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…

Make A Wish…

As someone who loves a huge acrylic statement necklace (Prue Leith has nothing on me) I surprised myself this week when I fell in love with our new range of jewellery. Showy and shouty they are not – Timi of Sweden produce beautiful, delicate pieces and our new delivery is a super sweet selection of their wish bracelets.

TIMI are a new brand to us and we are delighted by the love our fab customers have already shown for the collection. The company creates a mix of youthful, happy and fun accessories packed with unexpected details and was founded by fun loving fashion enthusiasts. At the moment we stock their Make A Wish bracelets but are looking to extend the range to pins and necklaces. They are beautifully packaged on individual cards and make lovely gifts.

The tie part of the bracelet is made from 100% silk cord and attached is a beautifully made charm made from either silver or gold plated brass. There are so many different styles to choose from – geometric shapes, nature, animals, hearts and they look great alone or as a stack of 3 or 5 (I can only do things in odd numbers, always looks better!)

The idea is to make a wish as you tie them on and over the months of wear, the silk will disintegrate slowly and once the bracelet finally falls off your wrist, your wish will come true. Once off you can always tie another piece of cord to the charm or just add them to an existing piece of jewellery so you can continue to enjoy them (this will not affect your wish, I promise.)

As usual, my dilemma is just which ones to go for – way too much choice! Don’t wait too long to come and have a look, I expect they will be very popular over the coming weeks…

Ruth x

Viva Tea!

The Kinks once wrote a song called ‘Have a Cuppa Tea.’ Not the most rock and roll title for a song, it’s basically about how much tea Ray Davis’ granny made (imaginary granny? Not sure, I’d like to think not.) Here’s a few of the lyrics…

Tea in the morning, tea in the evening, tea at supper time, 
You get tea when it’s raining, tea when it’s snowing. 
Tea when the weather’s fine…

The point is – just like granny, I drink tea ALL THE TIME! Who doesn’t? If you don’t love tea we can never be mates (bit harsh maybe, gin will do as an alternative.) All of this means I was absolutely cock-a-flipping-hoop when last week we had our first delivery in Spektakular from tea worshippers VIVA Scandinavian. A new brand to us, they stick to the Nordic design principle of form following function and use premium quality glass, cork, silicone and porcelain to create elegant products for casual and connoisseur tea drinkers alike. I’m neither casual nor connoisseur – I only drink vats of builders tea but their range of tea pots and cups has seriously made my heart sing.

VIVA’s collection maximizes infusion for better taste, aroma, colour, and ultimate enjoyment.   Using innovative filters, double-walled glass and non-drip pouring mechanisms, they make brewing easier, enjoyable, and more tasteful than ever. Each item is hand-made by skilled artisans, using carefully selected materials, meaning their tea-ware reaches us (and then you!) in beautiful condition and stays that way for years.

Below we have the super stylish Nicola teapot in white and cork – imagine that bit of design joy on your shelf! The Nina teapot in charcoal is a modern spin on the classic teapot. It features a large comfortable handle, textural finish and distinctive smooth shape. Finally, my favourite, the Bjorn – I don’t know why but I love see-through tea pots, something therapeutic about watching the brew inside swirl and darken. We have in stock the 0.75l size – perfectly suitable for normal tea drinkers, maybe a bit on the small size for me!

Nicola
Nina
Bjorn

Of course, you can’t drink tea without cups and luckily VIVA also do a fine range of these. The Minima Balance cup has a removable infuser and will give you the perfect brew without any fuss – no teapot? No problem! Anna and Andy are different sizes of VIVA’s Anytime Cup and are cheekily designed to look like disposable paper cups and yet are made from porcelain. My favourites I think are the Nicola thermo cups which come as a set of 2. They are super stylish and fit perfectly in your hand – I wish I was allowed more mugs in my house…

Minima Balance
Anna and Andy
Nicola

We also stock their stylish and useful Tea Egg – fill it with loose tea and simply pop it in a cup of hot water for a quick tea fix. Finally we have the rather lovely Nina milk and sugar set in charcoal, a stylish and useful addition to your tea making kit.

Tea Egg
Nina Milk and Sugar

All images by Viva Scandinavian

As you can probably tell, of all the fantastic deliveries we have had recently in the shops, this has been a particular favourite of mine – while writing this blog alone I have had 2 cups, tough job. Right Charlotte, get that kettle on!

Ruth xx

A Spektakular Fresh Start

Happy New Year lovely ones! Hope you all had a wonderful time, are fully recovered and back in some kind of routine as opposed to constantly looking bemused and asking what day it is! 

As with every new year, there are a lot of hashtags doing the rounds to encourage us to give something up after the excesses of the past few weeks – #dryjanuary #veganuary #nomorequalitystreeteveragainuary (ok, made that one up, but I know you get it.)  Personally I am giving up holding onto things that don’t make me happy – clearing out all the ‘stuff’ in my house that I once thought I needed or liked but now mock me from dusty piles and stops me actually loving my home as much as I should. In some respects it’s just a case of my tastes changing, since working in Spektakular I have morphed from full on Cath Kidston/60’s kitsch to aspiring Scandi (with a deep love of 20th century modern but they are luckily a perfect match!) 

Can I add here that I have never read or watched Marie Kondo but I am guessing we are on the same page here! I am gathering my army of Ikea bags (naturally!) and am itching to clear my shelves of books I’ll never read, ornaments I no longer notice, dvds and cds that lie redundant on sagging shelves and many, many half finished craft projects. I will donate, throw away and recycle with a force rarely seen in a middle age woman and won’t rest until my house is a minimalist dreamland (it’ll still be filthy but at least I’ll be able to see the dirt – hoorah!)

In the calm after this clearing storm, I will gather my now small collection of much loved possessions and actually enjoy finding new spots for them where they will shine and bring me joy again. I know that this will not only have a physical effect on my home but on me too – room to breathe and a calmer place to just be. 

This is of course all very Scandinavian. They are the masters of pared down design and functionality – yes things can be beautiful but if they can be useful and/or multi-functional too then all the better. Now that both our Spektakular shops have quietened down again and we have recovered from a brilliantly busy 2 months (thank you to all our amazing customers for your support!), we are starting to rearrange our stock so it flows and connects and yes, makes us happy to be in the shops! I truly believe that nothing should be bought halfheartedly, money is short for a lot of us and one carefully picked piece that brings years of joy is worth 10 bits of ‘stuff’ that we will resign to those big blue bags in 6 months time. We take great pride in what we do and believe in our brands and hopefully have the balance right between (for example) simple beautiful objects like the Lindform vases and Sence jewellery and the stylish but functional pieces like Aveva and Sagaform. I dislike the word curate – it is very overused but it does make sense sometimes so I’ll let it in on this occasion – come to Spektakular Home and Spektakular Gifts and begin to curate your own collection of design happiness (maybe have a mini clear out first, no need to go full Marie Kondo though!)

Ruth xx

Meet Verner And His Gang

Yesterday was just a normal pre-christmas shop day. We were all feeling it – a bit frazzled, a bit high as kites, a lot in need of a good sleep and a mulled wine or two. Then the delivery man came…

Unpacking the huge box, we found a note from a gnome called Verner. He politely asked us to take him and his friends out of the box, brush their beards with the brush provided and straighten their hats for them as it had been a long and dark journey from Sweden. As the gnomes and tomte emerged from the box and we quietly and carefully spruced them up, a weird calm fell over us. It seems nothing is quite as relaxing as combing the wooly beard of a tomte!

Asas Tomtebod was founded in 1993. All products are beautifully handmade with materials from nature and by the process ‘Tova’ which uses the curly hair from the Gotland sheep, unique to Sweden and mixes this with warm soapy water to make the felt used for the Tomte hats and noses. With beards made from sheep’s wool, each of the tomte and gnomes are unique in colour and texture and are wonderfully tactile.

Tomte are the spirit and protectors of the home, every Christmas Eve a bowl of porridge with butter on top should be placed outside to show your appreciation (don’t forget to do this, they can be a little mischievous – don’t say I didn’t warn you…)

Ruth xx

Brighten Up Your Bike

I loved my bike when I was a kid. My mum bought me a second hand one out of the local paper for about a fiver and I was never off it, disappearing for hours on end – totally free and untraceable.  I could ride for miles no handed, mastered wheelies and have some pretty cool holes in my knees from racing downhill too fast.  I was lucky enough to live somewhere with relatively little traffic and I wonder if I would have been quite so reckless if I’d lived in a city like Edinburgh. 

What I did always have was lights! It amazes me how many cyclists I see (or don’t see) at night who are practically invisible to me as a driver. Cycling is a brilliant way to get around and I’m all for it but please, please make sure you are visible – it is terrifying having near misses on dark winter’s night.

Which brings me nicely to the point of today’s blog –  Bookman lights and reflectors. I unpacked this delivery yesterday and did a bit of googling to find out more as they are a new product to us. Wow – check them out! We have reflective leopard print stickers that you apply to your bike and as you can see in the pictures below, they catch the lights from cars brilliantly (and look cool, bonus!)  Also in the delivery are magnetic reflectors that clip on your clothing or the bike itself – again giving you that extra visibility not just when cycling but great for running or walking around at night. 

The final product and probably my favourite because I love a gadget, is the Eclipse rechargable light (with USB cable.) It clips on securely to any bag or garment and every light is equipped with both white and red LEDs so you can switch between white light for front mount and red light for rear mount. You could wear these while cycling or running and they are super bright. 

So come on, no excuses not to be as visible as Blackpool Illuminations – we want you to be safe out there! 

Ruth xx