Back to normal…and party planning!

Hejsan, hej, tjenare!!

How are you, how was your summer? I really hope it was enjoyable. Myself and the girls headed home to Sweden for five weeks. Wow you say, that must have been such a fab holiday! Weeelllllll I am not sure I would call it a relaxing holiday!! Yes we go home, yes it is wonderful to speak my own language (basically the only thing I know in Sweden these days) and it is great to go home to be with my family. As you might know I am one of many many siblings and it is always great to see them all. One of my younger brothers had his first baby (sadly after we came back to the UK) which is so lovely! It is however hard to relax when you live in someone else’s home and you constantly worry you are in the way so no, it is not really relaxing. Returning back to our own flat and my own bed was actually quite nice. However this place, this place, sitting in the sand and just breathing that certainly makes me homesick! It is a small beach in a little village outside Alingsås. It is comfortable and it is easy for me to be in the water with one child that according to herself is an excellent swimmer (not true) and a non swimmer. My happy place! If I ever won the lottery, I would buy a house here!

Our local beach by lake Mjörn

Slowly we are returning to our normal everyday routine life with school, activites, work and all that stuff. For some it is super boring (missing the lazy days by the beach perhaps) and for some it is needed. For me it is needed, I personally need structure and planning to stay happy and most of all I need goals. Small goals, something to look forward to. And do I have something for us all to look forward too!

We are entering the month of September, normally a stunning month, still warm, a hint of crisp in the air and some trees will start to change colours. Autumn is my favorite season and not only that, September is also Spektakulärs Birthday Month. NINE we will be this September! Blimey!!!

Nine years of Scandinavian designs here at Holy Corner! I am not going to lie it is a huge mix of emotions and it has been full of challenges. But mostly happiness! We are so lucky to be part of this community and we do like to give something back. So during September we like to treat you a little bit extra! So what do you think? What shall we do? Well let us kick it off with a FIKA FRIDAY next Friday the 6th. Coffee and Cake on us! Pop in anytime between 10-12 (or until it runs out). Bring some friends, browse the shop and treat yourself or someone loved. You know we do love gift wrapping!

A typical Fika Friday at Spektakulär

Last year we had a fab day, we had birthday prizes and we were also up in our ears with Swedish buns from Soderberg . It was a great day and of course I would love to recreate the same wonderful atmosphere this year if not even better! So go on! Let me know what you like to see in the shop this September, what would make you join the party?

Charlotte x

Spektakulär Specs

Sunshine!!! This week we were treated to some beautiful Edinburgh weather and wow, doesn’t it make a difference? People are smiling, the mood is a cheerful one, we only need 3 heaters on in the shop and life is sweet. Ok, I am typing this after a day of cloud and drizzle but the sun will be back – we are having another glorious summer this year I promise.*

I buy sunglasses all the time, it’s a bit of an addiction – similar to the one that has led to a mug/cushion buying ban in my house. The ones I wear the most though are my mum’s old Raybans, simply because they make me think of her and on days like today when I am feeling tired I can safely hide behind them.

Having said that, I am now going to have to get my purse out again and reinvest my wages as Charlotte has just taken on a new range for the shop and they look amazing.

Proving that sharp, modern eyewear doesn’t have to cost the earth, Danish company Have A Look has a full range of quality glasses and sunglasses at fantastic prices. You can choose between plus and minus strength, while sunglasses come both with and without lenses. We are expecting a delivery of reading glasses and sunglasses and there are even bifocal sunglasses – glasses that only have a prescription lens in a small area at the bottom of the lens, while the rest of the lens has plain glass and acts as a normal pair of sunglasses. The lenses offer UV protection, of course bifocal glasses are practical, because they act both as normal sunglasses and as outdoor reading glasses.

The styles are modern and sleek as you’d expect from those ice-cool Scandis so there is guaranteed to be a style to suit everyone.

See you on the sunny side, Ruth xx

*please remember a glorious summer in Scotland can mean 3 days so I cannot be held responsible for any crushing disappointment…

Community LOVE

Walking to work on a Saturday morning and getting a phone call that tells you your shop has been broken in to is not a nice experience. There are a lot of things going through your head. I need to call the police, which number to use, insurance, landlord or not, get a hold of Richard, knowing his bloody phone is not working as it should. What is the damage, and as we were closing one shop this weekend it was basically empty so am thinking it is probably ok. Trying to stay positive with 25 minutes still to walk. But then you get the second phone call from the actual police telling you it is the other shop, the one that is jammed packed with fab designs. The police were waiting for me and they were so lovely and supportive. A person was really determent to make it in and he did but it made such a mess. The safe was stolen but it was basically empty (wish I could have seen his face when he open it) but it is the mess that is left behind. And the brick!

My shop is located on a busy side street with fantastic neighbours and the lovely Bia Bistot gave me contacts to phone, cake and coffee (a lot of coffee). A huge recommendation to Comely Bank Glazing who turned up within a couple of hours and replaced the window. As it was a Saturday our girls were dancing. A parent collected Stina while Lovisa and Richard came to get me and we all went home instead of hanging around a cold and broken shop. You go through a lot of emotions. I personally believe having your home broken into is worse, or a fire, it could have been so much worse.

But I felt really deflated when this happened and you go through a lot of emotions in one go. So I vented my frustration on social media. I needed to let people know we were closed but might have also just gone blaaaahhhhh.

Within seconds the love and the messages that flooded in, I could not believe it. My Instagram was filling up and so many private messages. I do not have the FB app on my phone so when I logged in I was in tears. So many people offered help and that is something I would struggle to ask for. But wow, friends, staff and fellow shop owners came in and helped me clean yesterday. Friends offered with playdates for the girls. My post was shared in local media and on a large local FB group. The community has sent us so much love and as I posted in one of my posts, one person knocked me down but hundreds pulled me up! You did! So thank you!

Lets help each other out, be nice and be kind to each other. That is what a great community is about and wow have we received some love this weekend. You helped me by showering me, my shop, my staff and my family with love. But you know what else you can do? You can help by support your little local shops, the independent cafes, the mum that works from the kitchen table setting up her own business. Pop in and even by just buying a £2.50 card will help. Log out from the amazon account and give the little ones some love instead. Head over to Bruntsfield or any fab area you feel it is time you visit (take the bus) and go for a wander. We all do need your support to survive! So lets all work together!

We are back up and running again and we are working on some great new ideas and will redo our shop ready for a busy summer. And yes of course we used the brick that was left for our new window display. Is it yours?

Is this your brick?
Please pop in to claim your prize*

*prize may include a mild duffing up and/or prison

** no cash equivalent as you’ve already had that

If you have any information about this incident, please contact the police via 101. Alternatively, an anonymous report can be made to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Charlotte xxx

Spektakulär changes in 2019

Hej!

As many of you will have noticed there is a “TO LET” sign above our first shop at number 11 Colinton Road. Do not worry we have a plan. And a little statement for you.

We are moving!

It is no secret that Retail is seeing some very significant changes.  There are large High Street chains that have fallen and many more in trouble from both higher costs and changing customer behaviour.  We are not on that scale, but we are not immune to either the rising costs or the trend to online. Moreover, it is hard for small businesses to compete when big stores are in a “permanent sale” death spiral.

Needless to say, as a business which exists to import goods from other European countries there is nothing positive in Brexit for us.  We can currently place orders in Sweden that can arrive without any customs paperwork or tariffs, sometimes delivered faster than a similar UK distributor.  None of this can be guaranteed after Brexit.

In 2019 we have the option to exit from one of our leases, and if we didn’t exercise that option we are committed to another three years.  We have decided to do just that.

We will be combining our Gift and Home stores into the shop at 15 Colinton Road.  Having two shops was an opportunity to explore new brands and we can take the best of both shops and continue to offer a fresh and exciting range. 15 is the new 11 :)

We believe in our shop and know the tremendous love our customers show for us which we are so incredible proud and grateful for.  We are viewing this as a tactical retreat, a chance to regroup and weather the economic storm. But also a great opportunity for us to be creative and test new ideas.

Bruntsfield and Morningside have great independent businesses, working hard to make the area a vibrant and attractive place to live.  They rely on local people as customers, they employ local people as staff. If you buy or see things you like, please be vocal about it – tell your friends, share links on social media, leave ratings or recommendations. We are part of a wonderful community and we love being a social hub. But most of all we love bring stylish, contemporary, happy and affordable Scandinavian and Nordic Design to you.

Thank you

Charlotte and Richard xxx

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

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