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!!!

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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

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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!

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Inspiration, these knitted balls light chain is on its way!
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Lovisa and Richard checked out every design in the whole showroom!
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The Viking Bow will join us again together with a friend.
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Bull Candle Bridge in White is one of my favourites!
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Trapp in white, red and grey will join us this Winter
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Wall of colourful stars
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Colourful

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Love this one, TOP in two sizes. Will look stunning on an occasion table or in a window!
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Must admit it is VERY difficult to decided which ones to bring in to our shop.
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LED Candles, I love candles and with small children running around these is a great and safe option.
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Lovisa and stars
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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