Expat Interview

I answered a couple of questions for the website ExpatFocus about my expat life in Reykjavik.

You can read the interview here: Expat Interview Mariska.



Review Violife vegan cheese

Since October 2013 I’ve been following a vegan diet. This has mostly worked out, although I made a couple of honest mistakes. I tried freeganism for a short time too, so I ate some non veggie food on purpose as well. 🙂

One thing became clear to me during the last 1,5 years – I have a difficult relationship with vegan cheeses.

On the one hand I like the idea of eating cheese, because cheese used to be my favorite food in the world! I still struggle with not eating cheese. Therefore I support people/companies/brands that invent new vegan cheeses.

On the other hand I hate all the vegan cheeses I tried. They just taste absolutely disgusting (Daiya! Divina Teresa! Yugh!). However, when I discover a vegan cheese that I haven’t tried before I still want to know if it has a taste I can handle.

I first tasted Violife on a grilled tofu, cheese and mustard sandwich at a café. I felt skeptical but couldn’t really say that I hated it right away. This is why not much later I bought two kinds of Violife vegan cheese at Krambúð. One with herbs and one with olives.

I tried the one with herbs:


These are the ingredients:


And … I actually like this one! It tastes like a bland, very young cheese. It’s not the ‘taste explosion’ that some real cheeses offer, and it’s not as enjoyable as the real deal, but the fact that I can say that something made of mostly water, coconut oil and starch can taste like cheese is pretty amazing.

After the first taste I made a cheese and oregano pancake with it. Violife cheese melts really well and is suitable for this purpose! Tomorrow I’m going to make cheese croissants, another favorite from the old days.

I hope the one with olives has a good taste as well.

5 workspaces in Reykjavik (for freelancers)

For almost two months now the rental apartment where I live is being renovated. If you read previous blogs, you know that I had leakages and water damage in my room during the whole winter, and that my landlord kicked my flatmates and me out when we asked for lower rent (more on this in a future blog).

Anyway, massive repairs are now taking place. It’s impossible that our landlord didn’t know about these massive repairs and the state of the apartment when we started renting this place in October last year. I wish he had told us so we could’ve made a more informed decision about if we wanted to live here in the first place.

I’m a freelancer and I usually work from home. This apartment is my office. Of course working from home has its downsides, but I generally like it. I don’t have to commute, I can listen to my own music at a loud volume (and sing along), I can eat and drink when I want, the toilet is always nearby, there are little distractions and I don’t have to watch my stuff. For me it’s very convenient.

Because of the noise and the people working all around the apartment there have been just a couple of days lately on which I was able to work from home – I had to find different places to do my work.

Here is a list of the 5 places I worked at the most during the last two months:

1) The City Library – Tryggvagata 15

Likes: It’s a quiet place, there are big tables, there is a lovely view over the sea, Harpa and Viðey from the fifth floor, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography is on the sixth floor (free of charge). There’s the possibility to print for a small fee and free Wi-Fi.

Dislikes: In my opinion there are not enough toilets, and they are only on the first floor. You’re not allowed to eat or drink on the fifth floor. The opening times are limited, which means that in the mornings I often have to kill some time in coffee houses before the library opens (when the noise starts around 8.00).

2) Cafe Roma – Rauðarárstígur 8

Likes: A big plus is the location of Cafe Roma. I can just roll out of bed and go into this café. They have good tables with plugs and free Wi-Fi if you’re a customer. The design is modern and harmonious. The food they serve looks absolutely great.

Dislikes: Since I started working there they raised their prices. The coffee isn’t great however. It’s usually quite crowded because of all the tourists stopping by. And there is zero vegan food (which is a pity because it looks so tasty).

Picture from visitreykjavik.is

Picture from visitreykjavik.is

3) IÐA Zimsen – Vesturgata 2a

Likes: I like IÐA Zimsen a lot. They make amazing soy latte. They have a coffee happy hour in the morning, so when you order during happy hour it’s definitely one of the cheaper places. I like the interior of the place. The staff is friendly. Last but not least: it’s next to the library, so it’s easy to work here until the the library opens.

Dislikes: The café is quite popular, so it can be crowded at times.


4) Súfistinn – Laugavegur 18 

Likes: I like that Súfistinn is located inside a bookstore. The location is great, in the middle of the main shopping street Laugavegur. There’s lots of space, good tables and free Wi-Fi.

Dislikes: Their regular coffee is way too expensive. There is a loud coffee machine, and ongoing renovations nearby make this place maybe even more noisy than my own apartment.


5) Harpa – Austurbakki 2

Likes: I love Harpa. I really like the design of the building. It’s usually quiet and there are nice sofas. You don’t have to order anything if you want to work here. Harpa opens at 8.00, so it’s perfect to go to when the library is still closed.

Dislikes: Sometimes a flock of tourists is staring at you like you’re the main attraction in the building. The place is not really meant as a workspace.

Picture from en.harpa.is

Picture from en.harpa.is

These were my two cents on (cheap) workspaces for freelancers in Reykjavik. 🙂


Last Wednesday I got a bicycle! I’ve been cycling every day since then. 🙂

Wednesday evening I cycled around Reykjavik, Thursday to Grandi to buy a proper lock for my bike and on Friday to a dinner party and movie (Chronicle)!

On Saturday we cycled to Seltjarnarnes. Close to the lighthouse Grotta is a small hot pot, so we decided to take a break there and sit with our feet in the hot pot. In the evening we had a 4th of July barbecue, with amazing 4th of July cupcakes made by my flatmate: Cupcakes Recipe.

On Sunday we cycled to the beach! At Nauthólsvík we sat in different hot pots for some time and ate an ice cream afterwards. Cycling, going to the beach, eating ice cream, these are definitely summer days.

And … I finally got a book to work on again, I’m enjoying it a lot after all those theses I’ve been editing lately! 🙂