Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Vikings at the British Museum

I love the British Museum but for some reason don't go there often enough. I guess it's because in London we are spoiled with so much to do. There are theatres, galleries and things like the London Book Fair, which I made a fleeting visit to last week. (I've written about LBF before here, so I shan't bore you with a report this year).

With The Englishman outside the British Museum
But the Vikings exhibition at the British Museum caught my eye. With a Nordic ancestry, I just had to go and see it. The exhibition was quite booked up, but I managed to get a 7 pm time on a Friday, and so dragged my Englishman along.

With a popular show you get crowds, and I must admit that having to queue up to see the artefacts in the first rooms did take away from the enjoyment of seeing the show a little. However, it is clear from the bits I did see, that those ancestors of mine had very good taste. There were intricate pieces of jewellery, swords and even decorative pieces for horses reigns.

Someone said it was like looking at a Habitat display from a thousand years ago. But then this friend of mine got chatted up by a tall, blonde Scandinavian type, on a visit to London to check out his Viking forefathers, so she might have been a bit starry-eyed by the time she told me about the exhibition. But I digress.

The coup d'etat of the show is the huge Viking boat in the final room of the exhibition. It's part iron model, part actual pieces of wood found in Denmark. With the videos, texts and more artefacts, you realise that, though there was quite of lot of raping and pillaging, the Vikings also ran a kind of very-ahead-of-its-time cultural exchange programme.

And although I wasn't chatted up by a real life modern Nordic God (The Englishman might have objected), I would not have missed The Vikings at The British Museum for all the  bronze coins in Jutland...

Vikings - Life and Legend
06 March - 22 June 2014
British Museum
Great Russel Street
Booking is essential:

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter!

I hope you all have a great holiday weekend! I'll be enjoying some mämmi (Finnish Easter dessert), Finnish Mignon chocolate eggs and Lonkero (not so traditional Easter fare, but hey, it's a holiday, right?).

But while I'm away enjoying the Easter break, you can find me talking about what it's like to write in a foreign language over at Jessica Bell's excellent blog.

And if you need a good holiday read, Kinlde copy of The Englishman is still on offer until 22 April 2014 at only $0.99 (or £0.77)! Download it now, I've been told it's quite a good read...

Hauskaa Pääsiäistä!    Happy Easter!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Holiday Offer!

I thought I'd let you all know that The Englishman Kindle copy is now only $0.99!

The Englishman

Don't miss this limited offer, the price of the Kindle version will return to normal after Easter on 22 of Arpril 2014.

The Englishman has got great 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Here's just a few highlights:

'Fascinating read.'

'Romance at its best.'

'Not just romance - a new important writer.'

'Quite the page turner.'

'Highly recommended!'

'A great read.'

'I automatically give five stars to any book that has me staying up way past my bedtime to read it and abandoning anything else that I'm meant to be doing in order to get to the end, and this was one of those books.'

Click here to download your copy now - 
remember the price will go up after the holidays!

The Englishman is also available at and all the other international Amazon stores.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Crouch End Festival Crowdfunding is now live, live, live!

I've written before about the wonder thing that is The Crouch End Festival. The event gives much pleasure to so many people from school kids to pensioners - everyone wins and the whole area comes alive with creativity, celebration and community. 

It's a great endorsement of why Crouch End is such a great place to live and work in.

However, the festival cannot happen properly without local support and so with a crowdfunding campaign The Crouch End Festival organisers made it really easy for you to donate and be part of the festival.

You can donate as little as £10 and in return you get a badge and we tweet about you and you get a warm fuzzy glow from really being part of the community and contributing to its wonderfulness. What can be easier than that? 

Make your local festival happen for the price of 4 coffees in one of Crouch End's coffee shops! 

Please, please, please help us make the festival happen by supporting the Crouch End Festival crowdfunding campaign - it really does make a difference to your neighbourhood and you just have to click here to start the process .

Come on board and help make the Crouch End Festival even better!

Crouch End Festival

Monday, 7 April 2014

My First Parliament Session

Ok, so I'm talking of a meeting of Finnish Expatriate Parliament, held in Manchester over the weekend, not the other one in Westminster...

But, as a Finn living abroad, and as the new head of Finn-Guild, attending my first Finnish Expatriate Parliament session was an important first for me - and a revelation.

Before the meeting of the Central European branch of the Expatriate Parliament (USP), I knew that this non-political, not for profit organisation was set up in 1997 to lobby in the Parliament in Finland for issues concerning Finnish Expats all over the world. I also knew that it was set up by SuomiSeura (Finland Society) and that Finn-Guild has been a member, and has supported this organisation (both financially and in other ways) from the very beginning.

One of the great achievements of the USP is the introduction of dual nationality for Expat Finns. I’ve written about this issue before on this blog, and for those who took part in the (extensive!) conversation here, on my Twitter feed and Facebook pages, I’ve still not filled in the British Passport application. I keep getting cold feet, and the price tag is such that one needs to be absolutely sure of wanting British nationality - but that’s another (long) discussion.

But what I found out over the weekend was that there are still many more issues on the USP table, ranging from better support the many Finnish schools around Europe, postal & internet voting; problems with inheritance, healthcare, pensions, and issuing passports to Expats; and wider access to YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Corporation) programmes abroad. These are just a few of the matters USP tirelessly lobbies for, with the help of Suomi-Seura, Finn-Guild and a veritable army of volunteers from Finnish Schools, and other Finnish Societies around the world.  These volunteers travel from country to country to attend meetings and in between times, report back to their members of the issues discussed and canvass opinions.

Finnish Ambassador Pekka Huhtaniemi
opened the Manchester session of the USP.
It was wonderful to meet all these Finnish volunteers, and to hear how they organise themselves in their countries around Central Europe. One comment which particularly warmed my heart, after I’d made my little speech about my particular society in the UK, was made by a lady from a Finnish School, “I wish we had something like Finn-Guild in our country.” Earlier we’d talked a  lot about information sharing, and at that point I truly felt that during that day at least I’d got my point across about Finn-Guild.

Finn-Guild of course wouldn’t be around without Guild Travel, which also had organised all the travel related arrangements of this meeting. If I had a penny for every time I was thanked about the travel and hotel, I’d be a rich woman. So you can imagine I’m quite a happy (although rather tired…) bunny tonight after a successful meeting.