NORWAY JUNE 2018

On the 1st of June I made a flying weekend trip to Norway, making this my third visit there.

Once again even more in love with the country and this time, for a very special reason.

I went to meet my Goddaughter to-be.

My very good friends in Norway, who are wonderful enough to keep hosting my visits, had a little girl in January this year, and not long after, asked me if I would like to be her Godmother.

Thrilled and without a moment’s hesitation, I accepted graciously and knew I had to go and install all of my fairy- godmother-like traits on her immediately.

I certainly couldn’t wait until the Christening in August to meet her, so I jetted off from London as soon as I could.

She is, of course, an absolute delight and I have fallen in love with her and her glorious smile and cheeky chuckle very much.

I have been imagining all of the things I can teach her as she grows up, like baking and knitting and the English vocabulary.

I imagine all of the adventure we will go on – picnics and treasure hunts in the woods, trips away together and scenic walks around her home town.

All the play time we’ll have – dressing up and dancing in silly ways to happy music, dolls, painting, singing, cooking, reading, building, planting, talking…

It’s such a massive privilege and I feel very honored that friends would ask me to be Godmother.

I already feel so much love for her and I can’t wait to be part of her life.

During the times I wasn’t cuddling K and grinning at her in a dreamy-like state, I was doing my best to fit in as much as I could in the 4 days I was there for.

This included coffee and chats with E out on the decking, over-looking the mountains across the fjord and the woodland on their doorstep.

Going on short walks into the woods with K to send her to sleep, eating sushi, visiting waterfalls and eating delicious food.

It was far too short a stay, but I only have a limited amount of time allowed for holidays at work, and with the week I have coming up in Norway, and the two weeks I’m hoping to take in January to go for K’s 1st Birthday, that will then be all my holiday used up.

If I had it my way, I’d visit every month!

Or just live there.

NORWAY OCTOBER 2017

I’d been really unwell just before this trip to Norway.

My second visit, it was in Autumn and my best friend was expecting her first baby.

I was excited.

Naturally I’d caught a cold a few days before and I was rough as houses.

The day before I was due to leave, I was sent home from work as I’d almost collapsed.

I spent the whole day in and out of bed with a raging temperature, crying and panicked.

The bus to the airport was 5am the next morning and I was on the verge of cancelling.

By some miracle, I mustered the strength to get up at 3am, finish packing and catch the bus to the airport at 5am.

I should have not have flown…

Halfway to the airport I felt my stomach churn and a hot sweat washed over my body.

I was only taking hand luggage and I was anticipating cold weather in Norway in October, so I was wearing a thick cardigan and a jacket over that.

First mistake.

I got to the airport feeling pretty grim.

I hot-sweated my way through security, pushed through the marauding crowds in duty free and found seats to plonk myself onto post-haste.

The wait for the flight was excruciating and all I kept thinking about was being ill on holiday.

How I had made it that far was beyond me, so with another 6 hours of travel ahead of me, I was not optimistic.

I shuffled to the crowded departure gate to find a ton of shifty looking people looking at me as I swallowed back my nerves and queasy feeling tummy.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse and was blowing a gale outside.

After what felt like an eternity waiting to board, I made the slow walk behind everyone else to the plane – getting soaking wet through and feeling pretty disorientated at this stage.

I was sat on one of these two-seater efforts that KLM call a city-hopper. Next to a man who had already downed two Stella’s before we’d even taken off.

This is when the fun really begins…

Taxiing down the runway I feel my heart start to race, another hot sweat builds and I begin grappling at my massive cardigan and jacket in a bid to remove them and be cooler, but to no avail thanks to the risk of shattering the man’s ribs sat next to me.

As the plane ascended into the clouds, the force of cabin pressure mixed with the bad weather-related turbulence sent me into panic mode and I suddenly began to feel very, very ill.

A very strong wave of nausea came over me and I knew it wasn’t long before I vomited.

Fanning myself like a mad woman and sipping water very carefully, I delayed the inevitable until the seatbelt sign had gone off.

I was not being sick in front of an entire plane!

I escaped from my cocoon of autumnal layers like someone freeing themselves from a straight jacket and ran down the aisle of the plane – straight towards the toilets.

Some time later, looking like a ghost who’d had one two many gin and tonic’s in departures, I fumbled my way back to my seat, painfully aware that everyone must have realised what was wrong.

I chewed about 5908087 mints and sipped more water and sat there, eyes closed, waiting for landing in Amsterdam.

The landing of course was equally horrific but I didn’t sick, which was as much of a surprise to my seat partner, as it was to me.

It was rough, I was eyeing up the sick bag multiple times during landing and was ready to apologise to an entire plane load of people had I been ill.

But no. I survived and the second flight from Amsterdam to Norway was a lot more tolerable.

Still feeling quite unwell, my first evening in Norway was pretty ropy.

But the next day I was back to normal and even went on a hike with my friends on Bird island, lost my glasses, found my glasses and stepped in lots of poo.

The rest of the week was delightful, with autumnal walks with stunning views, herbal teas, chai espresso’s and good delicious grub.

We watched movies, had chats, went food shopping, cooked food, made plans, walked some more and watched more movies next to the log fire.

It was hygge goals.

The weather was as expected – cold, rainy, windy and misty.

And until you’ve looked out over misty mountains in the early morning with a light rain creating a blanket of dew on the ground, while you sip on fresh coffee surrounded by friends, I don’t believe you’ll have experienced happiness.

In the end, an amazing trip full of wonderful memories and feelings that will stay with me forever.

Despite the sick…

IF IN DOUBT – CAKE

On Wednesdays we eat cake.

I decided on Tuesday, that I would spend my Wednesday off doing something fun and productive.

Something for someone else that would bring a bit of joy and maybe even a smile.

I thought of my grandparents.

I thought of baking.

And after a fairly stressful trip to the shops to get the ingredients, I spent the next two hours whipping together my most success bake yet.

A Victoria sponge.

With no holes, no lop-siding, no tear stains from where I’ve wept with despair. No cracks, splits or crumbling.

Just a round, cooked Victoria sponge.

Which I then filled with buttercream and strawberry jam and bob’s not my uncle, I had a cake.

I took it down to my grandparents in the afternoon and from what I could tell, it was a nice surprise. My Grampy’s face lit up with glee and my granny even had a slice while I was there and she was most animated, which made me chuckle, bless her.

We laughed, reminisced and ate cake and everything was just lovely.

I hope to get into baking more and experiment with breads as after all, bread is my favourite thing.

Warm with salted butter and a cup of coffee.

Autumn is only 51 days away, so I need to get my practice in to be able to make yummy treats for everyone in the cooler seasons.

Watch this space…