The AppLounge at Meza

Whilst rushing through Soho yesterday in between meetings I stumbled across The AppLounge at Meza (part of the London Design Festival)

According to it’s website, The AppLounge is “a place to meet and discover great apps matched with accessories that fit your mobile life”.

Discovering apps over a coffee or cocktail? I’m interested. Sadly I had no time to pop in as was heading to a meeting with a blogger friend.

Divided into three collections; Urban Voyager, …On the Town and City Dweller, The AppLounge is on until 2 October, so there is still time to check it out.

You can read more about it on WeHeart and find them on Twitter and Facebook too.

100% Norway

Love Norway? Love design? Love Norwegian design?

Then you should get yourself down to Earl’s Court this weekend for 100% Norway. As a part of the annual London Design Festival, it showcases the best of the northern European country’s furniture and interior products.

Featuring established designers and rising stars from the land of the Midnight Sun, this is a must-see for anyone with a passion for Scandinavian design. Ensure you keep an eye out for Kristine Bjaadal’s Underfull tablecloth. This tablecloth turns what would otherwise have been irritating spills into beautiful images (*adding to Christmas wish list*).

Go to the official UK site for Norway for a complete list of exhibitors.

*Images from London Design Festival website.

The best of London: Nordica’s A-Z

If you’ve ever been to London you know how valuable the trusted A-Z can be. Fair enough, for Londonites with iPhones the A-Z might be playing second fiddle to Google maps, and can now more often be seen in the hands of tourists roaming the city in hunt of the next photo album shot.

However, in honour of the famous A-Z I have decided to take you on a tour of the city, sharing my favourite places and things to do in London. First stop will be A for… not telling you yet!

Watch this space!

Are expats better off financially?

Image: BusinessWings.co.uk

I recently came across an article which asked if expats were better off money wise (link to follow – just need to find the article again!). As an expat myself, I have had to ask myself the question: Am I?

For me the correct answer is not as simple as a yes or a no. My native country of Norway is known for it’s rather high cost of living. As is my adopted home city of London. And there are so many factors to consider.

In Norway, you might have higher salaries, but then the cost of living and taxes are higher. I have paid as much as £9 for a 500ml (that’s not even one pint!) of beer. Fair enough, this was on a ship in the middle of tourist territory in Oslo. But most places you will have to fork out at least £5-6 for a pint. Apparently the tax on beer is 17 times higher than the European average. This in mind it soon becomes apparent that the little kroner you may earn, quickly gets swallowed by VAT and whatnot. But then we don’t pay much for health care and university education is practically free.

In London on the other hand, you pay insane amounts in rent, don’t earn that much on average. I hear £25,000 is the average salary in the UK. But after the tax man has taken his share, you’re left with very little. And then there’s the travel card per month, the cost of living and the fact that each time you step outside the four walls of your abode, you seemingly haemorrhaging money.

Without going into more detail about the differences of the two “homes” I’m familiar with, I would have to say that I’m not better off financially here in London. Then again, I’ve only got two of the most expensive places on earth to compare with each other. Would be great to hear from other expats in London on this topic.

But one thing I will say. I am better off socially and culturally. With a metropolis like London on my doorstep, I’ve got an abundance of opportunities just waiting to be seized.

And I do save all of my little pennies in a jar, waiting patiently for it to fill up before taking it to the bank. As they say, every little penny counts!

Add some sparkle to your life

I’m a firm believer that every girl should have some sparkle in her life. Shiny clothes, body glitter, dazzling diamonds or… sparkling vodka. Yes, you heard me right, sparkling vodka!

I really should get a better camera

On an otherwise low-key Friday afternoon, MJ asked me if I’ve heard of the Swedish sparkling vodka Camitz. No, never. Is there such a thing? How do they make it sparkling? Intrigued by this never-before heard of variant of an otherwise well-known Scandinavian tipple, I gladly accepted the invitation of an afternoon drink experience. (Now, a couple of days later, having put the name and concept through Google, I’m beginning to think I’ve been living under a rock for the past two years. One article mentioning this very product dates back to May 2008!)

According to their website Camitz Sparkling Vodka is made of “the highest quality grain from the celebrated fields of Scandinavia.” Sounds good.

Equipped with a choice of two mixers; orange juice and lemonade, the bottle cork went pop. The result a great afternoon with a good friend, with gossip and laughter.

When it comes to the vodka, here’s a quick summary.

Smell? Having been distilled five times before carbonation, it has a crisp, pure bouquet (if you can use that when describing vodka?). I’ve been told that the less you can smell it, the better the vodka is.

Taste? Strong. However, with a 40% alc/vol it isn’t stronger than other brands on the market. Perhaps it was the time of day that made it seem stronger on the palate… Preferred it with lemonade, but that’s just how I take my vodka normally.

Look? The design looks like a bottle of fizz should, complete with natural cork. A nice touch is the names of its creators Camtiz + Lindberger embedded on the bottle neck.

Verdict. The novelty of a vodka that goes pop might fade with time, but the taste places it up there among the premium brands.