Glad Påsk!

School holidays – yay!! Long lies, chilling out, late breakfasts, hours of lounging ahead. Oh sorry, forgot, we have kids, scrap all that – we can but dream. Hope you all have some nice plans though even if it’s only doing the same stuff but in a different location – we all deserve a bit of a break from the everyday.

So, we know how we spend Easter – rolling eggs, eating chocolate, separating scrapping siblings, but how do the Swedish do it? Well, like most things they do it with great enthusiasm, style and a dash of witchcraft.

It would be a rare Easter gathering that didn’t involve some egg painting. This ancient tradition brings the happy colours of spring to the Swede’s Easter table and the eggs are then gathered together and used as a centerpiece. They are often later hung from trees or birch twigs with brightly coloured feathers and some are maybe scattered round the garden as an Easter hunt.

Girls Decorating the Påskris with mormor (Swedish Grandma)
Påskpyssel Easter Decorations with the cousins

A traditional Easter lunch is likely to consist of different varieties of pickled herring, cured salmon and Jansson’s Temptation (potato, onion and pickled anchovies baked in cream). The table is often laid like a traditional smörgåsbord. Spiced schnapps is also a feature of the Easter table. At dinner, people eat roast lamb with potato gratin and asparagus, or some other suitable side dish.

Påsklunch
Swedish Påsklunch being prepared
Family Påsklunch in Sweden

Just like here in the UK, Swedish Easter is filled with candy, chocolates, and toffee, delivered to the kids in large brightly colored påskägg – eggshells of cardboard or plastic – the bigger, the better. Every year Swedish kids are high as kites from skärtorsdag until late on påskafton, when the påskägg has been emptied.

Easter Treat

My favourite Swedish tradition is the Easter Witches. On skärtorsdag, Maundy Thursday, modern Swedish children dress up as påskkärringar (Easter hags) paint their faces, carry a broom and knock on neighbor’s doors for treats, much like American children do at Halloween.

The tradition is said to come from the old belief that witches would fly to a German mountain the Thursday before Easter to cavort with Satan. On their way back, Swedes would light fires to scare them away, a practice honored today by the bonfires and fireworks across the land in the days leading up to Sunday.

So, there you have a not in any way complete, potted history of how our own #superswede Charlotte would be spending her holidays if she weren’t here. Have a lovely one wherever you are…

Ruth x

All images are from a Swedish family holiday 2017

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Swedish Chocolate Balls

Homemade Chocolate Balls

This is a Swedish delicacy and a very loved treat in our house! Chocolate Balls! So easy to make, why we don’t make them all the time is because I basically eat 80% and share 20%. The girls and I made them for our Cancer Research bake sale that took place in the shop a couple of weeks ago and wow they were a huge success.

Now as always when I bake treats from home I use dl. 1 deciliter is 0.1 L or roughly 100 ml. This is a straight forward recipe, one bowl which is just how I like it when I bake!

Swedish Chocolate Balls

  • 100 g room temperature butter (use nice baking butter)
  • 1 dl sugar
  • 3 dl rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder ( please use nice quality, no sweet drinking cacao)
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar (can be found in Flying Tiger or use vanilla extract but just a dash)
  • 2 tbsp cold coffee (obviously stronger the better ;) )

Mix it all in one ball, should be sticky and doughy not wet like a batter. Leave it in the fridge so it sets. I normally do a couple of hours. The roll in to small balls which you then roll in either Swedish Pärlsocker (Pearl sugar) which I always get while home, but you can get it from Totally Swedish . Or alternative roll the balls in desiccated coconut which is very very tasty indeed. Then I store mine at home in the fridge or the freezer.

These are beautiful with a cup of strong coffee. Enjoy

Charlotte xx

Rice Kids Event

We are delighted to announce the first of hopefully many fun events at Spektakulär! Rice is one of our best sellers – there can’t be many of you that don’t have one or two of their bright, happy melamine pieces in your home somewhere and they are a constant seller for us.

I am always trying to persuade Charlotte to open a Riceteria – a colourful and funky cafe that uses and sells Rice products but within a super cool cafe environment – cake, coffee, c’mon! Anyway, I digress (again I know – focus Watt.)

On Friday 5th April we are holding a kids event where your tiny ones can come and decorate a rice cup with an exciting selection of sticky, glittery things then take it home and use it as a flowerpot, pen holder or just as a very splendid table decoration. Not only do they get to have a bash at being creative, you get cake and we do all the clearing up – what’s not to love.

There are 3 time slots – 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm and tickets are £3. It will probably be fine for you to drop in but if you book we’ll know how much baking to do!

Hope to see you there xx

Bake Sale Fundraiser

Hello lovely ones, Ruth here again. Many of you will know that our fabulous Charlotte has been walking 10,000 steps a day throughout March to raise money for Cancer Research #walkallovercancer. I have been keeping an eye on her progress (from the comfort of my sofa, toast in hand) and not only has she been hitting her steps target, on a couple of days she has done over 20,000 and many more around the 15,000 mark! Amazing woman!

She has discovered many beautiful walks in and around our city and I know she has really enjoyed being joined by friends along the way, all in support of such a great cause.

Cancer affects so many of us. My mum has had breast cancer twice, my unbelievably awesome friend beat it in a mindblowingly dramatic fashion and other friends have thankfully had it diagnosed early through our brilliant NHS. Cancer Research do amazing work and without the funds raised by people such as Charlotte, well, it doesn’t bear thinking about to be honest.

We have been so touched that our customers and local businesses have sponsored Charlotte on her epic journey over the last month and as one final fundraising push we are holding a bake sale this coming Saturday (March 30th) in Spektakulär where you can come in, eat cake, donate (honestly, every tiny amount counts) and hear about Charlotte’s daily ramblings. Walking that is, not her usual ramblings.

It starts at 10am and will finish when the cake is gone and if you have ever experienced Charlotte’s baking then you know you are in for a treat – it is fantastic! She hilariously suggested this morning that I bake too. Don’t worry, I like you all too much for that…

See you Saturday xx

Make Your Mother’s Day

When I was growing up we didn’t do Mother’s Day in our house. Of course my brother and I brought home the tat we were forced to make at school – enjoyable only for the break it gave us from Mr Woolridge and his fury at our inability to recite the 7 times table. Paper daffs, cardboard rosettes, mum figures made from loo roll inners – year after year of shoddily constructed offerings. Here you go mum, you’re welcome.

As we got older though we found that mum didn’t want Mother’s Day presents or even cards. She thought that if you needed to be told once a year to appreciate all her hard work, her unconditional love and the patience that we gave a daily battering to, then something was drastically wrong. So we stopped. No cards. No presents. No breakfast in bed. We thought nothing of it, that’s how it was. I know, I know.

Then I became a mum. Ellie was 9 months old on my first Mother’s Day. ‘She’ somehow forgot go to the shop and get me my first Mother’s Day card. First Mother’s Day – yep, I’ll say it again. First. Bit special. Y’know. I’m over it now obviously (so not) but from that year onwards, I bought my amazing mum cards and presents whether she wanted them or not. Bit of free advice here, err on the side of caution and get down those shops and maybe not just when the card shop tells you it’s time to think of her.

So, what to buy? You could go down the traditional flower route but we don’t sell flowers and this blog isn’t for nothing you know – it’s to tell you of all the wonderful gifts we have in Spektakulär Home and Spektakulär Gifts that are perfect for the wonderful mum in your life. Oh, where to start?!

Personally, feed me Lakrids Liquorice and you are guaranteed to be my favourite child (listening you two?) In 2007 the first Lakrids by Johan Bülow shop opened in Svaneke. The idea was to cook the liquorice in the shop, making sure that you could smell it in a radius of 100 meters. It worked. Everything was sold out within two hours. The last customer even bought the sample bowl on the counter. It is AMAZING!

Image by Lakrids By Johan Bulow

For lovers of natural body and skin care – we stock the luxurious and almost edible smelling range from Mirins Copenhagen. The company is one of our most loved and offers bath and body care products, using only natural and organic ingredients. All of their products are free of preservatives, free of synthetic additives and free of artificial perfumes.

All products are developed based on Herbalism and Aromatherapy, to enhance the mood in addition to pampering the body. Just gorgeous.

Image by Mirins Copenhagen

For something a bit different we have our Spira faces bags. We love these so much – the cushion range has long been one of our best sellers so we were delighted when they started producing matching bags. If you can find one that looks like your mum then you are totally aceing Mother’s Day and if not just buy her the Frank one – we all love a bearded, tattooed sailor (what, just me?)

Image by Spira Of Sweden

I have blogged about Lindform before but to save you the bother of trawling back through, let me describe this amazing brand again.
The inspiration for Lindform vases comes from Scandinavian nature with its organic tones and simple shapes. The company is a Swedish family business started on a small scale in 2007. They have since then grown to be a brand that is synonymous with Scandinavian design and quality. Each piece goes through several hand made processes resulting in wonderfully tactile, contemporary designs. Perfect as individual pieces and stunning in a group they have been a great seller for us here in Spektakulär since we introduced them a couple of years ago.

Image by Lindform

So, lots of ideas for you there and we have so many other ranges that would be perfect for making her day. Absolutely no excuse this year you lot…

Ruth xx

p.s. I spend a ridiculous length of time stressing over the apostrophe in Mother’s Day – is it your mother’s day or the day for mothers? I’d go the latter to celebrate all mums but gave in to majority rule #virgo x

Walk All Over Cancer

After months of sitting still and eating more rubbish than ever my body decided it did not like me very much anymore and my mind was all over the place (not in a good place)! After we came back from Sweden I started to walk again and saw the add for Cancer Research #walkallovercancer. I knew straight away this was something I wanted to do, good for myself (as I know my mind is in a much happier place when I exercise) and do good for someone else!!

#walkallovercancer is a way to help raise money towards Cancer Research and together we will beat Cancer. Every day throughout March I will walk at least 10000 steps a day. Some days this will be easier than others. Please support me by donate here to my fundraising page. We will also create some boxes in the shops so please pop your spare change in there and best of all 30th March (day before Mother’s Day) we are having a BAKE SALE in our HOME shop at number 15 Colinton Road. So please save the date and join us then for homemade Swedish treats!

This will be a true challenge for me as I know myself and I am one LAZY lady and I give up so easily. It will also be a challenge for my family as I am making them walk with me, but also a fantastic opportunity to explore the beautiful Edinburgh and also to catch up with friends. Yesterday I walked for an hour with a friend while our daughters were at dancing and we walked around Craighlockhart Nature Park. Today the family walked (girls scooted) from Craigleith to Davidsons Mains via the bicycle path and we visited the grounds of the stunning Lauriston Castle. These are places I drive past but never explore, Edinburgh truly is stunning and I think this will be a month of me really getting to know this city I have now called my home for the last eleven years.

Even if you can not support me with money please do support me by follow me on our Instagram stories I will need all the encouragement I can get and please do pop in to the shops and ask me how am getting on!

Charlotte xxx

FIKA FRIDAY

We are absolutely delighted to invite you to our FIKA FRIDAY! By now you should know that FIKA is the Swedish word for Coffee and Cake :)

Once a month starting this Friday 1st March we will invite you to a FIKA FRIDAY. This is a FREE event, it is a fantastic opportunity to catch up with friends or family while browsing the shops. Enjoy a coffee and a homemade Swedish treat on us. Check out the new designs in the shops and let us help you find wonderful treats for yourself or gifts for your loved ones.
We are thrilled to welcome you in for a chat and FIKA. Bring a friend and please do spread the word. The more the merrier as they say!

I am a keen baker, always baked but lately I cut it down a lot as I am also the one who eats it all (well I might share some with the family) and apparently it is not good for me to eat a whole cake (who knew)!

So I am sooooo happy I can bake and share it with you. Don’t take me wrong, I will try my bakes first to make sure it is tasty. My bakes will be traditional and modern Swedish treats. Basically because that is what I know. And that is what I am teaching my girls as well. I might adventure to try something new and if you think I really should know how to bake a Victoria Sponge well feel free to share your best recipes. One tricky thing with these recipes are that I only bake in DL. However 10 dl is 1 Litre and 1 dl is roughly 100 ml. I never weigh unless it is butter, but it says on the package and I am never spot on…crazy I know!!! I will share my recipes with you here on the blog, I just need to translate them first but they are pretty straight forward I would say :)

Looking forward seeing you tomorrow for our first ever FIKA FRIDAY!

Charlotte xx