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

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.

IMG_20160706_122707572
Hemlighter (Secrets), charming boutique filled of lovely treasures 

IMG_20160708_181327105
Behind mums house is a forest and they just love exploring 

 

IMG_20160706_174946915
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.

IMG_20160713_114944071
Blueberry picking in the rain

IMG_20160713_124930470
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.

IMG_20160709_191733645
Stina with her cousin Emma (Happiness)

IMG_20160712_141627881
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)!

 

IMG_20160709_120734195
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

 

 

 

 

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!

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

 

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

Sweden here we come!

It is finally time for me and the girls to head home for a long summer holiday. Fingers crossed that the weather will be great (kind of doubt it) and we can go swimming in the lakes and enjoy a lot of ice creams and BBQ’s.

Don’t you worry Zuzanna, Ruth and Anna (Richard one day as well) will look after you. Shop is open as usual all summer.

And if you by any chance missed it, our annual clearance sale has started! Do not miss it!! Full of great bargains including lots of beautiful cushion covers and runners by Swedish Linum, super stylish table top by Danish MENU and lots lots more.

Stina, Lovisa and myself are heading home to spend time with my family and friends and hopefully suck in as much Swedish as possible. I feel like the summer holidays is so fantastic for my girls language (and mine, ten years abroad does things to your own language). We get to spend time with our family, and get bombarded with Swedish and for someone like me who struggles so much keeping up the Swedish with the girls, this is great. I just really need to make sure I won’t swap back into English as soon as Richard arrives (like I did last year). Even if Stina might answer her cousins in English at least she understands what they say.

As soon as Richard arrives we are off to meet suppliers and do a little bit of Christmas shopping, well of course we will see lots of other great designs as well. So got a lot of FIKA booked in (yay). Shall do my best in take lots of photos. Please do follow us on Facebook or Instagram. I seem to be much better at posting there than here on the blog. Then we are back early August, Stina will spend a few nights at her grandparents in Aberdeen then it is time for her to start P1 (aaarrrgggghhhhhh WHAT!!!!!!!) more about that later.

Have a fabulous July, please do pop in to the shop for your gifts (wedding, house warming, new baby, birthday, surprise, anything at all) or go on, treat yourself with some Scandi designs! Or just for a little chat. Have fun and enjoy this summer!!!

Charlotte x

Swedish National Day 6th June

Gosh I have not blogged for a while! Sorry!

Well time to remind you all that this Saturday 6th June is the Swedish National Day. So on Saturday there will be a few offers on some very Swedish designs in the shop (YAY). If you like to know more about why and how to celebrate the Swedish National day, well why not visit Sweden.se for more info.

Myself, well I am heading to Hemma for a traditional Fika. Then I am looking forward to a visit to the Canongate Kirk for a Swedish Summer service and then for all the grown-ups there will be a Swedish National Day party at Hemma and yes Richard and I will both join since grandparents are in town to entertain their granddaughters. This is very rare for us, to be out for an evening and very rare that we both can enjoy a glass of something since normally at least one of us is driving. Bring on Saturday!!!

Have a great week!

Charlotte x

Hello Sweden

Yes I have been home, for a whole week…all by myself! And when I left to come back here I felt like I could easily stay for another week, month, year or forever even! Sadly a week in Sweden was maybe not the best. I mean I loved it so much I did not wanted to come back here at all. It hit me hard how much I miss Sweden and my family and my friends. I have a great family here in Scotland and great friends as well so am a bit mixed feelings. I guess it is life!

Unfortunately I did go home due to my beloved farmor (father’s mother) passing away. Even though it was excepted and I did kind of say good bye to her last summer I was hoping I would get one more summer with her. She was not well, so was almost 91 and she had decided it was time for her to go. So it was a journey home for me to join my family and say good bye and tell her we love her and hope she will finally meet up with farfar (father’s father) again. No I am not religious, I just have a little hope that they will be together again. My sister had arranged a massive flower arrangement from us grandchildren and she had written on the card, give farfar our love. That made me cry and warm to my heart. The two of them was a proper team and I do wish there is some kind of chance for them to meet up again.

My dad, Farmor, Stina and me in 2011

I decided to stay in Sweden for a week and spend time with my family and friends and to do a few business things as well. And yes I left the girls back in Scotland, but they were being so spoilt by Richard and their farmor and farfar so they did not really miss me at all! Hmmm, well I will missed them terribly and I did look forward to cuddles and snotty kisses and lots of stories when I got back. This time of year there are no direct flights between Gothenburg and Edinburgh so I did the Copenhagen detour, flights and then train. Instead of the direct train from the airport I took the Oresrund train across the bridge to Malmo and then the fast train to Gothenburg.

Gothenburg Train Station
Gothenburg Train Station

Got 20 min at Malmo Station and yes a massive bag of Swedish sweets! Felt a bit sick to be honest. Pick n mix is massive in Sweden, this picture is from last year when we went to our local food shop and Stina started to jump just looking at all sweets. I hardly eat sweets in the UK, but happily gobble it down while home, and not just a little, but happily so much you even feel your teeth is protesting.

Godis

Having the freedom of being home without any children and not a lot booked in made me a bit restless, so I took long walks and also dragged mums dog with me. I love the forest but since I am a bookworm I have read too many crime novels so obviously I expect dead bodies everywhere and I have a terrible fear of snakes so avoid going out in the forest summertime, but after a few goes, I felt relaxed enough to just stop and listen to the birds and the wind in the high trees and just peace and quiet. You sometimes forget how much peace the nature can bring, sure is good for your soul (and guess what I did not come across any dead bodies, not even a bloody finger).

Also the opportunity to jump in a car and go wherever you like. Thank you mum for lending me your car. Went to my sister one evening and headed out to her summerhouse (almost every Swede has a summerhouse, I guess it is due to our long summer holidays and the urge to leave your every day routine and just go away and relax) and put up a few rolls of wallpaper. Not done it for a long time so that was good and nice chat too.

Ja ja, might as well do a little stretch while at it I even managed to view a house, a house I walk by almost every day when I am home, mum live across the field in that red house you see on this image. Location wise it was very handy and yes I was curious. And it is even more handy to have a step dad who is a joiner to come along for the viewing. Lovely house at a good price but sadly needed new roof and a new foundation so good bye affordable house. Shame, would have been great as a little summer house for us. Not a big house but perfect for a small family, instead of us spending a few very long weeks at my mums every summer (think we all get a little bit tired of each other).

Now back in the UK, I think Stina was more interested in the gifts I brought with me home than me (hmm). To sum up this journey, full of emotions, fresh air and family love. When the girls was in bed on Thursday night, Richard and I was sitting in the sofa chatting, and I feel asleep in the middle of a sentence. Now a week or so later I am starting to recover and sometimes a routine life is what you need to think clearly and logical again and feel less emotional. Am really delighted to be back at the shop. Do love our little shop and it looks so inviting at the moment.

I am extremely grateful for Zuzanna and Ruth. I can go away from the shop and not feel worried at all. I can even go away for a month and they will look after it which is fantastic and relaxing. Thank you ladies, the shop looks loved!!!

Charlotte x

Be seen, be safe…wear a reflector!

Delivery with more of the happy and fun reflectors by Swedish Popomax!

These are so good and they find new homes so swiftly. Bagpacks, school uniforms, handbags, prams, winter coats you name it!

In Sweden people always seem to carry reflectors, though my sister says she struggle to get her ten year old son to wear one, not cool enough!  But these ones he is kind of happy to wear because they are a bit funkier. Since I was brought up on the countryside the bus gave us them for free, the horrible hard ones. Often with a bank or insurance logo. But hey if the bus driver did not see you they drove by. At the moment I have noticed there are quite a lot of extra reminders in Sweden, November and December are really dark months before the snow falls and brightens it up a little. And people just need to be reminded a little bit extra now and then. Most accidents back home this time of year are with people not being seen.

Even though people seem to use more common sense on the countryside since often there is less street light, it is actually just as important to wear a reflector in town. Edinburgh is one dark city. I do not know who got the job to install all the streetlights but they did a terrible job. The side walks are dark, as long as the roads seem to be lit up it is ok. Often we grown-ups wear dark coats and we dash in between the cars crossing the roads. Thinking since you can see the car the driver can obviously see you. That is just not true. You as a pedestrian might be blinded by headlights and remember so does a driver, especially if it is wet outside. Other cars headlights and the dull wet makes you focus on the road and not on the side walks. Next time, you as a driver try to see how many people you see before 20 meters, good luck! And then compare it to someone wearing a reflector like a cyclist or a jogger (why do they wear reflectors and not everyone?). I bet you will be surprised!!!

10671318_863429340348450_3143613573503125534_n

I got a reflector vest for Stina and she is delighted to wear it. Got one for myself too but was less delighted to wear it, until I saw a mother and child out walking in Polwarth and wow you could see them quite clearly. I better get my vest on, even though I have one reflector on my jacket, one on my bag and one on my boots. Dark dogs, they are pretty impossible to see. Mum got a flashing colour and a vest for her dog and wearing a vest herself and something around her boots.

Now these days outdoor clothing is often decorated with reflectors, especially Swedish brands which is a bit of a trend here in the UK. Since my older sister used to live on a farm and also have two children we often inherited outdoor clothing from them. Brilliant, since the farm have big heavy machines and lots of traffic (people have their horses there) the children got proper glow in the dark outdoor clothing and these are great.You could probably see Stina from from the moon!

Now will you wear a reflector? I hope you do! Give the drivers a chance to see you!

And if you think a vest is seriously uncool why not a funky and happy reflector from us.

Have a lovely week!

Charlotte x

Star Trading Visit (Autumn 2014)

So I am finally catching up with all my posts and so on and hopefully I shall be better at posting images from the shop regularly before Christmas. Delivery after delivery is arriving at the moment and one brand I am VERY excited to receive in again is Star Trading. A Christmas at Spektakulär without our lovely, stunning, welcoming Advent stars and Candle Bridges would not be as amazing and fantastic as a Scandi Christmas should be!

So this summer when we where at home for our holidays we took the opportunity to visit Star Trading in Svenljunga, about 1.5 hours drive from my mum. Not bad at all,  so packed up and headed over for a little visit. Right, when we arrived, I think all of us, including a then 16 month old girl, first impression walking in through the doors to a 900 sqm showroom was WOW! We were all stunned and amazed, it was massive! And it was beautiful!!! Sadly non of my camera phone images does justice to how it truly was, so just imagine: brighter, bigger and more colourful!

Welcome to Star Trading!!!

It was very difficult to capture that amazing feeling of walking in to this room. It just went on and on. The girls and Richard disappeared in the back among the massive Christmas trees and of course cuddly toys that sang Christmas songs. They managed to set them all off at one time and Richard did say he never wanted to hear one of those again. But the girls were delighted.

Lovisa and Stina at Star trading, found the cuddly singing toys!

Malin and Mikael took me on a tour and we left 2.5 hours later, all exhausted but happy. I felt extremely inspired and excited. The colours of this year is grey, white and red and the shop will look so stunning. Our biggest order ever of Christmas lightning is leaving Sweden this week and I shall make sure I can be in the shop when this pallet arrives because as a shop owner every day is like Christmas when we get deliveries. Some more than others!

This year we have introduced a few more candle bridges, pretty stars, led candles (great if you young children or animals) and lots more Scandi decorative designs.

I leave you with a few happy images from our visit, think they will explain it better than my words…

And do pop in after 3rd November since the shop will look like a little Scandi Christmas shop then. Previous and current staff will come in on Sunday the 2nd and while drinking mulled wine we will create a wonderful winter shop for you!

ST 2014
Inspiration, these knitted balls light chain is on its way!

ST 2014
Lovisa and Richard checked out every design in the whole showroom!

ST 2014
The Viking Bow will join us again together with a friend.

ST 2014
Bull Candle Bridge in White is one of my favourites!

ST 2014
Trapp in white, red and grey will join us this Winter

ST 2014
Wall of colourful stars

ST 2014
Colourful

ST 2014

ST 2014
Love this one, TOP in two sizes. Will look stunning on an occasion table or in a window!

ST 2014
Must admit it is VERY difficult to decided which ones to bring in to our shop.

ST 2014
LED Candles, I love candles and with small children running around these is a great and safe option.

ST 2014
Lovisa and stars

ST 2014
Stina found a table a magically pens and paper appeared so she was happy colouring in while Lovisa found some stones (on display) and brought Stina one by one.

Do pop in for inspiration after 3rd November. Of course anyone can create a Scandi Christmas!

Enjoy

Charlotte x

Trevlig Midsommar – Happy Midsummer

Oh love love love Midsummer! Can not believe Richard have never experienced a proper Midsummer in Sweden, sadly this time of year we are always in the UK for some reason. One day, I promise you Richard you will experience a proper Midsummer in Sweden. And yes it is true Midsummer is a big holiday for us, just as big as Christmas…MASSIVE really! People leave the big cities and go to the coast or to the countryside. So a big town can become a ghost town and all shops are closed, since it is a public holiday. Avoid at any cost going to a big supermarket the day or even two days before Midsummer…mayhem no one leaves happy!

As a child I loved Midsummer, and when you are a little girl dreaming about princesses and so on, this old tradition I loved the most. You shall jump over seven “gardesgardar” (I had to google and apparently it is called a round poled fence), which these days can be tricky to find, but I grew up on the country side so not too difficult back then. After each jump you picked a flower and you made a bouquet, which you then put under your pillow that night. Oh yes you were not allowed to say one word, of course my older sister always did her best to make me talk, I was well annoyed! So this tradition, what is it for…well you are supposed to dream about your future love. Since I always talked (bloody sister) I never dreamt about my future love (met him anyway). But it was a romantic idea which I happily picked up, I still do love a good romantic story, who doesn’t!?!

So Midsummer, the longest day of the year. It is a celebration to the light and also when we Swedes start our holiday season. In Sweden, most companies or indeed the public sector takes summer holidays in a block. It is normally divided in two periods, early or late and it is normally four or five weeks (sometimes six) in a row. July is the industrial holiday where most industrial businesses close for the Summer. Sadly you can not choose if you like the early or the late period off work (well maybe, a while ago since I worked in Sweden), mostly it vary each year so some years for example my mum and her husband have holidays at the same time, some years not together at all or just a week or so. Of course you can take holidays when ever you like but not that many in a row. This summer holiday season kicks of with Midsummer and it is sacred. The Summer holiday is holy and you can create quite a long list of things to do during your holiday. It is so holy that it is all you are looking forward to during the whole year. Last year, one of my brothers company needed extra ordinary staff in over the summer and they asked staff not to take holiday for a massive pay out and that they could take their long holiday later over the year. My brother worked during the Summer (crap weather anyway), got double paid and took six weeks off (paid holiday of course) in January/February and went to Thailand. Why not, a cold dark winter, better spend it somewhere else warm in the world.

During the Summer holidays the teens work like crazy, it is a great opportunity to for teens to get in to the working life. Most companies hire summer staff to cover the holiday period. Four to six weeks over the summer out of a ten week summer holiday. It was great for me when I went to High and Secondary School, at 17 I worked a summer in a cafe and then started to work at the main post office in town to sort out post in the evenings which I stayed on during the rest of the year, did one evening a week, had great friends there, all my age. I made some cash and still had a summer break and continued working over the year and for a few years, spent the summers delivering post to the countryside, great freedom. Early shifts and still had most of the day to spend time with friends.

Oh I have gone off the topic of Midsummer… Well it is all about celebrating the start of the summer with good friends and family. We raise our maypole and dress our hair with a circle arrangement of flowers “Midsommarkrans” and dance around the maypole singing silly songs, oh I beg your pardon loved songs! Some dress up in traditional folklore dresses, which I think is really nice and think I might need to invest in one, or maybe just for the girls.

For me it is all about the food. Oh I LOVE food! I LOVE Swedish food. Every time I am home, it is like I inhale the food…have to eat as much as quickly as I can. The traditional Midsummer table has the new potato, boiled with fresh dill, herring and lots of it and pickled in different flavours, (just visit the big blue shop and you will see many types) sour cream, chives and of course a BBQ. Then to finish it off with coffee and Strawberry cream cake. And lets not forget the schnapps.

Check out this video Swedish Midsummer for Dummies. I posted it last year on facebook but it is just a perfect way of showing off Sweden at its best.

I miss these kind of traditions, they are loved and they are fun! Have a great Midsummer, if you have friends in Sweden, I recommend you to take the opportunity to use them to experience your own Midsummer. I will leave you with a picture of the Swedish royal family, because it makes me happy!

Charlotte x