The Moomims Have A New Ride!

I’ve had my eye on a particular LEGO set for ages, and am so excited that I finally decided to get it for me birthday and build, build, build! The result? Moomin and friends have a new ride: the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van! The VW T1 set is suitable for ages 16+ (not to be confused with the mini set for ages 6+). The detail is just amazing — from the smooth turning rubber wheels to the intricate engine, and the adjustable windows and accessories. 1332 pieces seemed a bit daunting at first, but I was able to complete the base of the car while watching the World Cup Final.

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My only criticism is that the top is a bit fragile (in fact, the entire car is) but I suppose it’s meant to be displayed in a civilised manner and not mashed about like you might a toy car.

America’s Little Denmark: Solvang, California

What’s that? A little slice of Scandinavia in California? At first I was rather dubious, but Solvang is apparently well known amongst Californians and I guess it would be. Unlike all the Little Italy’s, Chinatowns and other ethnic communities that thrive in California, it’s not every day you come across a Little Denmark or any hint of Scandinavian culture on the West Coast of the United States.

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I wanted to stop in Solvang partly to see if it lived up to the hype and also to see if I might find any Moomins (yes, I know, it’s not Little Finland but one is always on the lookout for Moomins). I imagined we would spend at least an entire day exploring what many have described to be a charming escape but sadly, it turned out to be a bit of a tourist trap. We were bored after two hours and left rather disappointed.

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Although Solvang could be quite the gem of a town to some, it really wasn’t for us and there were of course no Moomins to be found! There was plenty of ‘Danish’ tat — some imported from all over Scandinavia and the rest from local crafts makers and wineries. There were also some lovely Danish bakeries and chocolatiers but for the most part the shops were simply depressing and had an old musty smell to them.

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I do hope my review of the town doesn’t put anyone off having a butcher’s for themselves. We were blessed with amazing weather and the surrounding scenery is truly beautiful — stunning really. I should also add that it’s wonderful that the local people here have found a way to preserve their cultural heritage by keeping Solvang alive.

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As some of you may know, I’m all for tourist tat, sometimes the tattier the better but in the end all we came away with was a box of handmade chocolate turtles from Ingeborg’s, which were actually quite nice (and massive), but obviously not traditionally Danish. I saved them for home and as you can see, Snorkmaiden is nearly engulfed in these American-sized chocolates!

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I’ll leave you with a random thought for the day: I’ve been wondering if only local shops call themselves ‘world famous’ as I have never heard of Ingeborg’s until our stop in Solvang. I don’t believe Neuhaus, Godiva, Lindt, or even Cadbury bother to slap the phrase on their packaging as they truly are internationally known. What do you think?

Moomin Invasion

7 September 2012 marked one year since I wrote my first Moomin related blog post, The Wonderful World of Moomin. Since then many of you have watched me plunge deeper into Moomin mania. I hadn’t even thought about it, but I should have expected the month of September would bring, as the hubs would call it, a Moomin invasion.

I suppose the Moomins had slowly been planning their attack all year long, month by month creeping into our house. And before we knew it, our entire dining table was covered in Moomin merchandise as the mother of all Moomin parcels arrived just in time for the weekend (with many thanks again to my darling Miss V)!

I had been anticipating the arrival of this parcel since August but even I had forgotten the contents of the box and am a bit embarrassed by how much I had actually ordered. That said, I am incredibly grateful to be able to treat myself to a few Moomin goodies now and again (a bit of an understatement, I know). I love it all but am especially excited about the new bath towels from Afternoon Tea:

And these lovely blue and red Moomin coasters:

And as if that wasn’t enough to keep me happy, I finally added Snorkmaiden to my Arabia mug and bowl collection (thanks to Artbox UK) which is due to arrive any day next week. After all this excitement, I reckon I should be able to stick to my Moomin Non-Purchasing Agreement for the rest of the erm…month (aiming for year, as we really must save for Finland 2014)!

Moomin Shops Abound In Iceland

A Moomin fan never tires of discovering new shops that carry Moomin goods. And what better place to find Moomin while on holiday than Iceland! Although I didn’t find a shop dedicated entirely to Moomin, I was absolutely chuffed to find an array of Moomin merchandise sold in Reykjavik — from boutique shops and children’s toy shops to various homeware shops at Kringlan Mall. The selection in various stores mainly contained standard mugs and bowls, as well as some flatware. Even though you may not find the latest Moomin goods, it warms my heart to know that a Moomin fan base does in fact exist in Iceland.

You’d think I’d be all Moomin’ed out by now, but I couldn’t leave Iceland without picking up a few items that I had been holding off on getting for a while, like these lovely eco totes sold in EPAL, a chic design shop. There is a location in Harpa as well as the departure lounge at Keflavík International Airport. The airport shop had a larger selection of goods and the prices were cheaper (possibly because of the whole duty free thing, but better than having to deal with another VAT refund form).

I also found these adorable Moomin notecards in Eymundsson, Iceland’s oldest and largest bookseller. You’ll also find some great books not sold on Amazon in store. I highly recommend making a stop at one of the Eymundsson bookstores during your stay in Iceland.

Moomin and Snorkmaiden

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Moominpappa and The Moomins — I was surprised there wasn’t a card dedicated to Moominmamma

Holy Mother of Moomin!

Moominmamma, Moominpappa, Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden

Without getting too much into how I feel about organised religion, I wanted to take a moment to address some of the points made on The Landover Baptist Church Forum, where a certain Alphonse Alban claims that the Moomins are one step away from being Satan’s concubine. My first response was of course, wtf?! Is he joking? On second glance, I realised that the sorry little bugger was serious and so I thought, blasphemy! Where do people come up with this nonsense?

Before I continue, I should clarify that I don’t know much about this site and don’t care to know more. I’m not a member of this forum and neither is my friend who pointed me to it. I thought it ironic that this Alphonse Alban character had a Moomin icon next to his name (among many others), which I thought meant he was a Moomin-lover but it somehow symbolises ‘ex-Scandinavian’. Erm…okay?

I’m not sure what happened to Alban to make him so bitter toward Tove Jannson and her work, but for someone who hates the Moomins he sure has spent a lot of time researching them and seems to know them well enough to put his own spin on what he thinks they represent.  Perhaps he had a falling out with Snorkmaiden and is jealous of Moomin? In any case, I think he’s a bit mental.

I strongly urge you to read his comical rundown of the inhabitants of Moominvalley. But it’s not just his absurd interpretation of the Moomins that bothers me. He also makes some references toward Japanese people and the tragic events of 11 March, as if to say their appreciation for Moomin contributed to the cause of the earthquake and tsunami:

“Recent display of God’s wrath upon Japan, may launch waves of illegal chink immigrants on your way. As they are from Japan, there is big risk that they have been infected by Moomins, and it is vital that you recognize the symptoms”.

There’s no point in arguing with a raving lunatic but come on, let’s not go there. However, if you must, at least get your racial slurs right. But what’s scarier is if you look at the responses, there are actually people that agree with him! Shudder.

It never ceases to amaze me how people can over-analyse the crap out of innocent children’s stories (i.e. Winnie-the-Pooh) and try to villainise the characters. I thought it fitting to leave you with my favourite quote from Mr. Alban, which highlights how deluded he is.

“So heed my warning. Stay way from Moomins! They have only been designed to lead children into damnation. If you ever come by ANY Moomin related material, you must burn it immediately, but use gloves before touching Moomin products. So great is the evil behind the Moomins that even short exposure can be harmful to your soul”.

What has this tormented soul taught me about my own beliefs, cultural heritage, and love for Moomin? Not much, to be honest. He gave me a good laugh and made me even more mad for Moomin. So to all Moomin fans, heed my words! Embrace your love for Moomins! If you ever get your hands on ANY Moomin related material, you must blog and tweet about it and share it with the world!