Monday, 29 October 2007

Article on 'fixed' dairy prices.

Today I want to share an article which Matthew (my husband) found regarding price fixes in the UK by the big supermarkets and dairy industries. It seems that there is a strong reliance on dairy addiction. People will pay whatever the price is as they class milk, butter, cheese etc as essential food items.

BBC NEWS 20 Sep 07 13:56 14:56 UK

Supermarkets 'fixed dairy prices'
Milk - The UK's big four supermarkets and dairies colluded to keep the price of dairy goods artificially high, the Office of Fair Trading has claimed.

The alleged deal led to consumers overpaying for milk, cheese and butter by an estimated £270m, the OFT said.

It accused Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and processors including Dairy Crest and Arla of involvement. The supermarkets denied the claims.

If found guilty of price fixing, the firms could face heavy fines.

Last month, British Airways was fined almost £121.5m by the OFT after it admitted collusion in fixing the prices of fuel surcharges.

"This is a very serious case," said OFT executive director Sean Williams. "This kind of collusion on price is a very serious breach of the law."

According to the OFT, stores and processors had already been warned the practice would limit competition and raise prices.


Mr Williams added that the watchdog would ensure it used its powers to punish such behaviour and "deter other businesses from taking such actions".

The Competition Act of 1998 prohibits agreements, practices and conduct that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK.

The OFT has written to the big four supermarkets as well as processors Arla, Dairy Crest, Lactalis McLelland, The Cheese Company - part of Milk Link - and Wiseman setting out its findings.

It is now awaiting their responses to the claims - covering 2002 and 2003 - and any objections.

Morrisons said it was too early to comment fully, but added the group had never been involved with any of the actions mentioned by the OFT.

It also said that any Safeway involvement was another issue, as it would have come before the chain's acquisition by the group.

Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's added that they would "vigorously defend" themselves against any claims they had not acted in the best interest of shoppers.

Meanwhile, trade association Dairy UK added that price rises during the period in question reflected the major costs and income problems being experienced by dairy farmers.

Director general Jim Begg said: "Dairy prices for consumers in the UK over the last 10 years have been extremely competitive and remain so.

"The competition between the main supermarkets is well-known to consumers. Price rises have generally been below the rate of inflation and dairy products continue to be very good value."

'No rip-off'

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) also insisted there had been no attempt to "rip off the public" adding prices had been raised at the time to help ease pressure on farmers hit by low milk prices.

"What we were trying to do was to ensure that at least we could get the farm gate price up a bit to help preserve the supply line," BRC director general Kevin Hawkins told the BBC.

However, Sean Rickard, a consultant to the dairy industry and former chief economist at the National Farmers' Union, questioned whether farmers had actually seen the benefit of the price increases.

"If one looks back at the data, it does appear that there does seem to have been an increase in retail prices, even an increase in processors' margins, but the dear old dairy farmers really saw no tangible benefit, no lasting benefit from any such move," Mr Rickard added.

The OFT said it was "committed to sorting out the case as soon as possible," and hoped to issue a final decision by late 2008.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

This is a norwegian 'pølser'. It is a hot dog and comes in a variety of types made from various concoctions of animals and body parts. It is quite revolting. They are for sale in every petrol/gas station and newsagents. Sometimes they have bacon wrapped around them too. The smell disgusting and make me feel sick when I smell them. There is no escape from them. They are everywhere! I long for a place where I can feel at peace but outside my own home it is impossible. Everywhere I look is evidence of murdered animals. I go to friends and sit on leather sofas and watch people eat cream cakes, I see animal wagons drive past me on the roads, I see sheep huddling around hay bales in the minus temperatures and when I have to stop for petrol/gas, I get the smell of rotting flesh forced upon me.

When will the world sit up and take notice? I don't want to be angry but I can't help feel that way sometimes. It took me this long to realize my way of living was wrong and I changed it. What gets my back up are the people who know what is happening to these defenceless animals but still eat them and use them for their selfish purposes.

Why does my father in law eat Fois Gras when he knows what happens to those poor birds, why does he take pleasure in talking about it and ending the conversation with 'well, they taste so great!' Why does my Dad say that 'tofu' tastes like socks yet will eat veal, baby calf, cruelly separated from it's mother who is denied motherhood and killed before it has chance to know what life is (not infront of me though, that's the honourable thing).

Why does it hurt so much? Because I look at an animal and I believe it has a basic right to live. I believe it has feelings. I believe it has intellegence. I believe as human beings we have got it so wrong.

Peacefully yours,


Tuesday, 23 October 2007


Finallly, after three years wait, broadband is on its way to our Arctic home! I can even see the transmitter they have just put up on a nearby hill. Now we just have to wait. For so long we’ve been stuck with a poor dial up connection. I’m looking forward to getting on second life, making video calls with my family back in the UK and countless other things. It’s exciting for us, I know that may be difficult to understand but put yourselves where we are! It will be so good after not even having a net connection for the last few weeks to finally spend the time I would like on this blog, the yoga baby vlogs and other projects, as well as simply emailing and having the world at your fingertips.

I am writing this at home and will go through my routine later...stick my laptop in the car, drive to the studio, check my emails and post this up before driving for an hour to teach a yoga class in the town below us. The children are sleeping now so I have a little break in the day. Normal people would make a cup of tea and put their feet up, having a short break from two children aged 2 and 7 months but I have too many things I want to do, I never fit it all in anyhow! I’ve been scriptwriting whenever the opportunity has arisen (I have a commission for a children’s television series set on a local island – fabulous work and so much inspiration) so this is a little diversion!

Thanks for leaving comments, I’m sorry I’ve not been so pro-active in my responses – that’s mainly due to the above situation. I appreciate your feedback and suggestions. As a new vegan it’s great to get advice from other vegans and vegetarians. It’s also great to see that there are non-vegetarians visiting too. I checked the stats recently and was really surprised at how many people were visiting. Once I’m back upto speed I promise more pics and a more structured content.

On a side note, my daughter has a toy farm and I never thought anything of it until she was playing with it yesterday and I looked at it, there is a hen coup, a pigsty, a horse that can have a cart attached and fencing that comes with it to put all the animals inside. I now feel uncomfortable about her thinking that is normal and acceptable. Her grandparents bought it for her. What to do....

Til next time...

Saturday, 20 October 2007


I am still unsure of what to do regarding my dogs diet. I have been researching the issue but am just downright confused! I know of 2 companies that make vegetarian dog food, both in the UK and the US. I cannot get anything in Norway as far as I can see. I have emailed the two companies but have got no response. I know I can get it shipped here but as you can imagine with 2 Labradors and the amount they eat that is not a cheap option and I am not well off by any stretch of the imagination!

I have read that dogs do not cope very well on a meat free diet but it's really hard for me now to feed them regular dog food. There are pictures of dead animals on most of the packaging, I now know what is probably in the dog food, no matter what brand I can get here - don't forget my limitations (Friskees and Pedegree Chum being the only options) and frankly the smell of the food is just disgusting. I think about how many animals suffered every time I have to fill up their food bowls.

My solution so far and it's not really a solution is to only give then half of what I usually do and top the rest up with homemade vegetarian food. I usually make more pasta or casserole etc and give them that. They have always enjoyed raw carrots as treats and seem to enjoy this new combination.

My dogs are 10 years old and sisters. They emigrated out here with us and have been through many changes in their lives. I want what is best for them but at the same time, want an option that makes me feel that I am not adding to animal suffering.

Comments welcome!

Monday, 15 October 2007

TV show 'How to holiday greener'...

Being British there are a few things I hang onto living up here in the Arctic. One of them is British TV. We have a satellite package that includes BBC Prime. Now this is a matter of annoyance in our household as it was supposed to be the best of BBC programming but now has disintegrated into a channel that shows old repeats and utter rubbish. That’s a irrelevant rant on my part but needed to get it off my chest! Now to my point, I have found a program called ‘How to holiday greener’. It’s actually not even on Prime but on the Travel channel. It basically shows you how to lessen your carbon footprint when holidaying. This seems to boil down to taking remote camping holidays in the UK which might be well and good but personally I’d rather stay at home (sorry for being flippant but my idea of a holiday isn’t being alone in a tent in the cold with a flask and wind up torch – don’t get me wrong, I care a great deal about the environment but if everyone stopped eating meat, there would be no issue as meat eating is responsible for a huge amount of global warming..more on that in a later post). The first episode I watched had me stunned. It showed the presenter visiting a farm which had buffalo roaming around, majestic animals, the presenter was taken aback by their beauty. Cut to the same woman, eating a buffalo steak in the farm kitchen or restaurant (I can’t remember which) and salivating over the tenderness of the meat’. I called her some names I won’t repeat here and switched it off. When I saw it was on again yesterday my curiosity got the better of me. This week, they were advertising a remote Scottish village which there were no roads to, you could walk or take a boat. The presenter took the boat as it was an opportunity to go seal watching. I was ready, Seal watching, surely this would be followed by the eating of seal meat (they eat that in Norway on occasion – one comment I’ve heard is ‘It’s so hard eating them when you picture their cute faces’...). I was ready. No. Didn’t happen. Thank goodness! Two minutes later, a discussion about red deer, how they are so beautiful and many groups living in Scotland, but the numbers sometimes got too many (rather like Glaswegians) so here’s a green holiday idea, deer stalking! Yes, it’s all the rage, culls the deer and keeps the tourists happy.

So if you want to make a positive holiday choice, a green holiday choice, a carbon friendly holiday choice, then eat animals, shoot animals for pleasure... do anything other than what will really make a difference - stop breeding animals to be killed for food, therefore stopping all the methane emissions that have as much combined impact on the environment as all transport! Yes, really.

If you have time to spare please drop the travel channel a line and tell them what you think.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Goat's Milk

Today I have a little story to tell. It is a true story and my own.

We moved to this sleepy village in Norway when I was pregnant with our first child. The house was a traditional norwegian house in need of some loving attention. Our first winter was fantastic with our new little girl and we spoke of this being our home forever. Until one night in spring. I was woken in the night by a peculiar noise. At first I thought it was foxes but couldn't pin it down. It was a distressing noise and I had to rule out the sounds as children's as they did bear a similarity to a young child's cry. The next morning as I was in my kitchen I could still hear the same sound. I went out onto the veranda to look around but could see nothing. It seemed to be coming from near the barn nextdoor. I was getting distressed by the sound and was about to go over to see if an animal was stuck somewhere or if there had been an accident. I even thought with it being spring that one of their animals might be giving birth and having problems. You see, nextdoor to our home is a small family run goat farm. A nice farm, I thought when we first bought the house, the goats are daily taken out to local fields to roam around and often escape the fields and wander along the local quiet roads all day before being herded back home.

So, I was about to go over to see what the noise was when my neighbour, my perfectly nice neighbour, opened the barn door and exited with a baby goat which was completely limp and threw it into a trailer. Then he went back inside and came out with another, then another. Then I realised what that awful screaming noise was. It was a combination of baby goats being killed and the sounds of the female goats in the same barn, mothers of these young animals. I felt sick, I feel sick writing about it now, sick to my very core. I cried and couldn't speak for some time but my husband calmed me down. 'It's probably a disease Jill', he said caringly. 'We're moving' was my reply. I didn't believe my husbands response. I thought then that the goats were killed as there were too many young for the farmer to raise on his small farm. I was distraught and looked at houses for sale all that day. I wanted to go over and talk to the farmer but I knew he spoke no English and also knew I would wade in emotionally and shout so I tried to calm down.

Over the next few days we discussed what to do. We asked around but got no answers. Days passed, then weeks and in true bystander apathy, I let it go. I thought it must have been a one off, that there must have been a reason, it surely wouldn't be legal to just kill baby goats for no reason. If it happened again I would be sure to find out what was happening.

Then I turned vegan. why did I turn vegan...because I found out that the male calves of dairy cows are killed as they are an unnecessary part of the milk industry. It took a while but when I next thought of those goats I put two and two together. What would a farm producing goats milk need lots of baby male goats for. They have a few male adults there for impregnanting the females I presume but they don't need more than that. Surely male babies are just an inconvenience..... Sorry but I am starting to get really upset writing this so I'll try and make sense .... Now I am not one hundred percent sure that my neighbour was slaughtering innocent babies infront of their mothers but I think that's what was happening.... and if true then it will happen next year and the next...

So what do I do. Well, first I need to get the facts, I need to do this without ostracizing myself from the community, then I need to come up with a way to stop this happening, my first statement was that I would go and buy all the babies and start a goat sanctuary in the field we own nextdoor to the farm. Not sure that would work so my next idea based on a discussion with Matthew, my husband, was to go to the papers. Hmm, not sure they would care. Government, hmm, not sure they would care either. So I am in a process of thought now. Maybe I'll make a documentary film...

Moving house won't solve the problem, it will simply take my eyes away from it and distressing and heartbreaking as it may be, hiding won't change anything. This is a small family run farm where the goats are treated kindly in some respects (I know that's hard for a vegan to say about captive animals but there are a lot worse places) so imagine what it is like everywhere else. I don't know my strategy yet but I will let you know, maybe there is something you can do too, when I think of it.

Maybe next spring my garden will be full of happy little goats, leaping around and enjoying life in peace, maybe their captive mothers will hear their cries. Maybe there will have been legislative changes to stop this injustice or maybe there will be another heap of infant corpses on a trailer in the middle the night surrounding by the sound of mourning mothers.

As a mother, I implore all mothers (and everyone else) to give animals the rights we deny them.

Thursday, 11 October 2007


Well winter has well and truly arrived in the Arctic! Yesterday we were surprised with early snowfall. It has not stopped falling since and we are a blanket of white! It's really beautiful up here at this time of year. I've not seen the northern lights yet but I'm sure they'll make an appearance soon. Its such a shame however when such beauty is marred. I was admiring the scenery the other day only to see a sign in a cafe saying 'closed this week due to the Elk hunt'. Nice. Wonder if they'll be serving it up next week. I was listening to a podcast by Bob Lindon in San Fransisco the other day and it made me want to move! He was discussing all the good vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the area. I'd just be happy to get a vegan sandwich somewhere! Not a chance here. The sandwich spreads I ordered are not here yet and the shop is out of soya milk. It doesn't help that both of our cars are old and a bit useless which makes it tough to get out to work let alone thinking of where we need to travel to get ingredients! Thankfully the Sunday cooking day is really helping. I am at my studio and have just had the last of my mushroom and almond pate which was yummy, I was asked to add the recipe so here it is - note I don't measure things so apologies, you have to do a bit of guesswork!

Mushroom Pate:
2 handfulls of chopped or ripped mushrooms
1 handfull of sliced almonds (I guess you could use whole ones too)
1 clove of garlic
half chopped onion
Oregano or basil
Olive or rapeseed oil

Sautee onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add mushrooms and cook on a low heat for a few minutes. Throw in some herbs, mix and take off heat when mushrooms are cooked. Meanwhile toast the almonds for a few minutes in a hot oven, just until a little browned. Mix the two together and put in a blender (if a lot of liquid still in the mushroom pot then use a slotted spoon or mixture will be too thin). Blend to desired consistency and chill in the fridge before serving.

I usually make a batch and put in saved pots to take out when I go to the studio. Tastes great on flour tortillas with salad or on toast. Enjoy!

We also had homemade tofu burgers last night and they were good, good, good...much better than the substitute frozen burgers we've had before - that's another recipe for later and I can't take the credit, it was from a new cookbook!

I'm still without net access at home but we are due to get broadband in the next few weeks so really looking forward to that. I bet some of you are wondering why I live up here, especially now we are a vegan family with many frustrations, so I guess I'll tell you. This place is our sanctuary. We are lucky with our work and can survive working much less than we did in England with more time for our family. I am a theatre and yoga teacher mainly, working freelance with many projects. Right now I'm writing a children's television series. I trained for many years in the UK for little reward, not financial I might add but to feel like you are doing something useful and here I feel truly valued for what I do. I do wish that we lived in a more animal friendly place but then again maybe if I can use some influence here I may just change some minds.

Til next time x

Monday, 8 October 2007

Healthy living Seminar

I will soon be holding a yoga weekend here in my local town. I was asked by some of the girls I teach yoga to if I could do something over a weekend as they really love practicing yoga. I am the only teacher for some distance and it is a real compliment that I have a core group who are so involved. I decided that I should involve some yoga philosophy into the weekend and so during lunch on the final day I have taken it upon myself to give a talk and seminar on healthy living. Of course the philosophy of yoga involves living in peace with things around you...including animals...

Now, here is where I need to tread carefully. How to find a balance between keeping the enthusiasm of the students whilst not stepping over the mark where they start to resent me for my ‘out there’ ideas. I have already stated I am considered strange in my veganism. Infact i will say strange in my vegetarianism, most people I know here are as yet unaware that I no longer don’t eat meat but now don’t eat anything produced by them either. I have not yet been into my local cafe as a vegan as I know there is nothing I can eat. Every item on the menu contains the dead flesh of what used to be a beautiful animal. As a vegetarian I used to ask specially for them to make me a cheese baguette. Sometimes I was only charged half price as it seemed I was leaving out the main ingredient. Sometimes the kind owner would ask if I wanted egg in it as well to give it more taste. I am not being derogatory here, the people working there are truly nice but the whole concept of vegetarianism is not understood, that is the point I am making.

How then do I discuss healthy living without talking about my choices. That’s simple, I must talk about my choices but I must do so in a very careful way. If people I know well think I am insulting them by talking about veganism then people I don’t know so well may take much offense if I question the lifestyle they know. So I think the best way to go is to highlight facts about the health benefits of compassionate eating and not get over emotional about the issue. Work it into a shift in lifestyle based on improving the self rather than saving lives of innocent creatures. Of course, it is true that the health benefits are immense as soon as meat and dairy are minimised or eliminated if a healthy diet is followed but as a vegan it is really hard not to talk about why I am vegan, how unjust it is that humans are so arrogant as to believe animals are property and how upsetting it is to me every time I see someone eat a body part. Actually that is what I find the hardest of all. Watching people eating meat and now watching people drinking milk makes me so very sad. I want to run over and tell them ‘there’s another way, it’s a good way, it eradicates suffering and pain’ but I know I will be considered a freak, a mad woman, someone to avoid. So, one step, then another, careful, intelligent and honest.

It can be a challenge being vegan but the saddest part is that the food part is so very easy, it’s going out into the world and spreading the word that’s difficult sometimes, especially when it seems no-one wants to listen.

So thank you for your support and if you are looking for more info on support groups then please check back next week as I will be posting some links to some sites of interest.

On a side note, I am still without internet at home so am posting when I am at my studio, my kids forgave me for the interruption as I made my last post on the way home from a shopping trip, Heidi was hungry after her less than nutritious lunch and wolfed down a full bowl of pasta and veg followed by a soy yogurt and then ate half of my evening meal too (we try and eat as a family when we can but sometimes it’s just not possible). She used to dislike so many things but now she eats so well, she eats her own meals and some of mine, all the time, even if I’m just having cereal and soy milk or beans on toast. Now she thinks everything I make is gorgeous – didn’t she used to be able to taste anything with all the dairy I gave her in her diet...?

Friday, 5 October 2007

Feeling alone in the world!

Hi, just a very short note today to say thanks to everyone leaving comments on the blog, I really appreciate your feedback. I am writing this in the car sat outside my office using the wireless connection with my two children in the back getting frustrated at mum! This is because we are rebuilding the home computer and I have no internet access so just wanted to say I will be posting again soon but I may be a bit slow this week!

We've just had a day in Finsness, a small Norwegian town, to stock up on vegan goodies. My daughter kept picking up biscuits in the health shop and not one pack was free from animal products! Lunch consisted of bread as we I could find nothing else vegan in a hurry (Miller is still cranky with the arrival of his first tooth). So next time I know to make a packed lunch!

Better go!

God helg as they say here or 'have a good weekend'!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

What do children think?

I often comment on what a bad memory I have. I don’t recall a lot about my early years. I have recently wondered how I easily accepted that eating animals was the right way to behave. I know people go to a lot of trouble to disguise what is being eaten and here are a few examples...

- Most people refer to meat so it bears little similarity to the animal being eaten e.g fillet steak, bacon, chops, mince.... No-one wants to say the name of the animal (notice ‘veal’ instead of ‘calf’). There are exceptions e.g. lamb, chicken wings but people are so desensitised it just passes them by. *
*On a side note I watched a tv program yesterday and a couple were having a first date. The man had cooked and when the girl asked what she was eating the guy replied ‘pigs hooves’ and ‘tortoise’. The girl was horrified only to be reassured that it was only ‘pork dim sum’ and ‘chicken wings’, whereby she hungrily tucked in.... Is it just me?
- Advertisements mislead us – see the happy dairy cows tucking into the grass that most real dairy cows never see, see the happy bouncing lambs in the fields. These creatures obviously live happy and full lives.
- Money. The amount poured into governments by the meat and dairy industries reminds me of the tobacco industries some years ago. We pay you, you promote us. Telling everyone something is good for us doesn’t make it so.

So back to my point. When did I discover that what was on my plate was a piece of rotting animal corpse? The answer is I have no idea. Have I always loved animals? Yes. I used to be a member of all sorts of charities and refused to go to the circus. I even refused to go to Spain on holiday due to the bullfighting culture. Yet all this I did whilst eating meat. I first became aware that I had a choice in my eating habits when I was around 12 and momentarily turned vegetarian, until my mum gave me a beef and tomato cup-a-soup by ‘accident’, then I somehow fell back into the routine. It’s hard trying something like that when you cannot eat with your family as they are all having beef stroganoff and you are having beans on toast. My family were big meat eaters when I was young. Every meal had meat in it or my dad wouldn’t be full. Now they are following a more healthy diet. Infact last time they visited here for a holiday both my parents lost a lot of weight and are trying to keep it off! My dad is constantly surprised when we make a vegetarian meal that is worth seconds! We’ve not seen the folks since turning vegan so keep your eyes out for my New Year posts from the UK!

I wish as a child I had more awareness of the suffering of animals for humans to gobble up their bodies without a thought, I wish I had a stronger character that had stood up for myself in many ways back then but most of all I feel sorry for the animals I ate, whose lives I took. I am truly sorry. Maybe I can make up for it a little by telling my children what the red lumps on the supermarket shelves, why we don’t have animals milk in the fridge and why we feel it is not our right to harm other beings for our selfish habits. Maybe if someone reads this blog and makes a change, making 99 less dead animals per year then my conscience will be lighter.

I believe children should have access to the truth, it’s unfair to them and to the animals to feed them food so far removed from its origin that they have no idea what they are eating. I’m sure fish fingers, sausages and beef paste would lose their appeal if the disguise was removed.

Take care of yourself and those you share the planet with x

Monday, 1 October 2007

Quiet Days!

Life is very different in Northern Norway compared to what life was like living in England. It took me a while to get used to the slow pace here, sometimes I even got frustrated with it. People take time to respond to emails and telephone calls, people are not interested in work outside working hours and life grinds to a halt at weekends and holiday times. Of course, there are many benefits to this lifestyle. Family is valued above anything else and sitting with friends over coffee is a huge past-time. When we first moved here I often forgot that the shops mainly close at 1400 on a saturday (I was used to taking a full shopping day on a Saturday back in the UK), I forgot that you cannot buy beer after 2000 hours. I forgot you can only buy wine at a governmnet outlet which closes at 1600 weekdays and 1500 on a Saturday. I forgot that nowhere except the odd petrol station is open on a Sunday. Compared to the UK where food stores are open 24 hours, Sunday is a day to travel to outlet villages for shopping trips or to go the the garden centre or DIY store. I wonder how much more frustrated I would have been in those early days as a vegan! I need to travel to a health store to get necessary items and if I forget I'm just stuck! So with a family it is important I know what I need, when I need it!

I have a local health food store now who I can use for limited items. I can get dried beans, organic rice, pasta, tinned veggie meatballs, veggie hot dogs and soya milk. I request things but it is so difficult for them as they tell me how much they throw away because people just don't buy it! They have kindly got in just for us, tofu and rice pasta and I'm trying to make a case for vegan sandwich spreads ('Tartex' and 'Tofutti' I can get if I travel for an hour and a half) and soya milk with B12. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

So, I find it is best for me to have plenty of raw ingredients at home so I don't find myself in a situation without food! Saying that I have noticed the huge benefits of a vegan diet is most things go into your cupboard and not your fridge and although I spend more on certain items, my food bill has come down.

Yesterday I spent some time in the kitchen. I have started to cook more and am really enjoying it. Heidi chips in too, she loves helping to kneed bread and stir casseroles. I had 2 new vegan cookbooks to hand and thought I'd try some new things. As you can't buy anything on a Sunday I was forced to adapt some of the recipes but thankfully things turned out really well. I'll not write down the recipes yet as I think I need to tweak them a bit to get them perfect but for a first attempt I was over the moon. The results were the most delicious soup I'd ever made (a Mediterranean tomato and veg soup), a variety of bread and a carrot, banana and walnut cake with orange topping. Heidi had a bit of everything and Miller had some bread and I made him some mashed potatoes with carrot and spinach. My husband Matthew commented on how impressed he was with both my cooking and my desire to do it!

So, now I am enjoying the quiet days here in Norway. I cook, I practice some yoga, I read or listen to podcasts - and yes I do actually have 2 children under 2 but when you are relaxed, so are your children...most of the time!

Signing off now as Miller wants to play!

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