January 05, 2011

Still dreaming of Norway

Well, hello again, and a very Happy New Year to you!

I am catching my breath, sorting the laundry and inching myself back into normal life after the whirlwind that was the Christmas holidays.

Christmas was a very happy, noisy celebration at my inlaws, with most of the extended family. A lot of love and delicious food and gladness, on my part, that I married into such a lovely tribe!

New Year was with some very dear friends, in Norway.

They are another family of six, with kids  the same age as ours, and our Max is lucky enough to have Wenche, one of my most beloved friends, as his Godmother. She looks like a Nordic goddess but is actually a firearms trained policewoman, awesome skier and can do over 400 keepy-uppys with a football!! Oh, and bakes bread and makes jam to die for. Needless to say Max is impressed with our choice of Godmother for him!

Their home in the south of the country is idyllic, a white clapperboard house, with the sea at the bottom of the garden. I learn't my love of cosy partly from this woman, who is without doubt the queen of cosy. Every surface has lit candles, flowers, and decorative touches that make you so glad it is cold outside and Wenche has been baking!! Come and have a look around...

It totally avoids being twee by lots of stunning contemporary paintings on the walls and the use of industrial style materials like zinc, iron and roughly hewn wood. And of course, the Skandis have a special skill in making white seem warm rather than clinical,

We spent a few days with them in the mountains further north, at a gorgeous and very luxurious cabin belonging to Wenche's parents. There was plenty of room for the twelve of us and the roaring fire at the end of a day's skiing was perfect. I hadn't skied for 18 years, it wasn't pretty but it was a lot of fun!

New Year was seen in with a feast for eighteen of us, including twelve kids and teenagers, and fireworks in the snow at midnight. Norwegian after-dinner games are hilarious, and kept us all entertained until the small hours. Happy times.

Our return home, to a house with a broken boiler, no heating or hot water was  less amusing but we made copious pots of tea, (always the first course of action for a Brit in a 'situation'), threw duvets around us, lit a huge fire and, as any sensible family would do in the circumstances, hunkered down and watched The Italian Job on the TV! It looked lovely and warm in Italy in 1969...

Anyway we are all sorted now, and I am seeing the kids off to school, one by one, and wondering what lies ahead in 2011. My head is still not clear or focussed, seeming slow to pull out of holiday mode!

I hope your holidays were good and 2011 will be choc-full of happiness for you.


  1. Welcome Back, Belinda! From the sounds of it, you certainly had a memorable and happy holiday! Wonderful to hear that and super of you to share it with us.

    Lovely photos and descriptions and it's no wonder Max thinks Wenche is tops! What a talented and attractive-looking Godmother.

    Glad to hear your initial dramas back home are all sorted and you're now able to slowly bring yourself back to reality. It always takes me a good few days to readjust after we've been away from home :)

    Stay warm!

  2. What a whirlwind holiday....no wonder it is taking you a while to get back into the swing of things!
    Max must be delighted with his parents...there can't be many young chaps his age who can boast of having a beautiful, pistol packing policewoman for a Godmother...
    Julie x

  3. I was somewhat jealous when I read you were off to Norway for the week.

    Now that I have seen the pictures and read the story, I am pea green with envy.

    Did you get me anything?

    xo Jane

  4. Happy New Year
    Wow your photos are beautiful, Norway looks stunning. Bet life doesn't grind to a halt in the snow there!

  5. Your holiday sounds amazing. I am so envious that you got to Norway. I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago and fell in love with the country.

  6. Oh, help, Rachel, apologies, I somehow deleted rather than published your comment from my iphone - but thank you so much for your kind comment - much appreciated if not published!

    Desiree, hi there! Lovely to hear from you, and you are so right, it just does take a few days to re-adjust to normality!

    Evening Jane! I may be going back in May, what do you wish for??

    Hello F in the F! It is amazing, nothing stops in the snow there!

    Helen, Norway has that effect, and the Norwegians. Just a fabulous place!

  7. The lovely pictures reveal, that you really enjoyed your visit in Norway. I have never been there. Ages ago Oslo was known to be a very expensive city. I guess that has kept us partly away from visiting the beautiful country.

  8. Hi Belinda,

    What a fantastic house. And your friend looks gorgeous. Wenche - what a brilliant name!! I want that as my name!!

    I'm so glad you got your boiler working again. Ours wasn't working for three days but it is now. Hooray!

    I like your Fortnum and Mason wicker basket! Gorgeous.


  9. Hulloo. Thanks for lovely comments over on MagicBeans. I am in a state now. How can a house be so effortlessly gorgeous with a maitre d' who has four smalls and a high-flying stressy job? Just how does that happen? Hope your boiler is fixed now. we had a boiler situation on Christmas Eve which is all ok now. Just the washing machine and dodgy computer to sort out... Back soon, Ax

  10. Hi Mette, yes, Norway is still sooooooo expensive!

    Sarah, so glad you are warm again - I actually think no hot water is the worst! And, yes, hooray for F and M, love that place!

    Hello, A, big welcome to my blog, delighted you visited and look forward seeing you again soon. I know what you mean about Wenche, she is quite unbelivable, but is human too and does get tired like the rest of us!

  11. Yay! So glad you are back! I missed you in blogworld!

    Wenche sounds wonderful, and surprisingly like my own tugboating glam girl and domestic maven (though currently nomadic, she knits and quilts like a fiend), Elizabeth. She's also descended from Norwegian stock. Sorry to go on so, but I just thought the coincidence remarkable.

    Anyways, happy New Year! And welcome back!

  12. Dear Belinda,

    A Happy, Healthy and creative New Year to you and your family! Your Christmas holiday sounds like fun! To go all the way to Norway is very special! I have never been there, but hope to visit one day!

    Enjoy your memories and photo's!

    Veel lieve groetjes & keep warm, Madelief

  13. could this be more magical? new years in norway! what a lovely home.

  14. Jaime, that is a co-incidence! Wenche is def a soul-sister - these Norwegians have so much going for them - so positive, creative and stylish - how they do that!!!

    Madelief - and I hope you have a wonderful 2011! Your blog has been such a pleasure to discover.

    Hi Lissa, a really big welcome to my blog! It was a magical time and now seems like it was all a dream!

  15. Norway seems the perfect destination for New Year. Stunning scenery and lovely glimpses into your friend's home. Scandinavians are just so effortlessly stylish!

    Happy New Year to you and yours Belinda!


  16. Hi Jeanne, and Happy New Year to you! Those Skandies are so effortless in their stylishness - you are right - and the light touch they have makes it all the cooler!

  17. No wonder the Skandies have the highest happiness quotient. Who wouldn't be happy with a life so snugglesome. Am loving this blog. I am currently working my way back from the beginning and am totally transfixed. As a potential flower farmer in the making I am completely inspired. Thank you.