Swing Noir night @ Henriken

As published on henriken.no.

On a Saturday night that bites with a late Autumn wind in Oslo, listen carefully and you may just hear the hint of saxophone being carried on the wind. Follow the sound through the dimly-lit streets, led by the flare of trombone and hum of double bass, until you find yourself standing outside Henriken. Do you hear that? The vibration filling the cool air? With numb fingers you pull open the door and are hit with a burst of laughter, the smell of burning candles and the sound of winklepickers stamping the floor.

Welcome to Swing Noir night.

Stepping into the cafe glowing in pink light, you feel like you’re joining in on a secret. While nightclubs are overflowing and families are settling down for evening TV elsewhere in the city, here dancers swing their hips to the sounds of the 40s in a cafe the size no larger than a lounge. People turn to see who’s entered but it’s not a look that makes you feel like you’re encroaching. It’s inviting, yet there’s no pressure to dance. Sit back and bathe in the in the feeling of being transported to an era somewhat more elegant than our own.

Swing noir night
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Become an entrepreneur in 54 hours

Startup weekend Oslo

Startup Weekends are a global event, so wherever you are in the world, read on. Oslo Startup Weekend kicks off with a Microsoft pitch-training and app-making course tomorrow (10th October) and with it the opportunity for you to become an entrepreneur. Yes, you. Do you find yourself day-dreaming about business or tech ideas that you believe are truly awesome but you keep telling yourself, “I don’t have what it takes to make it happen” or “I don’t even know where to begin with this”? Then this weekend is for you. Even if you’re just a big, over-flowing bag of confidence, this weekend is for you.

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For the love of scrapbooking!

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As much as a nuisance it is to my boyfriend, I love junk mail and I think you should too. When our letter box is overflowing with catalogues and take-away menus, I haul those beauties upstairs before he has the chance to chuck them. To me, that pile of papers is a gateway to inspiration and a guide to achieving my goals, both career-wise and on a more personal level.

Here’s why: I scrapbook. When I’m having a mental breakdown because I can’t control what’s going in my life or if I’m having a day when I feel like I can take on anything the world throws at me, I attack my magazines and junk mail with scissors and I stick those shoddily cut out quotes, dresses and holiday destinations in my scrapbook. Once I’m done, I put it away and I make sure to only look at it when I need a reminder of what exactly it is I want to achieve, whether on a day-to-day basis or in the future.

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I’m keeping my chin up!

Hot apple pie proverbs piss me off. Until, that is, they actually carry some relevance to what’s happening in my life. Phrases such as “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” usually make me want to stomp all over that American goody-two-shoes filling which reeks of naivety and shake whoever’s spewing it out for being so distant from reality. But when my life takes an unexpected twist, I betray myself and hang onto these glorious sayings straight out of la-la land, if only for a moment.

I recently had quite a shocking disruption to my life here in Norway, which had finally begun to settle after a roller-coaster year. I spent a day or two shaking my fists angrily at the world and became very acquainted with the heartbeat of hypertension but then I woke up after a good night’s sleep, on a sunny and quiet morning, to peace. Peace with a dash of determination. Yes, I now have bugger-all for security and I’ll likely be living off beans and bread for a while but for the first time in months, I have an opportunity just for myself.

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Dreamfall: TLJ. I’m a rubbish at it and that’s fine.


My tab key is on fire today, while I’m playing Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. In between bouts of ominous creaking metal and blood trails, I’m soaking in the soul-searching eyes of pug dogs, my medication usually reserved for when I’ve stumbled into the darker depths of the internet, in the hope that the hairs on my neck will stop bristling. When I began the second instalment to the Dreamfall saga, by Oslo-based studio, Red Thread Games, I settled myself down for a casual frolicking through the flowers, open-world style. How presumptuous of me. TLJ has funny elements, naughty suggestions and an incredibly vivid environment to explore, yet it also has intelligent themes, the ability to evoke deep emotions and, occasionally, a hint of something more sinister. Such as the Victory Hotel scene, which I imagine is taking me twice as long as the average player because I keep having to check those footsteps were in the game and not my living room.

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Busting the myth of mentors

I’m calling out for a mastermind group. If you’re visioning a board meeting of evil geniuses stroking hairless cats, then stop it. What I’m meaning is something more inspiring and productive. I’m talking about creating a group of people brimming with great ideas, passion, creativity and sensibility in equal measure. I want this group to meet on Skype regularly for accountability. Essentially, we’d all have ambition to start individual projects but need that extra push.

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Young freelancers & entrepreneurs: a magazine concept, part one.


I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m bored by the moody models in magazines, the focus on ‘ten crazy sex positions’ instead of ‘ten ways to make your smart idea a reality’ and how there doesn’t seem to be a common denominator between high-end fashion and geeky gadgets in the glossies that fill the shelves.

I want a magazine that inspires me to do more: to let my far-fetched career plans to take shape and to look good while doing it. I want a magazine that tells me ‘You can do it’ despite not having the resources yet. There are some magazines out there to cater to the thirtysomething whose start-up is taking the world by storm, but what about those of us who are fresh out of Uni and can barely pay the rent?

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English etiquette: a no-no in Norway

With hands up, eyes cast down and cheeks blushing I need to apologise for being a bad blogger. I’ve been living in Oslo for three months now and have only posted twice but I pledge to you that from now on I’ll be blogging every Tuesday.

I’m kicking this pattern off with an ironic post: bad manners. Every country has its cultural stereotype and for Norway, it’s that the manners are as cold as the climate. For England it’s that we’re tea-drinking snobs or chavs, depending on if you live in the South or North, who never visit a dentist.

If you’re expecting me to say that these generalisations are completely wrong, then I’m sorry. Wow, it feels refreshing to say that. If I say it in Oslo, the average Norwegian will laugh and look/run away. Here’s the thing – stereotypes exist for a reason. They form and take shape when you come across a new culture and don’t take the time to understand the quirks that make it different.

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Suck My Æ Ø Å

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Listen up, wannabe bilinguists. I’m going to let you in on a secret: you don’t need Rosetta Stone. Nor do you need adjective flash cards, a pocket-sized phrase book or any teach-yourself course that will make you an expert in pronouncing “the man can run” in the Queen’s English but able to say little else. What you need is to step away from the inanimate and start interacting, and I don’t mean pricey tutorials over Skype. The thought of putting what you’ve learnt into practice can be scary, whether you’re at A1 or C1 stage- it’s fair to compare the feeling to jumping from making coke and menthol rockets to assisting at NASA – but I’m happy to make a bet that it’s the most effective way.

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Rule, Britannia?

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Patriotism is not my best asset. My nearests and dearests will know that I still get the British National Anthem confused with Rule, Britannia! and that I was embarassed to be seen with the new Firefly beverage in Oslo: choosing between the tantalising taste of Bramley Apple & Ginger and parading the Union Jack was a genuine predicament for me. Subsequently, it came as a surprise when I felt my ego deflate alongside with the vision of swanning into Norway and being given a job on behalf of my British accent and encyclopedic knowledge of tea. Of course, I hadn’t realised how reliant I was on my nationality to easily be granted access to Norway until I was at the Oslo tax office, waiting in a long queue of…and that’s when it dawned on me: “I’m an immigrant.” After years of being stuck in the British mindset of associating immigrants with Eastern Europeans, the neon flashing word of ‘arrogance’ came to give me a well-deserved slap.

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