Wednesday, 12 August 2020

NEW INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT @LIVINGWITHANKAN FROM TODAY 12 AUGUST 2020

Today I started a new instagram account with the same name as my blog. Livingwithankan is now live and please follow. I will talk and discuss the fact that I am 60+ and what impact that has on everydayliving, health, economy etc. Start the day with a good breakfast. I start mine with low, or non fat, yogurt, freshly cut fruit and homemade muesli (without sugar). Today I enjoyed it in my little courtyard in our new hometown of Abergavenny
Today I started a new Instagram account with the same name as my blog; Livingwithankan is now live and please follow. I will talk and discuss the fact that I am 60+ and what impact that has on everyday living, health, economy etc. I am beginning by starting the day with a good breakfast. Mine is with low, or non fat, yogurt, freshly cut fruit and homemade muesli (without sugar). Today I enjoyed it in my little courtyard in our new hometown of Abergavenny

Thursday, 23 July 2020

#NEWGARDENLAUNDRYPLACE #ABERGAVENNY #WALES

For the last twenty years I have had Swedish Geranium, Mårbacka, in my kitchen window. Now a baby is growing nicely in Abergavenny and our second home here since we left Chipping Campden in 2018. We have been concentrating on the garden during Lockdown and have come a long way. The little courtyard is more or less finished and the second "room", the patio, we have layed ourselves. See more below.

Looked everywhere to find growing parsley. Seems like everybody has had the same idea as I to grow a herbgarden. Though in all my houses I have always had one. Found the lovely little watercan in B&M, could not resist it!

We have laid over first ever patio. Looks great. Was really hard work! You have to level the base and then the heavy mixing of the concrete. Looks great though and well worth the effort. Gravel around it looks stunning with the different textures. The wall I painted in the same grey as the brick wall in the courtyard and the furniture, designed by John Reeves, has never looked better!

The patio viewed from the next level above. Here you can see how elevated the garden is. We are creating different rooms and this will be the "dining room". The border was created by Bruce and has since grown a bit more, see below!


Pale pink geraniums with green edged blackish leaves! Just down my street. Goes so well with our grey/black garden.
Part of our herb garden. Parsley (now fully out), thyme and chives. So lovely to be able to walk out from the kitchen and pick it.
Wild Jasmin that we picked in Llanfoist. Cuttings are doing well and will soon be planted out.

More from the herb garden, Rosemary, Mint and Sage, guarded by the frog and the duck (aka Ann-Katrin and her "prince").
The brick wall was not in great shape so it needed some attention. First mended with polyfiller etc and then two coats of masonary paint. Great result, we think.
The black planters has been with us for about 15 years and this is their third home. Goes very well with the grey walls and the black furniture from Claes Ohlson. I love the little children´s watering can that I found at B&M in Abergavenny, a bargain. The blue glass bowl was a gift from a friend on my 40th birthday. Still going strong.
Nasturtiums are one of my favorite plants to grow from seed. So easy and rewarding.
The wall looks a bit blueish in some light during the day. Alongside yellow, orange and white, blue is the colour we chose for the rest of the plants.
A lot of soil needed for the planters, pots and borders...
This acer has also been with us for a long time. Soon to be planted out to be able to grow bigger... more soon from our new garden in Abergavenny.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

#50YEARSOFDESIGNERSGUILD

The Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London was founded by artist and designer Dame Zandra Rhodes. Today it is operated by Newham College, London. Zandra still lives in the penthouse. The project of building the museum was financed by selling some of the roof top apartments. The Mexican architect, Ricardo Legoretta worked closely with Zandra and now this has become an icon building and attraction in Bermonsey. From 14 February this year Tricia Guild has the honour of being exhibited here celebrating 50 years of textile designing. The lockdown has unfortunately locked down the museum and they hope to open soon and has recently extended the dates until 14 of September. Please go if you are in London, here are a sneak view all shot by me! 

Designers Guild are this year celebrating 50 years of design and has been invited by the museum to show off her brilliant work during these years. A very well styled and curated exhibition and big enough to give you the history of DG and small enough to make it easy to absorb! This is me and Tricia at the press preview of the exhbition in February. We have known each other since the early 1980s and I have always been a big fan of her work.

Tricia has not any degrees in Textile Design, a self taught expert she has often worked together with more or less famous artists and designers. One of her first collaborations were with the artist and knitting designer, Kaffe Fasett in 1976. Together they turned a piece of art into a fabric design.

From the latest collection. Giant flowers, a panoramic wallpaper. "Le Poeme de Fleurs" AW19.

Tricia is an excellent stylist and florist. Her mix of glassware, ceramics, furniture and decorative odds and ends are timeless and super decorative. She has created a genuine style of her own.

The way Tricia Guild mixed contemporary design with her own textiles and vintage has created a trend in its own.


When the Swedish version of Elle Decoration (Then Elle Interiör) was introduced on the Swedish market I was heavily involved and styled the first ever cover. My inspiration came from by Designers Guild, Canovas and Celia Birtwell, Gunnel Sahlin etc. This was the coloursceme. AW93.

I think this is one of my favourite collections of DG. The cut out velvet and flock wallpaper are on the brink of being saucy and vulgar, but she manages to turn that into being sofisticated and glamourous.


An other of her strenghts are cushions. Mixing colours, trimmings and patterns in unexpected ways. I love the way she turned a cushion into a real wow-factor.

This is a replica of a interior from Tricia own home in 1995! An excellent example of her brilliant mix of colours, design and materiels.


Greens and graphic patterns is another great strength in Tricias CV. Fab styling!

A perfect example in how Tricia mixes vintage with modern design and colours. Vintage desk from the 1960s and plastic chair by Vitra.

But above all is her love for flowers and the garden inspiration is clear here.

Mix graphic design with flowers and you are creating an interior full of life and excitement. This black and white stripe is another one of my favourites and I had it in my old house (roman blinds in the livingroom).


I would think that green is Tricias favourite colour. Here a typical example of her way of styling. Mixing ceramics with fabric, towels, stationary, tableware etc. Formidable!

Designers Guilds biggest collections concists of plains! Any colour (nearly) can be found. Not to forget stripes and checks.

SS20! Flowers of course.

Velvets à la Tricia.

Scandinavia has influenced many of Tricias collections. From the 1800-s century Gustavian design to the 2000s.


Tricia showing off her latest collection at the press preview. The exhibition now runs until 14 September (might be extended again due to the lockdown uncertainty). Don´t miss it!

Thursday, 28 May 2020

#LOCKDOWNDAY65 #GARDENINGTOKEEPSANE

Lockdown day 65! We are gardening to keep sane. Here my longsuffering (being married to me) and lovely hardworking husband Bruce in front of his new BBQ. He loves it.


We are planning some new flower beds and that needs a lot of compost! Violas that I bought as tiny plants at Aldi (posh Lidl) in Abergavenny for nothing are prospering.

Our terraced garden is coming on. We are creating four rooms. A court yard (nearly ready), a terrace (in the making), a pergola (still on the drawing board) and a cabin at the back! Follow the progress here and on Instagram.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

#LOCKDOWNDAY54

Lockdown day 54! Gone so quickly and yet so slowly. Can hardly remember how "before" was,  and of course there will be an after...
Today is the 17 May, Norways national day. No walking with Norwegian flags on Karl Johan today. Sad...
On our daily walk we often pass through the cementery of Abergavenny. This cross struck me today with it´s simple and basic cross overgrown by ivy. Here I want to bury my grieves induced by my close family in my native country. In these difficult times they (the grieves) are closer to me than ever. What my family members have done seems so petty and unbelievably mean and selfish. To misuse trust and close family bonds for your own winning are to me something I would never consider doing, even in my wildest dreams, and it is beyond my comprehension. Well, I guess they do not sleep well at night. I do. But I must say that there has been so much positiveness coming out of this lockdown. Friends have made contact and we have had some lovely House Parties online, FaceTime drinks and chats and of course a lot of nice pictures and hellos on Facebook and Instagram. As we say in Sweden, "nothing bad that does not bring something good with it". So right. 


But the Guardian Angel is watching over us. An other fantastic view of "our mountain" Blorenge and this is also a scene from the Abergavenny Cemetery. Such a beautiful spot.  I have been meaning to write more often but I have had a bit of "writing cramp" (translation from Swedish) lately and have also been very busy in our new little garden. More about that soon...


Tuesday, 21 April 2020

#LOCKDOWNDAY28

Today is day 28 of the Corona Virus Lockdown. Started to feel locked in...even though we are allowed to take long walks everyday and I live in a very beautiful area with lots of accessible walks and paths in the stunning Brecon Beacon National Park and the Black Mountains. Trying to stay sane and healthy be eating well, walking and keeping busy with housework and gardening and a bit of my own work. It is hard to stay in a good mood every day when you sort of live like there is no tomorrow. Nothing to look forward to. Trying to make the week normal by having a boring, normal Monday and Tuesday and then slowly get into weekend mood by Wednesday and Thursday...I keep thinking of the Frank family in Amsterdam during World War II who were locked away in silence and darkness for two years...

At the same time in nature life goes on as normal. Saw some wild garlic yesterday on our daily walk. Unfortunately not enough to pick.
In Sweden we talk about the time between the flowering of the Birds Cherry and the Lilacs. Meaning the hight of spring. These days with the global warming (minimally slowing down now due to lockdown)in Sweden the Birds Cherry and the Lilacs have been in bloom at the same time. But this spring here in Abergavenny we have had the time "mellan Hägg och Syrén".

Trying to keep some beauty indoors as well! More soon from me in lockdown.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

#LOCKDOWNWEEK4 #THURSDAY #BIRTHDAYBOY ETC

Today 22 years ago it was a rainy windy day and Hugo decided it was time to announce his arrival. I was "looking forward" to natural birth but it did not go according to plan (like a lot of things in life) and he was delivered at 8 pm by caesarean section at Cheltenham General Hospital.

Hugo loves sticky chocolate cake. Made one and decorated with rasberries. Yes, there is 22 candles on the cake.

Went for a walk and did some weekend shopping as well. Walked to our local and lovely garden "Linda Vista" where the Rhododendron just started flowering. You really notice what goes on around you more during the lockdown. Nothing bad that does not bring some good, as my mother use to say. Talking about my mother, she passed away 20 years ago so did not have to live through the corona virus and the deceit from my younger sister. Family matters seems to come to mind during these difficult times. Unfortunately mine has good and bad bits. It takes a lot of patience and love to be so close to your loved ones 24/7. But so far so good!
Gardening is one good activity, keeps you sane, gives you pleasure and lasts... Ranunculus are a favourite flower of mine.

Spring is here with daffodils etc. This is part of one of our lockdown walks that takes us through the Abergavenny Cemetery.


Our garden is taking shape. This is our little courtyard just outside the kitchen. Perfect for breakfast and fika. Bench by John Reeves for Heals. Foldable table and chairs from Clas Ohlson. Green table with an upside down flowerpot as base by Jonas Bohlin. It was made for a pop up cafe during the Stockholm Furniture Fair in 1990?

Keep safe, the rainbow was created by a English lady who wanted to engage her daughter during lockdown! Now it has become an international symbol for "keep safe" during the coronaviruspandemi.

I always loved this flower. In Sweden we call them "Mormors glasögon", grandmothers glasses (spectacles). Here in the UK they are called cat´s eye. Linda Vista Garden, Abergavenny.

Abergavenny got it´s own vineyard. Sugarloaf Vineyards. Just sprouting. They also have a nice cafe/winetasting venue. Unfortunately closed during lockdown like everything else..

The vineyard is situated in a lovely spot at the foot of the Sugar Loaf mountain.

Some black humour in the window display at one of the local hairdressers!

The bluebells are coming out. Not the best area for them around here but some are around.


And that´s all for now. I am trying to keep the spirit up by smiling...soon it´s time for champagne to celebrate my son´s birthday. A good excuse for a party...