XMAS MODE

It’s Christmas time in London! The lights are up, decorations are in every single store – and it’s hard to miss the fact that we’re getting closer to a new year.

I’ve heard wonderful things about Christmas time in London. All of the lights and magic, what’s not to love?

Anyway, it somehow feels like too much. Too much consumerism, too much wasted energy, too many people and too much stress out there in the streets. It makes me wonder where I’ll find this much talked about “magic”. I’ll tell you one thing – I didn’t find it on Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus or at Covent Garden.

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to find in a a queue, trying to get into Winter Wonderland this year either.

Am I a weirdo for actually admitting that?

But don’t worry – I’ll find it. With the Norwegian Christmas food my parents brought me this weekend (pinnekjøtt, yass!), some Mariah Carey, David Gray’s Christmas Babylon, some good friends over for dinner, candles, writing Christmas cards to my family and wrapping in a few gifts.

My point is; this year I’m not seeking for Christmas anywhere else. Christmas is whatever you want it to be, and wherever you decide it should be. It’s about the mood – and we can set the mood no matter where we are. Trust me, you’re more likely to find it in your own living room – than down in Oxford Street.

HONEST BURGERS

Best Burger place I’ve found in London until now! Thanks for the tip, Vic!

Their restaurants are cosy, food arrives quickly and their burgers are pure happiness. So if you’re looking for the ultimate burger place in London – this might be just it! Oh, and it’s totally affordable!

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

I didn’t get to do half of the things I’d planned to do during my Oslo visit. I took my grandmother’s advice to take it easy – and for once, it left me feel refreshed when I left, and not exhausted. I think I learned from my Bergen trip a few weeks ago – that I simply can’t cover it all in only a few days.

Every time I travel to a city where I have friends, I’m left with the dilemma of actually spending quality time with some people, or making sure I get to see as many and much of the city as possible.

When I got home from Bergen last time, I was completely exhausted. It left me in bed for a couple of days just to get back to normal and I had to skip several appointments, just because I had to catch up on sleep and alone time.

Yea, I’m a typical introvert – and it gets more obvious the older I get.

So I’m choosing quality over quantity. A few longer coffees, dinners and talks – and not rushing from one place to another, without never really being present.

More isn’t always better and being busy is overrated.

TIMELESS

This weekend I discovered a fresh curiosity about my family. Especially the women before me. Who were they, what were their interests – and how did they solve this endless riddle called “life”?

I could see my grandmother’s face light up as I started asking questions. Like she was wondering if I was just asking to be nice, or if I was really interested. Questions she wanted to answer and talk about, but somehow no one had cared to ask her about for a while.

It was incredible what I was able to learn, once I just bothered to ask the right questions.

Her husband, which to be honest is my grandfather just not by blood, carefully asked me if I would be interested to take a look at the family tree he’d made. Of course! Again, he also seemed surprised by the fact that someone actually cared.

Maybe it’s not too interesting for most people to learn about their family history. But I feel like there’s so much to be learned. There has to be some good stories and inspiration there, that shouldn’t be forgotten.

My grandmother is now 83, but that’s no excuse for class. Even on a Tuesday morning, in her own home, she’s enjoying breakfast dressed in an ironed fine white shirt and black trousers. Her hair and makeup is done, and a day at home could easily be mistaken for a late evening dinner. Always classy, always with style.

She’s gone through so much in her lifetime – but I never heard her complain even once during those days I spent visiting. The only thing that frustrated her, was that she kept forgetting where she placed her glasses. Comparing this to everything she’s gone through over the years – it almost seems funny, doesn’t it? To me, it says something about what life is really about – the little things.

I complimented her countless times for her ageless style, and i could see she appreciated it and felt proud. It became clear to me that she had made it a priority in her long life, just like her own mother used to – and my mother also is.

I explained that I feel so many in this society starts giving up in their 30s. Why is that, when she at age 83 still shows that it’s possible to look and be absolutely fabulous? It’s when I look at her, that I really get how timeless beauty is. Time and age has nothing to do with class – but rather a matter of prioritising it.

She just replied;
“Can you understand why anyone would do themselves so much harm, Ingse?” and continued with what she was doing, clueless about how big of an impression that sentence made on me.

I wrote it down on my phone, as a reminder to never let go of myself. And as a reminder that I will always try my best to live up to everything my grandmother stands for.

SOMEDAY SOON

I’m feeling quite emotional right now, tired but still wide awake. I’ve been so present for the past few days, so the second I got a minute now, I just opened up my laptop – with a need to pour thoughts down into text.

I’m at my grandmother and her husband’s house as I’m writing this, and I’ve just spent the past 7 hours just talking about the past, present and future.

It’s like all the tiny pieces of a major puzzle I’ve tried to solve all year is coming together – and I feel like I’m ready to explode with love. I know how crazy it sounds – but it’s ok. I’m fine with it.

If this is crazy, I’m ready to embrace it. 

The journey has been long, and there’s an even longer road left in front of me. But I’ve never felt more inspired to walk the distance. I’m still not sure how to explain what I’m going through right now, but it feels like a major awakening. A life-changing moment of some sort. I don’t know how it’s gonna change – but I just know that it will.

Like Magnus tweeted so nicely last week:

Someday soon my whole life is going to change and I’ll miss figuring out who I was in these “good old days”! #enjoythestruggle 

BRICK ON BRICK

I’ve spent countless days and nights the past year trying to answer questions, dig deeper, and push my curiosity past that uncomfortable state of mind to where you start touching upon things you often don’t even want to get near.

I want to know what happens if I go there, in my mind. 

Let me put it like this: It’s easy to just stop thinking about certain things, just because it’s uncomfortable. For example, if I asked you what your biggest dream is, what would you answer? Easy, right? It’s just a dream. But what if I asked you if you were willing to do what it takes to touch that dream and make it your reality? How far would you be willing to actually go, to make it happen?

“It’s just not that easy”, right? Standard reply. But how can you know that before you’ve tried – or tried again, or again? What would happen if you opened your mind and rather said “I’m interested, what do you suggest?

Or even better, what if you actually spent time trying to answer that question yourself? What if you put brick on brick, towards that goal or dream? You would have to change your mindset for once, definitely. You would probably have to prioritise differently. Work smarter. Spend a lot of time doing research.

Uncomfortable for sure. But isn’t that where we grow? Hey, don’t hate me, I’m just suggesting an idea.

So. For the past year I’ve been putting brick on brick, slowly. It started with a major panic attack, and it’s slowly starting to transform into something else… And this is interesting. My shoulders are lowering, it can go weeks in between my stomach aching, I’m waking up refreshed and going to bed with a smile on my face. The second I’m in a situation where I shouldn’t be, my gut is letting me know. I know what toxic situations feels like now, because it’s not there constantly.

Now, I can actually listen. I know when to run away from what drains me, and when to grab another cup of coffee to keep going. I’m noticing the signs telling me what’s right and wrong – because I’m beginning to know what right actually feels like.

It’s working. 

I think it’s all of the bricks, starting to develop concrete in between them. Tiny pieces are starting to fill out the street in front of me, and the road doesn’t seem so unpredictable anymore. I’m having more fun, a laugh is never far away, and most importantly; I see the value in what’s right in front of me.

If I just keep walking, steady, leaving toxics behind while adding new bricks on the road in front of me – what will happen then? 

I’m curious to find out.

BOKI in Seven Dials

Last weekend I went lunching at Boki in Seven Dials. I had the McBoki, a sandwich with salt beef, avocado, fried hens egg, sriracha mayo and charcoal brioche. Yes, charcoal brioche! I didn’t even know that was a thing. Exciting!

To my big surprise, the charcoal brioche was a lot sweeter than I had anticipated when I first saw it! The rest of the sandwich tasted like heaven though, and as much as I would love to say that I fell in love with the trendy charcoal brioche – I don’t think I’m cool enough for that just yet.

But a fun food experience, and I would totally recommend the place for lunchtime! Next time I’ll try the Boki bowl!

WHAT IS TIME?

This has to be my favourite spot to sit down in London! A few years ago, I would have never thought I would end up living 10 minutes from where this photo is shot. Holy smokes!

I just started Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Experience, Making Every Moment Matter, after encouragement from Helene Urrang.

Now I don’t want to spoil what happened at Day 1 of the experience – but I wanted to start this post by sharing one quote that really caught my attention:

What was the best time of your life? If you can say; RIGHT NOW is the best time of my life, you’re saying something that comes naturally to everyone, when their inner life is fulfilled…” 

I’ve always been upset with people who seems to be obsessing and longing back to some agent memory that’s long gone. Not just because i feel like it’s a waste of time to wish we could go back, but also because it makes me sad.

I mean, if a partner or friend keeps talking about how everything was better before, in my head – that means that this moment right now isn’t living up to that moment, which also means that I’m not being appreciated for the time we’re spending together at this very point talking about it. So, that means that something is off, doesn’t it?

In my relationship with myself, Magnus, my family or friends, I would never go back – not even a day. Because our relationships gets increasingly interesting and exciting for every day that goes by. Sure, things have changed, – but for the better. For me, it’s all about the mindset, whether we can appreciate this moment right now or not – does it make sense?

And my friends back in Norway, Denmark or any other part of the world? The “good times”? Of course I miss it, and them all. We’ve shared some crazy and incredible moments! But I’m training my mind to appreciate what is going on today.

Like last week when I had dinner with two of my most fabulous girlfriends back in Bergen. What we all had in common, was that we could talk about old stories, laugh and think about all the fun we had – but we all agreed that the moment we shared right there around that dinner table, was even more special. The conversation quickly turned towards the future, and how we could all encourage each other to reach new goals by supporting each other and put in the work.

So think about that the next time someone asks you “what was the best time of your life?”

I hope you find the courage to say “right now” – and make sure it’s true.

BIG CITY RUSH

The anxiety I used to get in the big city is now my drug. The second I left the plane on Gatwick I got this rush… A different kind of rush than what I get in Bergen or Copenhagen. It’s like every city represents a different part of the story.

London represents the entry to adult life. The struggle of finding my passions, learning how to take better care of myself and believing that there’s more than a 9-5. The challenge of finding enough work to cover our bills. How to make a place “home”, without a student life, colleagues, friends or family nearby. A place where every little win deserves a celebration, just because it means we haven’t given up. One step closer to the unknown that we’re longing for.

The second I left the plane of Gatwick, it’s every woman for herself – and you just better step up the game. No time to doubt, think twice or hold back. I’m not here to relax, be close to friends or family – I’m here to find something. If I should prioritize some of the other things now, I would definitely not be here, far away from everything else that I care so much about.