I keep thinking about Norway these days. Its traditional wood built houses in pale soft hues of pink, blue and rust, my family, and my food heritage. I return often in my mind these days, and take strolls down to the beach on the fjord island my parents have a home, I feel the cool, yet mild breeze for this time of year, and feel inspired to the bone. During Christmas, my mother's cooking was everything I hoped it would be. Every day heat, and the clinking sound of pots and pans came from her kitchen. She'd lit the open fireplace in the corner next to the stove, and we talked food as we stirred in sauces, and took meat roasting, in and out of the oven. In all this familiar, I find that my mother is more of a culinary magpie than a traditionalist. At first I feel disappointed that she has messed with tradition, deviated from the food norm, especially during Christmas, even if it's just a wee bit, by adding a new spice, or serving the red cabbage stew raw, instead of soft and sweet after having been boiled. But then I can't help but feel energized by her ever evolving style of cooking, and how she loves exploring, constantly curious, searching for new flavors, spices and herbs that excites her. I took that with me, as we flew back to my little nest here in the English countryside. Keep exploring, I keep whispering to myself...stay curious... #sundaymusings
There was a cold mist hovering over the rolling hills in my little town this morning, all lit up by the golden winter sun. We had a quick cup of tea before beginning the day, hours earlier than usual. I drove past my old cottage in the woods on my way to pick up game for tonight's supper. It feels exciting, this new adventurous chapter. I'm not good at standing still, constantly seeking journeys onwards, thriving on challenges and the unexpected, but this year, it's all about building, refining and simmering everything down to its essence. I feel like nesting, making sure Mr Whiskey and I have a shelter for life's rain, and a safe haven to always come back to. I've stocked up on red Amarone wine (a favorit of mine) from @beckfordbottles , that will go well with a heart, yet elegant pheasant and fig dish for later. And just as the sun sets this afternoon, I'm planning on popping it open, enjoying a sneaky glass as I cook supper, channeling my inner Keith Floyd. What are you cooking tonight? #mycottagekitchen
It's all milky and foggy outside, and I'm back in the countryside after a invigorating day in London. The ever so talented Beth Kirby @local_milk invited me to share my thoughts on social media and work during her #localmilkretreats in the city and it was a treat! Catching up with her and all the wonderful participants over lunch @theclove was ever so inspiring, and delicious. The buzz of the city rushed through my sleepy countryside veins, like a vitamin injection, just the kind you need as the New Year ever so slowly is getting back up to speed. On the train home,I ordered a cup of tea, gazed out at the frosty winter landscape glide by, and wrote down personal goals. Learn more Italian, write letters, send more flowers to people I love on random Wednesday's, be patient, when you're afraid..do it anyway, hug more often than not, get organized, bake more, and the list went on... It felt good looking at the goals written by my own hand in front of me, knowing that I could fulfill them all, by just putting one foot in front of the other...
Tip toeing to peek out the attic rooftop window, overlooking my sleepy countryside village. The sound of the train passing in the distance, morning mist hovering ever so slightly above ground, and tea brewing in the kitchen. Settling into a new house takes time. The living room is still piled high with bursting cardboard boxes, and the out of tune old piano need dusting, and a bit of care to be able to fill my cottage with music. All this anticipation and slow unveiling is magical... #newhome #newchapter #myenglishcountryside
With no alarm to wake us up this morning it was perhaps inevitable that sun rise would come and go before we tiptoed all sleepy-eyed in our pajamas downstairs, put the kettle on, made mid week blueberry and apple porridge breakfast, before snuggling back up in bed. We opened the rooftop window wide, tucked our toes underneath the warm duvet, listened to the birds outside, and read chapters from our favorite books. Embracing this mishap of oversleeping, pretending it was still the first day of the new year. With eyes wide open with excitement I had to stop myself from not interrupting him too many times, as I slowly turned page after page, rereading paragraphs and sentences from @nigelslater 's Kitchen diaries vol III. He smiled and let me read out loud pages I simply couldn't keep all to myself. Then we made plans, promised each other we'd read more from our favorite books, go on wee adventures, and drink more tea in bed. I can hear the kettle whistling downstairs as I type, and I hope he'll come up any second with my thermos filled with freshly brewed tea to keep next to me, as I sit by my desk, ready to begin today's work... #midweekweekend #oops
It's a crisp and sunny January day in the countryside, and the drinks table, that was ready with flowers, just in time for the arrival of the piano last night, is now basking in sunshine. We all shared a well deserved drink after lifting the old German Knauss piano in place. I adore it, and can't wait to have it tuned. A drinks table might be a bit old school but it's the perfect place to begin when friends pop in unexpected. On our last visit to Norway over Christmas we visited the newly opened cocktail bar in the "Grunerløkka" area called @Nedrelokka_cocktailbar They had such skill and passion for making cocktails, it blew us both away. Definitely something to put on the 2017 list of skills to improve, become a better hostess and mixologist... #hostesswiththemostess #goalsforthenewyear #nedreløkkacocktailbar
The sun is shining through the cottage windows, giving off an ever so soft glow of warmth on this cold winters day. I'm parked downstairs amongst a mountain of boxes from the recent move. But upstairs, the small dining room has been painted dark blue, the fireplace is lit, and as soon as the sun sets this afternoon I'll be hosting a wee living room warm up with a cheeky Monday Negroni on the rocks @campariuk and the arrival of a piano! This year I'll remember to play more often, invite friends over for impromptu dinner parties that doesn't need an RVSP, and that Mondays are as good as any day for hosting little drinks parties with live music... #NegroniNightIn #Ad
Over Christmas I went back to my roots, and went to Norway to visit my family. Loud conversations, laughter, food, wanders and hugs we're all on the menu, the perfect kind of soul food. One of my favorite places to go for a stroll while I'm back in Norway is in 'Gamlebyen' in Fredrikstad. It's a gloriously charming place with small cafes, boutiques and exciting restaurants. There's a little ferry that crosses the river and takes you from the new part to the old part of town, if your traveling by foot, and it still feels ever so exciting to step on to the shore ready to explore the other side, ducking under wonky bridges and strolling through history filled tunnels. This year I missed the last Christmas market, but in the summer time, there's a big antique market filling up the town square with an abundance of antiques. It's a great place to source for old traditional Scandinavian cooking utensils, plates, baskets and cutlery, and I've collected way too much over the years. So much so that I'll be hosting a wee brocante with antiques and props, in spring at the new cottage! An outdoors afternoon tea party of sorts with endless tables of props, and furniture. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's get this 2016 over with first, and I'll share all the events and workshops for 2017 soon. Happy New Year! #adventuresahead
When I moved to the English countryside over three years ago, I never thought I'd be truffle hunting just a stone throw from the old cottage in the woods. Meeting @thetrufflehuntress who introduced me to Tom and took me trufflehunting was a treat that reintroduced one of my favorite cooking ingredients to my cottage kitchen. And of course one thing led to another and one evening I came across another wonderful truffle hunter @wiltshire_truffles that funnily enough is married to a Norwegian! Nor did I think I'd be enjoying the most wonderful white sparkling wine from vineyards around the bend and have my love and yearning for the Italian Enoteca (wineshop/bar) soothed by the opening of @beckfordbottles just down the street. Surrounded by wines from all over the world, I can find my Italian and French favorites, however most importantly, one can rock up, take a seat in their bright red leather chesterfield, and enjoy a glass of red with nibbles whenever I miss my second home Milano, just a tad too much. Funnily enough, moving to England, has also made me rediscover traditional Norwegian food and produce like the tastiest Norwegian apple "Brennevin" from @eggegaard and 'Kraftkar' farmhouse blue cheese from @tingvollost, that has recently been voted the best cheese in the world. But that's the beauty of adventure. Magic happens when we leave the safety of our comfort zone. With 2017 just around the corner, I've rarely been so excited for the arrival of a new year, full of endless opportunities and wee adventures! Wishing you all a wonderful New Years, few days early, but since my Christmas cards never even made it out the door this year, I though I better be a few days early than late;) Thank you for your endless support and encouragement, in the end, no woman is an island, and I could never have done this without you! #herestoadventuresahead #bringit2017
It was perhaps the most grounding experience, to pop over to Norway for Christmas with the family. Laughter, wanders to the beach through the woods, long dinners and even longer brunches with every cheese, herring, bread, and warm drink under the pale Nordic sun. I indulged in great company and slept like a rock. It felt good to be where my roots are at home, even if the branches of the woman I've become, feels more at home here in the English countryside. I keep thinking about next year, the new cottage, renovations, workshops, cooking, exciting new adventures and growth, but right now, in these in between days, before the new year begins, I'm taking it slow, reading books from the pile on my nightstand, unpacking a mountain of boxes, and catching up on writing letters to every single person that did not get a Christmas card in the mail from me this year... Hope you're all having the loveliest Holiday season! xx
One our last evening at my old cottage we lit candles and dressed the dining room table for one last supper. Christmas music sounded from the radio in the kitchen and we celebrated the now and what was to come. While I put a log on the fireplace he served up a post dinner Negroni @campariuk on the rocks with a wee orange twist, just the way I like it. While raising his glass he said, here's to adventures ahead Marie, and I couldn't agree more... #NegroniNightIn #Ad
I'm going to miss this house, I whispered in his ear, as we took a seat on the floor in the hallway to say goodby. The tiles were cold and the wellies that normally line the walls were all boxed up and already in our new home. Mr Whiskey sniffed around on the green branches next to me on the floor. I'll miss the big garden he said quietly, me too I chimed in, even if I was actually really excited about the tiny green patch around our new little cottage. We sat there in silence for a while, while I finished the last Christmas wreath of the season with branches from the yew tree at the bottom of the garden. I've never been good with goodbyes and change, even though my life consist of them more often than not. Feeling ever so nostalgic about letting go, even if I know it's time, and even if I cannot wait to embark on the new. So we picked up the finished wreath, closed the door behind us and blew the house a kiss... By the time we turned the key in the door to our new home, I may have shed a wee tear or two, both in excitement of what's to come, and in knowing one can never go back to what was.... #herestonewadventures #whiskeyandmoi Ps: Happy Solstice!!
I may have a wee bit of an obsession with tea, as you may have noticed, and enjoy multiple cups a day. But lately I've brewed my @t2tea Christmas tea in a thermos to bring with me on my afternoon wanders with Mr Whiskey. It's a treat I look forward to every day. In to the woods we go, mud sticking to our wellies and with rosie cheeks, we pause taking a seat on a stump near my favorite tree, and pouring by ourselves a cup of freshly brewed tea. There's something about wrapping my hands around a warm cup of tea in the outdoors, for inhaling the crisp winter and feeling my body warm up with each sip. In the end, happiness lies in the small things, non? #myenglishcountryside #smallhappinesses
And so the days go, gearing up for Christmas with a lit fireplace, mulled wine warm on the stove, mince pies within arms reach, and Christmas songs playing on the radio in the kitchen. It feels good to slow down a bit , even if the moving van and helpers will all invade the house on Monday to pack it all down and store most of it away. My new home is small. A wee cottage nestled in the heart of a little English town. I'm already in love with it. The other night I painted the upstairs living room dark Hague blue from @farrowandball , placed an old mirror above the black Victorian fireplace, and moved my dark wood oak desk next to the window. I'm finally home, I whispered to no one in particular... #mynewhome #myenglishcountryside
I don't think my cottage kitchen has had a moment of rest these past months. The most wonderful aroma of freshly baked goods have wafted through the house daily. I've been collecting vintage rolling pins, old wooden spoon and wonky baking trays for years, but my latest addition is a hand carved wooden spoon made by my own very hands. Proud as a punch I returned home from @messumswiltshire after they hosted a spoon carving workshop in collaboration with @holeandcorner magazine. The ever talented EJ from @hatchetandbear taught my wee group how to carve a spoon from a log that normally would have fed my ever crackling fireplace at the cottage. After hours of hard work, my tasting spoon was ready to come home with me in all its imperfect glory. Little in this life feels as good as making something with my very hands, and I'm still a wee bit high on the whole experience, so much so I might just purchase a spoon carving kit for those quiet winter evenings... #messumswiltshire #spooncarving
May I have a sniff, he asked ever so politely, as we returned to the cottage with birds and truffles in tow. A wee one, I replied, knowing it wouldn't really suffice. But like the "perfect" English gentleman he's become, he leaned in, stretched his neck, inhaling the wild game before him with great gusto. Gently sniffing around like a true connosoir he impressed me with his manners. After years of hard work, Mr Whiskey, still a delightful punk, has become a gentle man, and is making his woman proud... #whiskeyandmoi #mrwhiskeystories #myenglishcountryside #beyondcaravaggio
Every little town and wee village in my neighborhood have festive Christmas lights draped across wonky slate rooftops and brick chimney. Its warm glow makes me crave mince pies and I drink @t2tea Christmas tea more often than not. I adore a comforting breakfast tea in the morning, and Earl Grey in the afternoon, but as soon as December hits, it's all about spiced Christmas blends at the cottage.
A creative is only as good as it's extra set of hands, and this lovely lady was such a wonderful addition to my previous two workshops in the English countryside. It was the last two of the year, and I couldn't have done it without her help. After my wonderful previous assistant @abbie_melle left for her homeland Australia, after a glorious time together working on the book, the cottage has turned quite and she's been dearly missed. I guess it's the change of season, the ebb and the flow, the coming and going, it's all a part of life, but I've never been good at saying goodbye. I'm so grateful for all your emails in regards to being my assistant, but at the moment I'm taking some time to move in to my new home, the last workshop of 2016 is done, and the book is on its last verse. I'll be needing an extra set of hands every now and then for next year's workshops, but as of now, that's the only available job description. MrWhiskey and I are gearing down for the holidays, and up for next year, and we simply can't wait to make the move to our new cottage before flying home to Norway for Christmas. It's been so wonderful reading your well wishes and comments in regards to the move. Thank you for taking the time to wish us well, we simply cannot wait to share more of our journey with you! #newbeginnings
When has ever a cheeky glass of Sherry been a bad idea...especially on a gloomy winter's day... These golden drops are the perfect naughty treat on a Saturday afternoon, after a long wander through the woods in the rain... and we enjoyed it by the warm fireplace like two old ladies... #myenglishcountryside #sherry