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

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Lovely Linens

Years ago I met my dad for lunch and he told me he had seen some beautiful tea towels and he’d like to buy me a selection for my birthday. I was 17. Needless to say I didn’t quite get what he’d seen in them and I got the money instead. Now I’m (ahem) a few years older I can totally see where he was coming from and feel a little bad about it (although I have teenagers and if I offered to buy them tea towels for their Christmas this year, I would get a similar reaction!)

This week we had a delivery of Ekelund tea towels, runners and tablecloths and they are so gorgeous you could actually frame them (and if you want to, we have just the frames!) Designs and patterns range from classic to contemporary and each is truly Scandinavian. For 16 generations, and over 450 years, the family has made textiles and Ekelund Weavers is the oldest documented textile company still in existence and the quality of materials and weaving shines out of all their products. I know, get me – how things change! 

In both shops we have a wide selection of Christmas, traditional, contemporary and even Moomin designs – all organic and produced in Ekelund’s environmentally friendly, green factory. Beautiful on a Christmas table or just for every day use, come along and see them for yourselves – we’re pretty sure you’ll love them! 

Ruth xx

Stina’s Pepparkakor

A while back we talked about Small Business Saturday and were thinking what we could do this year. Last year we had an competition and then I suggested homebakes. Everyone love Swedish baked treats…right!!!

Then Stina said she like to bake gingerbreads and sell them and so we did. Stina has worked so hard for this. I made her the gingerbread dough, she made her own labels and was very concerned while baking her gingerbreads. It had to be just right thickness and shapes and so on. And she is so proud of herself and I am too. This is a great way of learning to work for something and earn your own money. No this is not going to charity but her dream holiday. For years she has nagged us to go to Disneyland Paris and we have said one day, but you need to save some of your money for spending money while there and wow has she worked hard for this.

Please join us today this Small Business Saturday to celebrate the start of the lovely cosy month of December. I personally love December, it is a great atmosphere at the shops, and at home all my advent lights are up and the house often smell amazing with all the Christmas bakes.

Here is my (well Stina’s) recipe for tasty Swedish pepparkakor.

Swedish Pepparkakor
  • 300 g butter (I used Lurpak)
  • 5 dl caster sugar
  • 1 dl syrup
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground cardamon (top tip, flying tiger is selling this ready)
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 dl cold water
  • 1.5 L plain flour (I used about 1 – 1.2 L and then saved some for the baking
  • (A dl is a decilitre, so equal to 100 ml)

    Soft butter (leave it out for some time) mixed well with sugar and syrup.

    All spices and bicarbonate in the mix, finally water and flour. Do not put all the flour in straight away but add some at the time to get a good firm dough, if too much flour it will be very dry and not tasty.

    Leave in fridge for at least 24 hours.

    Then baking time, use flour to make sure the dough does not stick to the table, but not too much then the gingerbreads get too dry. All about LAGOM :)

    OVEN 200-225 °C, time 4-5 minutes.

    Be careful and keep an eye on them, try to put the same sizes and thickness on the same tray. Also avoid fan oven, I did one and that one burnt (!!). Put someone on oven duty!

    Once out of the oven, let them swiftly cool down on a rack grid. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk (might be needed if you eat a lot of dough while baking)

    Charlotte x

    Time To Shine

    Ok, it’s that time of year again when I feel it’s my duty to put my mum hat on with you all (don’t worry, you’re not in trouble and I’ve brought snacks.)

    It’s November. I know, don’t get me started on time flying and all that, but c’mon, where does it go? This time of year can be beautiful and recently we have been treated to some stunning Edinburgh sunrises and sunsets and the kind of cold, crisp weather that keeps me here. However November sunsets inevitably lead to only one thing – darkness! Even at this very moment I am in the shop, it’s 3.20pm and I can see the light fading outside. Any minute now the kids will be excitedly belting out of school and this year, as ever, we have just the thing to help keep them (and you) safe on the journey home.

    A reflector is an essential safety item for anyone who is spending time outside in low visibility conditions. It can reflect the light from an oncoming vehicle and make you visible from up to 125 meters (400 feet) away, compared to only 30 meters (100 feet) away without one and that really could make all the difference.

    We have stocked reflectors for many years and we love a delivery of the bright happy designs. At the moment our chosen brand is Firefly as we have found they are well made, stylish, fun and most importantly super reflective. Designed in Sweden they really are fantastic and deliver what they promise – great visibility. I have loads, my kids have loads, my dog Boo has probably more than she needs but hey, she’s black and totally invisible when walking at night! I love the Bowie style lightning bolt (I have a sticker one on my jacket and a chain one on my bag.) My kids might think they’re too cool for reflectors now they are teens but still have them on their bags and probably need them more since they are out by themselves so much. My favourite at the moment is the new tassel reflector. They are gorgeous and come in a variety of colours each with a sturdy clip and a heart charm – I think Boo is in for another little treat!

    Competition winners!

    Hejsan!

    Oh thank you all for coming to see us during our birthday celebrations and thank you for entering or 8 years, 8 days, 8 prizes competition! Thank you for signing up for our newsletter, to be honest newsletter has always being at the bottom of my list but it is time to change that because I think it is a nice way to stay in touch with a company/brand you like.

    By using random.org we have found our eight winners who will all be contacted privately by email.

    Once again thank you all so much for your love and support. We have now entered our busy month preparing for the most wonderful festival season in our shops. If everything goes according to plan our Christmas shop will open on Monday the 22nd October at 10 am. I am planning a Christmas shop grand opening event as well, but that will be announced once it is all organised. But first I still have a few Christmas orders to place. However for the next 20 days pop in an enjoy our cosy Autumn shops. If you are cold, well we got the wool blankets, if you are in hunt for a gift, well we got gorgeous Scandi designs :)

    Charlotte xx

    Spektakulär IN-STORE competitions

    img_20180925_201403_079-1578346627.jpg8 YEARS – 8 DAYS – 8 PRIZES

    It’s our 8th birthday this September and we are treating you all with lovely competition prizes as a thank you!

    Yes we have gone old school and are doing a birthday IN-STORE competition, because we really like you to come and visit us :) For all the clicks and likes we get on social media, we still enjoy when people to come in and see us in the shop, we love a good chat!

    All you have to do is to come inside the shop any of days until Saturday the 29th September and say hi, sign up for a news letter and that makes you enter our competition. You only have to do it once, you automatically enter to win either of all eight prizes. If you really really don’t want to sign up for the newsletter, that is ok too. It will still be nice to see you.

    So what are the prizes then you ask???!!!!

    1. The Sagaform Oval Oak Red Wine Carafe (one of first designs in the shop and still one of our best sellers)
    2. A Spira of Sweden Face (Friend) Cushion with a feather inner cushion
    3. A Lindform Candle holder with your choice of a Ester & Erik candle
    4. A Maileg superhero mouse in his suitcase
    5. Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature cook book
    6. A pair of Sence Copenhagen Ear Rings (of your choice, of what in store)
    7. A Plus Plus Learn to Build Set
    8. A Stelton To Go cup 0.2L (of what in store)

    I would also take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who came to the shop on Saturday for our birthday celebrations. We had teamed up with wonderful Söderberg so tons and tons of Swedish buns and they all went :)

    Did you know they recently open a new shop/bakery on Morningside Road? Go and check it out, great coffee, fab treats and a stunning setting. The perfect place to meet up for a fika!

    We are very very grateful to you all for your love and support during these last eight years. We are working hard to bring the best designs we can find and have a friendly, stylish store with character, but can only be a success with your support!

    Thank you all

    Charlotte and Richard xxx

    Eight years of Spektakulär!!

    Hejsan!!

    Oh yes we are eight! Wow just need to think about that one a little. Eight years…wow!

     

    SPEKTAKULAR-1
    Our opening day 18.09.2010

    And what an amazing and challenging eight years it has been. Huge learning curves, plenty mistakes. But all the knowledge that I have gained, (yes I do doubt my knowledge sometimes even though I know I shouldn’t) I am proud of that education.  What I value the most of everything I have experienced during these eight years,  it would be the people I have met. Many customers have become personal friends, and all the help and love that we receive from suppliers and fellow shop owners  is truly powerful. We are not alone in this world of retail, we are a good gang and along the way I have collected friends who we collaborate with, to help each other grow both as businesses and as people. Eight years along the road I am truly, and I mean truly, grateful for all the fantastic support our customers have given us and encouragement during difficult times. And thank you for coming back!

    I am treating you tonight with some before and after pictures from the shop. We found lots of me but no I did not do pregnant beautifully. Stina was born in October 2010 so I was pretty large…no that is an understatement I was humongous and I really do not want to share those photos.

     

    SPEKTAKULAR-16
    Wow so much fabric, and such calming and gentle colours

    When Stina was just a couple of months fast asleep under her blanket
    Stina, a few months old modelling our favourite Cloud blankets

    Advent Star
    Our very first Christmas star! 2011

     

    We quickly decided that colour was our way forward and we are so happy we became a colourful shop, still Scandi though

     

    Scandi Christmas
    We are getting better at our            Scandi Christmas 2012

    wpid-IMAG0720.jpg
    Stina’s little sister Lovisa April 2013

     Shop had a repaint a tidy and it gave us a blank canvas to rethink new ideas…

    2016 Lilla was opened, Lilla which mean Little in Swedish was our Childrens’ shop and I was so incredible proud of this colourful, happy little gem. Sadly this year we had to take the tough decision to fold Lilla back into the rest of the business and have two Spektakulär shops where we could display our stock the way we wanted.

    381E9781-3354-4AAF-B124-C182002E7DAF
    Image by lovely Aleichia W

    Today we have Spektakulär HOME and Spektakulär GIFT. But soon very soon this beautiful shop will become our best ever idea. A full on Scandi/Nordic Christmas shop!! We cannot wait because we love to come to work during the Christmas season, the shops are soooooo cosy and I love being there early just sitting eating my breakfast enjoying all the Swedish stars and this years it is going to be even bigger and even better than ever.

    Once again thank you with the bottom of my heart for your great support and love

    Charlotte x