And we are back!

Hejsan!

Both shops are back up and running again after the Christmas and New Year holidays! This time of the year just makes me a bit gloom! The lovely Christmas lights disappears….booo! I am pretty sure you are all well familiar with the Danish word Hygge by now! Wow must have been the word of the year! And guess what Hygge does not finish when Christmas is over, no no Hygge is more important now than before Christmas (not jut for Christmas you know). We do need something to look forward to during the dark month of January! So at the moment I light up candles every night and enjoy a lot of cosy time with my little family, games, books and films (my kind of cosy).

Yesterday Richard and I managed to sit down and have a little chat about 2016 business wise and we made a plan for what to do for January and yay stock take time :) Well that is only one thing on our huge list. We have a very exciting year ahead and this year we really like to get Lilla out there! Time to make sure you and everyone you know knows Spektakulär has a little sister and it is only two doors away. Perfect for Scandi gifts and treats for you young ones. But let me just say thank you for supporting us, you are amazing!

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This morning my little helpers are in the shop with me and they are on quality control to make sure the toys we sell in Lilla is up to standard and yes I believe our Oscar and Ellen Doctor’s Bag has passed the test :)

Charlotte x

 

 

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Home sweet home…

So week one past just like that and we have done NOTHING!

Maybe that is a good thing! Going home was well needed after the last few weeks in the UK. As a Swede and a small business owner I took this whole brexit thing very hard. So going home has given me lots of hope and also some ideas how our business will survive this (well hopefully).

 

Anyhow! Normally we go to Sweden for a few weeks since I really like the girls to work on their Swedish, I am really bad at speaking Swedish to them…oh well we are getting there! So the first two weeks it is just the girls and myself then Richard will join us as well. We have booked in to see a few of our amazing suppliers as well as lovely friends when he arrives which will be great. But at the moment we are visiting lovely local independent shops full of designs I personally love, exploring the forest behind my mums house and eating way too much.

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Hemlighter (Secrets), charming boutique filled of lovely treasures 
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Behind mums house is a forest and they just love exploring 

 

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After a heavy rain storm, out for a slug count…57 I think before they gave up (Yuck)

Sadly the weather is absolutely rubbish here, I can not remember the last time I have seen showers like this, it is cold, wet, dark, rather dull to be honest (it’s very disappointing). We try to go out for some walks when the worst is over and have been out picking blueberries and wild raspberries in the forest. Buying blueberries in the shop in UK, well for me they are not blueberries, these ones we pick our self, we got purple fingers (Lovisa was purple all around her mouth) and they are really colourful and tasty. Also found lots of raspberries so once again I need to concur my fear of snakes and also tics… oh man I hate those tics. Found one or two on my mums dog and cats…yuck! Even though they are covered in lots of protecting stuff they still get them, guess it does not help there are lots of roe deer here and they are covered in those vicious little horrid unnecessary blood sucking creatures.

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Blueberry picking in the rain
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Super tasty!

Otherwise we just chill, which I think has been very good for Stina, she is tired emotionally after her first year at school.

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Stina with her cousin Emma (Happiness)
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A visit to my grandmother Ulla

So hanging with cousins, visiting family, playing with new friends, me having tons of Fika (yes all my clothing is a bit tighter than a week ago) and so on is rather relaxing. Oh yes and Pizza, no there is no better Pizza in the world than SWEDISH Pizza. Any Swede who says anything else is not a true Swede (I am serious)!

 

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Saturday Sweets, A must in when in Sweden

I hope you are having a nice time as well and that the weather is better than here (however at this moment I am sitting in the sun on the veranda, hope this will last at least one day).

Don’t forget I have wonderful staff who all is looking after both shops while we are at home. At the moment I am not placing any orders but the shops are still full of lovely designs and we are awaiting in a few deliveries so please pop in and find a nice treat or gift. I have notice that the amazing Tulipop is flying out at the moment, surely not back to school already…

And our clearance sale is still going at Spektakulär. Still lots of lovely designs. Please do note that these are designs that will not be reordered again so pop in and grab a bargain.

Charlotte x

 

 

 

 

Brug by Wunderlife

Brug by Wunderlife

During the summer you will get a few guest blogs by our amazing ladies at the shops. Yesterday we took on a new brand to us, and this is by two local mums. As you know we are strictly Scandi focused! This is the first time (and probably the only) I have ever bent that rule and I do that only because I believe in this product so much and I really feel passionate about the Brug. Rachael has written a wonderful blog about the Brug and please do pop in and try it out for yourself, I am taking one with me to Sweden for the summer! Charlotte x

 

Hello lovely Spektakular blog readers, my name is Rachael and I can be found in Lilla most Friday’s and Sunday’s.

We have so many amazing products between the two shops but I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to one of the very newest, the Brug from Wunderlife.

Brug by Wunderlife
The Brug

As a mum to a VERY active toddler, I am always looking for products that will make things that little bit easier, saving me time and allowing me to concentrate on the more important things in life!

The Brug is a fantastic product designed here in Edinburgh by the lovely ladies from Wunderlife, with exactly this ethos in mind.

What is a ‘Brug’? I hear you cry?

Well… it’s a shoulder bag that transforms into a rug!

The Brug is water resistant, lightweight, machine washable and folds away into a neat pouch when not in use.

A day at the beach or the park? It’s perfect to stow all your kit; chuck it all on the Brug, pull the draw strings, fasten the buckle and zip, and you’re off. The long straps allow the Brug to be worn on the shoulder or across the body, keeping both hands free, and even fits nicely across the buggy handle. Once you’re there, it’s super quick and easy to unpack, and with the Brug laid out, you have a base for the day.

Ideal for travelling, holidays and camping too, the possibilities are endless!

But it’s not just for outdoors, the Brug is perfect for use in at home too. What better way to contain the Lego, or even the PlusPlus, on a visit to grannie’s? Or just a handy way to clear way the toys once the little ones are in bed and reclaim your living room.

Personally, I love that the Brug is machine washable. As someone who only has to look at a drink to spill it, and with two messy men in my life (Husband and Toddler), being able to stick the Brug in the washing machine is perfect!

Come along to Lilla, to find out more about the Brug. Touch it, try it out and you might just love it as much as we do!

Semla (Classic Swedish Bun)

Right Christmas is over and it is almost Shrove Tuesday. Here in the UK it is also Pancake day but at home it is all about SEMLA. Seven Tuesdays before Easter but in Sweden you can sadly find a semla in a local bakery or cafe just after Christmas. You can eat them just as they are or in a “hetvägg” which is not my favourite. You basically make it all soft and gooey in warm milk (NO THANK YOU). I am not a massive fan of semla (gosh I can not believe I just said that), I mean I like them but one or five is enough during this time a year and I do not need them every day which is I admit a bit un-Swedish because the right thing to do is to eat a Semla a day from Shrove Tuesday until Easter! In my home town Alingsås, (Alingsås is also known as the one and only Cafe town, every second shop is a cafe) there is a competition who makes the best. The bun needs to be fluffy, perfect filling of almond paste and then the cream needs to be perfectly whipped, and for goodness sake make sure there is plenty of cream. Oh gosh the locals are hard critics and I think everyone turns in to a little bit of a Semla expert! You should see some of the comments they make in the local newspaper (eye-rolling).

Anyway here in Edinburgh is a little group of Swedish mums (and dads), most of us have a other half who is non-Swedish and this group was created to meet up and sing Swedish songs with our bilingual children. Now these days it is more about us grown-ups gossiping while the kids trash someone’s home. Our turn today and look at me I have baked Semlor and here is a recipe for you!

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Image: icakuriren

I like to say thank you to M who also made the bun big style and brought with her as well as L who made wonderful classic chocolate balls. I made mini Semla (no photo before gone). They turned out perfectly fine, I find the mini ones a better size really. Not too much and if still room just have another one (ten is too many).

Here is a recipe for you of the MINISEMLOR. I hope you will make it and please do enjoy it with a cuppa, or like us coffee.

Ingredients: Makes about 40 Mini Semlor

1 dl = 100 ml

BUN:

  • 50 gram butter (as always good quality and salted)
  • 2.5 dl milk (always go for full fat)
  • 25 gram fresh yeast (I get mine from Sainsbury’s, ask in the bakery)
  • 0.75 dl caster sugar
  • 1 tsp grounded cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 8-9 dl plain flour (480-540 grams)

1 egg (as eggwash before baking in oven)

FILLING:

  • 200 grams almond paste (see below how to make your own unless you just been to Sweden and bought some)
  • 1 dl milk or cream
  • 3 dl whipping cream
  • if you like cognac or some sort of liquor (mix it with the cream)
  • icing sugar as dusting

HOW TO:

  1. Melt butter in pan, add milk and heat to 37 degress (finger warm). Make sure not to hot then the yeast dies, if too cold it takes a bit longer before proving.
  2. Crumb up the fresh yeast in one large bowl, add milk butter mix and make sure the yeast dissolves.
  3. Add the grounded cardamon, sugar, egg and most of the plain flour.
  4. Work the dough hard until it feels light and ready (like bread)
  5. Let prove for 30 min (make sure no draft)
  6. Work the dough and make about 40 even round balls. They are small so don’t panic.
  7. Put on a baking paper covered tray.
  8. Let prove again for 30 min (do not cheat)
  9. Heat up oven while the dough is proving to 250 degress.
  10. Bake the buns in the middle of the oven for about 5-7 min, make sure they have a nice colour
  11. Let cool
  12. Cut a lid in each bun and take out some of the inner bun to use for the almond paste filling.
  13. Almond paste mix, grate almond paste, dash of milk or cream (the 1 dl) and the bun inners, create a nice smooth mix and put back inside bun
  14. Whisk whipping cream and put on top of paste.
  15. Lid on top and add some icing sugar on if you like
  16. ENJOY

 

How to make Almond Paste

  • 250 grams un-blanched almonds
  • 2.5 dl caster sugar

Part boil and peel the almonds, grind to fine powder in blender, add the sugar and mix for 5-7 min until nice smooth and warm paste.

You know this might sound hard work but it really is not. Not worse than making bread or bake anything really. It is just the proving that might take a bit of time. Why not give it a go and impress your friends and if you have a Swedish friend well this will be a massive and grateful surprise and I bet you they will be delighted. Everyone likes a Semla!

Have fun

Charlotte x

 

Copenhagen

Since Richard and I had the shop and the girls we sometimes struggle to talk about anything else than the girls or the business…I assume this is common called as life! However sometimes you think of things you did before this life (I mean the last five six years) and I think about our city breaks our just taking the car and go away somewhere for the weekend, and yes I must admit now and than I miss that more chilled life. However our girls are getting bigger and spending a weekend with grandparents is heaven to them and I know the grandparents love spending time with their granddaughters too. So after our summer holiday I got one of those spam/promotional emails from the airline we used flying back to the UK. Affordable tickets to Copenhagen! Well why not, asked the grandparents, asked Zuzanna to cover the shop and asked Richard to take time off work (well that was the tricky one since I liked to keep it as a surprise, sometimes it is good to have the shop to blame on). So Richard’s birthday is at the end of October and I bought the tickets in August, yes I managed to keep it a secret! I think everyone knew but not him and he was delighted when he found out (phew)!
So off we went, it was wet and windy but it did not really matter, we did enjoyed Copenhagen!

Even though we are not supposed to talk about business we do, owning your own business makes it your lifestyle! Owning your own business does not mean you leave work and have other things to focus on, no its always there. You do weird things like when having a coffee at a friends house you check the brand of the cup, small things like that! Anyway yes we did see The Little Mermaid (larger than I remember). Sadly lots of tourist hanging on her and I was not that touristy to do the same. We saw her, said hello and kept walking around the beautiful buildings. Oh I could move to Copenhagen in a flash, such a fantastic city. International, happy and chilled!

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Of course we have been in great shops, even said hello to lovely Jane and husband from our new brand Mirins Copenhagen and I am excited to introduce more of her lovely bath and body care products to our shop in the future.

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Spent a few hours in a amazing shops looking at New brands, displays and of course all the stunning Christmas Windows! Arrgghhh we need a bigger shop, I really like a great big space to show all the wonderful, functional designs, colour combinations or just inspiring designs… Oh well we shall see what the future holds!!!

Now if you have not been to Copenhagen, just go! It is relaxed and lovely, everyone speaks English (which is great because my Danish is crap). And this weekend Tivoli open its gates to their Christmas fair (which we missed…boooo)

Ohhhh LOVE
Ohhhh LOVE Illum Bolighus Christmas Window
Advent Stars
Advent Stars
SuperLove is SuperLivings own shop! So of course a little visit was needed :)
SuperLove is SuperLivings own shop! So of course a little visit was needed :)

SuperLiving amazing happy colourful candlesticks...hmmm which one!?!

We stayed at a lovely little Boutique hotel very central. SP34, great hotel, great atmosphere, great staff, great breakfast and hello wine hour (oh yes). Tiny let down was the room itself, but we hardly spent anytime there. And if you like a good burger, in connection to the hotel is Cocks and Cows, the burger place to go to! And just down the street is a great independent shop Nordic Nesting, well worth a visit!

Our lovely Boutique Hotel, just loved the wine hour and the opportunity to sit in a little library and read a book with a glass of something.
Our lovely Boutique Hotel, just loved the wine hour and the opportunity to sit in a little library and read a book with a glass of something.

Now back to reality, breakfast club and nursery, late nights in front of the computer and yes we are busy at the shop which is so fantastic. Thank you all for supporting us. Not all of our amazing stars are on display yet but we can go through them when you are in. And more fantastic Christmas decorations are arriving daily.

Charlotte x

Cinnamon Buns

Oh it is getting closer… a great day is upon us! Cinnamon Bun Day or as we say in Sweden: Kanelbullens dag! 4th October is the day and yes of course this weekend we will bake at home. Here are some facts by The Local that might be worth knowing.

Cinnamon Bun making

Buns are super tasty and should be eaten warm (just out of the oven kind of fresh) and with a glass of cold full fat milk!

So if you have never made them, well what’s stopping you? Why not give them a go this weekend. There are million of recipes out there, I personally prefer them super sticky and sweet with a hint of cardamom. Some people struggle to find fresh yeast (I have baked with dry yeast once…did not like it) however most local shops if they have a bakery will be able to sell you fresh yeast. My local Sainsbury’s do, I just head to the bakery smile and say please and 50g cost me about 20p. Well worth the money.

So here is a the basic standard recipe you can find on the packet of plain flour in Sweden. Now in Sweden we use dl which is decilitre. Apparently according to google 1 dl is 100 ml (well is that not convenient).

For about 40 buns

150 g soft butter (use real butter)

5 dl milk (use full fat)

50 g fresh yeast

1 dl caster sugar

0.5 tsp salt (I personally use salted butter and leave this out)

2 tsp ground cardamon (optional)

800 g plain flour

Filling:

150 g soft butter (honestly I think we are talking at least a packet 250 g when we bake)

1 dl caster sugar (come on, these are just guidelines)

2 tsbp ground cinnamon (well a little bit more does not hurt)

1 beaten egg for glazing at the very end

Right so this is how you do it.

  1. First warm the milk to 37 degrees Celsius (finger warm) too hot the yeast will die, too cold it will not prove as it should
  2. Crumb the yeast in to a large bowl, pour the warm milk on top and stir, let the yeast dissolve. Add small lumps of butter, sugar and cardamom.
  3. Add flour but save about 1 dl while working the dough on a baking table later (ok I had never sifted anything in my life before I move to the UK so you do not have to do that at all).
  4. Work the dough hard for 5 min in a machine or 10 min by hand, until it feel right (hmm, it needs to be airy yet firm)
  5. Let it prove, covered of course and out of draft for about 30 min. So make this dough then do your school run or enjoy a coffee or whatever you like.
  6. Work the dough on a baking table easy for a few minutes, divide it in to 4 parts. Use a rolling pin and make a rectangle shape. Not too thin but definitely not too fat. Thinner rather than fatter.
  7. Butter the rectangle (do not be shy). Mix the sugar and the cinnamon and spread over (so this is how it looked like at our home last time with did it)
  8. Roll them up as you roll up a swiss roll and cut in to 10 pieces . Put them either in large paper cases or on a tray covered in baking paper. Cover with towel and let prove for approx 40 min (do not cheat on the prove time).
  9. Oven on 225 – 250 degrees (I have no idea gas, but google tells me gas mark 8)
  10. Beat the egg and glaze the bun, we put a very typical sugar on top called pearl sugar and no I can not find it here. I buy it when I am home in Sweden, it will be fine without!
  11. Buns in the middle of the oven for about 5 – 10 min.
  12. Cool on a wire rack
  13. Enjoy, eat about 20 and either share or freeze the rest (always good to have a spare at home for some fika time)

Now you can use what ever filling you like, nutella, marzipan, jam…go for it!

If you leave them for a couple of days and they go a bit dry, pop them in the oven for a few min with a little lump of butter on top. And I like to defrost them in the oven with a little lump of butter. Mum had this trick back in the day before she stopped eating sugar. She took a couple out of the freezer and then put them on top of the coffee maker while brewing the coffee and a lovely smell of coffee and cinnamon spread in the house (we all have our tricks).

Now you better eat a bun this weekend! If you have an big blue shop nearby they have some “fake” buns (as my friend called them) in their food bit. They taste fine, never as good as homemade but I would not turn them down. And of course if you are local to Edinburgh you have Peter’s Yard, they are a bit here and there now in town. Lovely lovely bakes and the coffee is rather good too. Enjoy!

Charlotte x

Welcome September!

It is with mixed feelings we say goodbye to Summer and welcome Autumn. I mean who does not like the idea of a warm summer and long evenings in the garden with a tasty BBQ. This summer did sadly not bring great weather, at least not where we were. We missed the beautiful August heatwave in Sweden by spending our holiday there in July. But hey it was fine we got a few days of swimming in the lakes and one or two BBQ’s. We survived! Here are just a few images for you and for me to go a bit homesick (great).

So a quick Summer holiday note. Yes of course we went to Sweden, it is my home and where I would like us to live one day so a lot of Swedish for the girls and lots of amazing food for me. The girls and myself two weeks alone (well with my family and friends of course) and then Richard joined us for two more weeks. We ended our holiday with 24 hours in Copenhagen…oh Copenhagen we love you and we will try to do a longer trip there again next summer.

Since we arrived back it has been non stop, the shop has been repainted and it does look clean and fresh. Stina has started P1 and I did not expect it to be as emotional as it has been (think grey hairs appeared, not nice when you not even reached your mid 30’s yet or maybe I am just being shallow).

At least the shop is looking lovely and this week we had a photographer in to take photos for Google. So now if you google us you can see inside the shop. Of course we can not keep it looking this lovely all the time (you who have been in at Christmas you know how full it can get) but it gives you an idea of what we actually look like inside.

Now we like to welcome Autumn. I personally love Autumn. A sunny day walking in the forest with an explosion of colour in the trees and that hint of nip in the air. We are lucky to live in a country with four seasons. Even though not as extreme as Sweden, where it can get really hot in the summer and very very cold in the winter it is still stunning and I really need to make an effort to take the girls out and pick leaves and enjoy the colours as well.

Here at Spektakular you will see more designs and also some new brands, I have just placed our blanket and throws order from Swedish Klippan. I am very close to turn on the heating every evening now (not yet please) and it is also time to place orders for more candles. Autumn does bring darker evenings which means hello sofa, cozy blanket, candles, tea, homebakes and great books.

This weekend Richard and I will head to lovely London and two days of intense shopping for Spektakular. We will catch up with our suppliers, see more brands. After our visit to Sweden this summer I also fell in love with a few new brands and I have booked in to see some new agents which is very exciting.

But first, hopefully this week the first new seasonal stock by Swedish Sagaform is due to arrive. Including new additions to the so ever loved Oval Oak range which I am really looking forward to see.

Enjoy

Charlotte x