03 May

How To Be Broke in London

Primrose Hill

One of the best things about this diverse city is how easy it is to find something to enjoy, even when you’re broke. Here are three of my favourites.

  1. Gardens. – Over 60% of London is green. Strolling through the gorgeous gardens can make you forget about all the problems in the world.
  2. Museums. – London has some of the best museums in the world, and most of them are free to visit unless you wish to see a special exhibition. Recently I had a splendid time at the Tate Modern, enjoying the art by the amazing Rebecca Horn, a pioneer in various fields.
  3. Farmers’ Markets – Being a foodie and being broke is not the best combination. However, I know how to lessen the frustration of not being able to buy expensive ingredients for your cooking or dine in fine restaurants. Last weekend I tasted lots of lovely food and divine cheeses at one of the Farmers’ Markets. Managed to skip dinner that day and my taste buds were happy nonetheless!

Greetings from Pollyanna! 😀

Swiss Cottage Farmers' Market



06 Mar

Movie Mums on Mother’s Day

motherIt’s Mother’s Day in England and I’d like to use the opportunity to celebrate diversity. There are all kinds of mothers in this world and movies have fortunately portrayed them in various ways. When you look at lists of movies to watch on Mother’s Day, they often list films like Bambi, Aliens, Terminator,  Steel Magnolias, Mamma Mia!, The Blind Side, Terms of Endearment, Juno, Beaches or Freaky Friday. Good films, but I’d personally like to add three to the mix.

All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) – Pedro Amodóvar

The Mother – Roger Michell

Transamerica – Duncan Tucker

Happy Mother’s Day!


03 Mar

Hooked on Trapped

The Icelandic TV series Trapped has been well received in the UK. It’s the first Icelandic crime series shown on BBC Four, in the popular slot reserved for what the Brits call Nordic Noir. Last week I had the privilege to interview two TV critics about Trapped, Alison Graham from Radio Times and Caroline Frost from The Huffington Post. My cameraman, Ingimar Eydal, went with me to meet the ladies and the interviews were aired on the culture show Menning, aired on RUV (The National Icelandic Broadcasting Service).

UK reviews on Trapped:

Sam Wollaston, Guardian

Ceri Radford, The Telegraph

The Week

Trapped on Wikipedia



11 Feb

Keen Spring


See those gorgeous Magnolias, blooming since early February in Primrose Hill. Meteorological spring doesn’t begin until the 1st of March, but they don’t care. Those pink flowers are a sight for sore eyes and make me happy. Like the Magnolias, I can’t wait for the lovely spring to come with its pastel colours and lovely scent. It’s my favourite time of the year in London.

Late February days; and now, at last, 

Might you have thought that 

Winter’s woe was past; 

So fair the sky was and so soft the air.

–  William Morris

08 Feb

Icelanders Lurking Everywhere?

11935166_10207271089349598_2445425891364538170_oLast spring I wrote about the splendid Icelandic indie film Rams, by Grimur Hakonarson, when it got the ‘Certain Regard’ prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then it has gotten several other awards and brilliant reviews. Rams is showing in UK Cinemas now.

If you want to catch another Icelander on the silver screen you can go and see Olafur Darri Olafsson in Zoolander 2, and if you want to see more of him, he has a lot bigger role in the brand new TV series Trapped, starting on BBC Four next Saturday. Trapped is the first Nordic Noir series from Iceland shown on BBC.


There are several directors working on the series, amongst them the director of Everest, Baltasar Kormakur. You can read about him in my blog from the beginning of September. Another is Baldvin Z, director of Life in a Fishbowl, which screened at the East End Film Festival last summer. Tim Evans was kind enough to share his thoughts on the film with me.

There’s another Icelander showing his skills on British TV these days. Gisli Orn Gardarsson plays Breca in Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands. The fantasy drama is on ITV Sunday nights at 7pm. Gardarsson is also known as the theatre director of Vesturport.

On top of that, composer Johann Johannsson might get his second BAFTA award for his score for Denis Villeneuve’s film Sicario next Sunday. Last year Johannsson took home a BAFTA for the music he wrote for The Theory of Everything.

Lurking behind the scenes are also two exceptional artists from the island. Heba Thorisdottir is responsible for the excellent make up in Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and Hildur Gudnadottir plays the cello for Iñarritu’s Revenant. There are probably many others I don’t know about. Icelanders seem to be everywhere these days.



27 Jan

A Minute with Mirren

12079780_10153090086422124_355767851808785471_oIn October I was granted the honour of interviewing Dame Helen Mirren on the red carpet at the European premiere of TRUMBO, directed by Jay Roach. Bryan Cranston gave a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify in the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. Mirren is great in the role of Hedda Hopper, the infamous and nasty gossip columnist.

Being one of the reporters on the carpet is sort of mad; desperately trying to get the movie stars to notice you and answer your questions. More than half of these reporters go home empty handed.  Before I knew it, I was telling Helen Mirren that it was the first time Icelandic TV had a reporter on the red carpet for a film event of that scale. Her attention was caught, and I asked her whether she thinks films can influence people and send dangerous messages.

10 Jan

The Agreement Rule

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12.16.00Now I get it!!! The reason for the strange look I get from Brits when saying something like; ‘Nah… the weather is not that bad. You should try living in Iceland for a while.’ When I watched that brilliant video, featuring one of my favourite people in the world, it opened my eyes to many things. I’ve f.ex. always wondered why on earth pub goers cheer when someone drops glassware on the floor.

This is an ad from Heathrow airport, but in spite of that it’s well worth the watch. Enjoy Stephen Fry’s guide to the UK ladies and gentlemen!


12 Dec

So Naughty!

Yule_lads_in_DimmuborgirIn Iceland we don’t have just one Santa Claus with a nice beard, dressed in red. Nope, we have thirteen troll like creatures, Yule Lads. They are not the nicest chaps either, really mischievous and bear names like Window Peeper, Stubbs and Meet Hook.

However, kids wait eagerly for their visits this time a year.  Each evening in the 13 days before Christmas, Icelandic children place their shoe in the window. If they’ve been good the Yule Lad of the day will put a small present or a candy in their shoe. But, if they’ve been naughty all they get is a raw and preferably rotten potato.

You can read more about the Yule Lads and their horrific parents, Grýla and Leppalúði on the homepage of The National Museum of Iceland.

Yule Lads in Dimmuborgir, North Iceland.

08 Dec

Christmas in Iceland

388431_2744590688033_340345582_nAccording to The Icelandic Tourist Board Iceland has become increasingly popular at Christmas. A record number of tourists is expected to spend the holidays there this year. It used to be a problem that restaurants and shops were closed for days during the festive season, but apparently that’s not the case anymore. If you are traveling to Iceland HERE’S a useful list of places open these days.

It can also be useful to learn some Icelandic phrases and in THIS ARTICLE you can learn 11 of them, such as;

‘9.  “Verða rauð jól í ár?”
Do you expect a snowless Christmas this year? – Every year, Icelanders (mostly Southerners) hope and dream of a white Christmas because in Iceland, it really isn’t Christmas unless the ground outside is covered in beautiful, white snow. A snowless Christmas is called ‘a red Christmas’, or rauð jól.

10. “Áttu malt og appelsín?”
Do you have malt and appelsín? – Once a year, Icelanders will mix two popular soft drinks together to create what’s called ‘jólaöl’, meaning Christmas ale (non-alcoholic). Malt and appelsín are drunk separately all year around, but ‘jólaöl’ is reserved for Christmas only. Every family has their very own secret ‘jólaöl’ recipe and the ratio between malt and appelsín differs from one family to the next.’

02 Dec

Life Will Never Be the Same

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.08.06The Australian photographer and travel blogger William Patino recently visited Iceland. Some of his photos are among the best images I’ve seen portraying my homeland. William claims after ten days in Iceland, his life will never be the same again. You can read about it and take a look at his amazing photographs on Bored Panda.

In a comment to a Aurora Borealis pic on his Instagram account someone asks; ‘Out of curiosity, of all the places you’ve been in the world, is there something special about Iceland that yields a burning daily desire to return?’

And his answer goes like this; ‘Watching the Northern Lights dance intensely across the sky for hours on end was a pretty surreal moment. That couple with hundreds of miles of vast, dramatic and unique landscapes with permanent golden light. That pretty much does it for me.’

I hope he’ll be able to visit Iceland often in the future.