful, at 18 I was finally getting on top of my studies. Change is not bad, just make sure that you’re reasons for change aren’t to your detriment. If this results in a person not wanting to associate with you anymore, maybe it’s for the best.

Also a big shout out to the Modahl/Edwards/Leiva family and Frid, who is the big sister I never had. I’m lucky to have a family that are also my friends.

Also I think it’s worth noting that, me not changing for other people didn’t ruin any relationships. It just created an understanding of the person I was becoming. Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to adapt.

Love you all x

Happy Birthday to Buster

 

Buster is 4 today. He likes to sleep (a lot), play with his toys and eat treats.

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It is a little bit silly to celebrate the birthday of a dog. For him it is just another day. Despite Buster the Chihuahua’s genetical flaws, he barks a lot, he is such a good dog. No matter how many mistakes I have made whilst attempting to look after him, he always wants to play with me, I really appreciate that.

So every year, we try to make his day extra special. Because his birthday is in December, it usually coincides with the Betty and Butch Santa Paws event, which is a pretty cool santa’s grotto for dogs. Again, it sounds silly. The money raised goes to charity and the dogs go home with a toy – so it’s actually pretty cool.

We went to the event this year and treated him to a yellow raincoat (pictured) and he also got lots of treats in his goody bag from Santa.


The second big event on Buster’s special day is baking. As mentioned yesterday, he was born on the Swedish holiday of Santa Lucia. We used to celebrate this day in school in Norway, and we decided to continue celebrating in England – purely for gastronomic reasons. Part of the festivities are to bake ‘lusekatter’ they contain the distinguished saffron spice. This spice twinned with cardemom, creates a beautifully sweet flavour with a comforting yellow colour, to bring some warmth at winter time. Swirls of beautifully smelling rolls glazed to a golden colour and topped with raisins. One simply cannot resist. Unfortunately this year, as a result of a manic week, I didn’t have the opportunity to bake. There’s always next year.

Yes, I know I speak about my dog like he’s a human. You can tell that I need more real friends… Feel free to help me on that front.

Pre-Christmas day essentials

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Advent Calendar

Christmas hasn’t started until day one of the advent calendar. For as long as I can remember my mother, Diane, has always made me an advent calendar. It’s usually filled with sweet treats and I usually finish eating them by December 5th. Now that I have moved out, Thomas and I have filled ours with small novelty gifts – unfortunately we are avoiding sweets this year.

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DVDs and CDs

Once Christmas has been declared in the house, Michael Buble’s deluxe Christmas album is not far behind. I also find myself guilty of playing Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me video on repeat. Dreaming about the Christmas slumber party I never had. Then, of course we watch DVD’s. Tommi’s go to film is Home Alone. My movie is Shirley Temple’s 1937 rendition of Heidi, I used to have the box set of her films and watch them all in one sitting as a child.

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Everybody needs a chocolate santa…

Another tradition is chocolate santa. We love love love chocolate and Santa is a pretty dreamy guy too. So the two combined is perfection. The skinny santa in the photo is from Aldi and the chubby one is a gift all the way from Poland.

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Baubles

This will be my first year with my own christmas tree. My favourite baubles are the sparkle bambi, the glass heart – so delicate and the PIZZA – I love love love pizza! The baubles pictured are from Paperchase, David Gavin on Burton Road, Tesco, Ikea and Wroclaw Christmas Market.

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Buster’s Birthday

Buster is born on the same day as the Swedish holiday of Santa Lucia. So I usually make lussekatter which are saffron and cardemom buns for the humans, the house always smells delicious on this day. Buster gets treats, toys and a visit to the Santa Paws event at Betty and Butch.

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Christmas Attire with my best fwendz

Because it is fun.

 

 

48 Hours in Madrid

 

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The past few weeks have been very busy with university, training, coaching, waitressing and attempting to socialize. Somehow I was able to find 48 hours of freedom. I’m 20, I have no real responsibility, so I decided to do what I enjoy the most – broadening my horizons. Armed with a Ryanair ticket in one hand, a small bag in the other, I was ready to conquer Madrid.

One of the perks of being Norwegian, Spanish, English and Jamaican is that I have family everywhere.

Thursday

Greeted at the airport by my cousin Cris, we jumped straight onto the metro towards town. Nothing says ‘bienvenido a España’ more than tapas. Bocaito, rumoured to be one of the best tapas bars in Madrid certainly lived up to its expectations. Joined by Cris’ housemate Andrea, we indulged in Sangria, calamares, tortilla de patatas and croquetas con jamon. Spanish flavours combined with friendly staff, good music and great atmosphere. What a night.

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Friday

With such little time, one must make the most of the day. Running from Cris’ apartment to El Retiro Park. The sun was out and I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to absorb all of the beauty that surrounded me. Upon arrival, I was a little disappointed. Half finished features and sad looking bushes was all I saw. Undeterred, I continued to run deeper into the park. Finally, I found what I was looking for, delightful monuments and buildings, a saxophone playing in the distance; it was time for a break. Stretching and watching life go by, my stomach started to rumble.

The only plausible breakfast I could imagine was churros. Treating myself to a portion of churros con chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines, I was in heaven. They were divine. Unfortunately I couldn’t eat them all and had to leave what I had left.

After showering, I jumped on the metro back into town. The metro was incredibly affordable, with 10 trips for €12.20. I spent a large chunk of my day trawling through shops. The most impressive ones were situated on Calle Gran Via. The converted old buildings with grand staircases elevated mundane high street shops to the status of couture designer boutiques.

La Mistura, a stylish little ice cream bar situated in the heart of Madrid, takes the concept of ice cream to a different level. You get to pick your desired topping and flavour, the two are then fused together. I chose cookies an vanilla ice cream. It was like a more divine, freshly made Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough.

Before I knew it, it was evening. With a bird’s eye view of Madrid from the rooftop of the Circulo Bellas artes, the colours of the sunset made the night sky look like an ever-changing canvas. Accompanied by a chic rooftop bar, I would definitely recommend a visit.

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Saturday

Cris, Andrea and I decided to visit El Palacio Real. This was by far the highlight of my trip. The detail put into every room inside the palace was amazing. Each room had a theme and colour scheme, fitted with exquisite chandeliers and murals. In one room the walls and the ceiling were wholly covered with intricate porcelain décor. Everything was so impeccable, it makes you wonder what the main homes of our monarch’s are like.

Finishing my trip the way it started, we decided to get some food. Mercado de San Miguel was our choice this time, filled with various stalls, we took it as a personal challenge to eat as much as possible. Empanadillas, calamares, pizza and frozen yoghurt were my go to choices. Considering the hustle and bustle combined with the fast turnover of food, the quality was not compromised.

Home

There’s no place like home, but I would have liked an extra 24 hours in Madrid. Next stop Bergen, Norway.

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