Finally! It is finally time to reopen and it is with mixed feelings. It is not to just reopening and expect how it was back in March. Nope now it will be slightly differently but we will make it work.
Shop will be open part time, this is due to child care, well the lack of child care that is! It will only be me who will be in the shop while the wonderful staff will stay furloughed during the summer as there is more child care issues. However this may chance during the summer and we just have to go with the flow.
Part time mean three to four days a week, an evening a week and most likely during the weekend. Proper opening hours will be arranged this week.
Fantastic news are that our webshop will finally launch this week, any day now! And there will be a click and collect option so you can shop from home and nip in to the shop and collect your goodies. More info will follow and I will keep you posted!
On Saturday our youngest daughter turned seven. She is a true superstar and she makes us laugh everyday, but to have her birthday in the middle of the lockdown was a tricky challenge. More emotional than anything really! She is a proper “hugger” and she really missed hugging her friends. So we prepared a really nice birthday corner in the house and I do have a habit of buying gifts when I see them. I had picked up a guitar in a charity shop a couple of months back and a neighbour sold a guitar stand for a couple of pounds which has been a great gift as we all have started to play the guitar and downloaded a learning app. Once a week I go to the shop to check on it and to make sure it is ok (sadly this time there was a water leak at the back of the building and all the water coming down our backshop window, landlord is on it), and took the girls with me to let her chose a maileg soft toy which she love.
On her birthday we had a small zoom party which was extremely chaotic but it made her happy. Plus we baked her a birthday cake. A Swedish cake!
What is a Swedish birthday cake? Well they do come in all sizes and shapes but mainly it is a sponge cake cut in three layers with two fillings and wipped cream on the top. You can decorate it as you like but at Midsummer you really should have strawberries! The layers in the middle can be anything you like but I would use vanilla cream and jam. However I used to experiment a lot when I was younger and I think my favourite was a layer of chocolate mousse and one layer of vanilla cream and then the topping was melted chocolate. If you have cream as topping you can decorate with whatever you like, sweets or berries. I personally love the berries as it is already quite sweet cake and I like the freshness from the berries.
Ok lets crack on, here is the base recipe for the cake sponge. In Sweden you can buy ready made bases in the shop so a few years ago I started to research how to make the base as close to a cake sponge as possible and found this. It does not have butter or oil in it and is quite a dense but yet sweet base. Remember 1 dl is about 100 ml
Swedish Cake Base – Tårtbotten
3 dl caster sugar
1 dl hot water
3 dl plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar (use vanilla extract)
Mix egg and sugar very fluffy, add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar). Once all mixed add the hot water, bit by bit slowly while stirring so you do not get egg lumps.
Pour in to a baking mould in any shape you like. Traditionally a round but I have heart and rainbow shapes and I have also made letters before so doubled the batter and used a larger tray and then cut out the letter, which left some waste but the family does not mind eating the end bits.
Once it is cool down slice in three layers, I use a bread knife but if you have the proper tools then use them.
And that is the base, it is a super simple base but very tasty.
Then you can fill it with whatever you like. I remember my mum using mashed bananas which is nice if you like banana, cream mixed with fresh berries or homemade jam (or indeed shop bought). Traditionally vanilla cream or custard is used but yes you guessed it, vanilla custard here in the UK is not the same, you kind of need the one you use in profiteroles and I found a recipe online which you use raw egg yolks in and it is super easy but it is more for a summer pie or a warm spice apple pie in the autumn.
Big sister decorated the cake as a surprise and Lovisa was super delighted!
Kladdkaka, it even has its own day in Sweden now. This is my go to recipe. A super swift and easy, the one I know the ingredients by heart. And the one you can mess around with and it will still taste amazing every time.
There are so many different versions how to make Kladdkaka, but this is my recipe. The secret to a good kladdkaka is not to beat the eggs. So do not use a electrical mixer. And it should be gooey in the middle, I never bake them longer than 15-20 minutes. These are perfect straight from the oven with whipped cream, ice cream or just straight from the baking tray with a spoon (yes I have done that). But they are equally good the day after as when they cool down they create a very nice sticky flavor in the middle and crisp outside. Mmm yummy!!
The story behind a kladdkaka is basically that someone was making a brownie and forgot to add baking powder! Some mistakes are indeed good mistakes!! However I am not sure that is true as I have heard a few other stories as well!
Right lets get on with it! Remember 1 dl is 100 ml!
Oven on at 175 degrees
100 g melted butter
3 dl sugar
1.5 dl plain flour
2.5 tsp vanilla sugar (use 1 tsp vanilla extract)
4 tbsp cacao powder (good quality, the darker and less sugar the better)
Then you can add nuts, sweets or like we did today some chopped bits of dark chocolate. At Christmas we add pepparkaks (gingerbread) spices (ginger, cardamon, cinnamon and gloves) and it is just heavenly!
Mix egg and sugar, let sit while you melt the butter. Then add flour, vanilla and cocoa powder, gently stir and last add butter. Pour in to baking mould and straight in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 min. It should be a bit wobbly in the middle but not raw looking. We made cupcakes today so I baked them for 8 minutes.
Well this treat will be at the shop for our first FIKA FRIDAY once we reopen again! Mmm it smells pretty good here. All week we have created Easter cards and letters to our local friends and we will go out for a little walk and deliver these. But first its FIKA time
Beautiful Wooden Moomin and Snorkmaiden by Finish LOVI.
Comics and lots of Moomin books!
We love the Moomins at Spektakulär!
When I grew up we only had a few TV channels and only one children’s program in the evening. I am not old but sometimes, like yesterday my sister told my daughter about a film she has on VHS and Stina went what is VHS? Well that was fun to explain! I guess today you do not need to buy CDs or DVDs or indeed books but I do anyway, not because I can access it easy on my phone but because I love holding a book and I like to treat myself with music I can play in my old car which only takes CDs. Anyway back to topic…
Moomin was one of the children programs on TV. And I grew up in Sweden so obviously they spoke Swedish Finish. Which was quite a strong accent to me then, however when I watched a modern Moomin here in the UK it felt all wrong. I missed the strong accent and calmness. I did remember Moomin being quite slow and boring! But then when I got older I started to read the stories and I fell in love with Moomins calm and kind nature and his family and friends. Some of the characters does freak me a little and I do know they can be quite scary.
So who are these Moomins? Here is a quick introduction to the main characters. I am sure most of you already know all about the Moomins so I guess this is for you who don’t and think maybe now is the time to find out more.
Moomintroll, aka Moomin. Always trying to be good and kind, making sure his friends are happy. He get excited about every little thing he finds while out exploring.
Moominpappa, a restless soul in his youth, travelled and explored. But now settled down with his family
Moominmamma, looks after them all calmly and wants everyone to be happy. Cooks amazing food and has the best handbag in the world filled with everything you might need at any time.
Little My, lives with the Moomins in the Moominhouse. I think the word mischievous was created after Little My. Love adventures, mess, catastrophes and would happily do something mean on purpose.
Sniff, also live with the Moomins. Is afraid of everything but yet want to take part in everything. His goal in life is to become rich but sadly never succeeds.
Snork Maiden, she like to think of herself as Moomin’s girlfriend. She is quite hard work, loves fashion but is happy and energetic.
Snufkin is Moomin’s absolute best friend. Carefree and lonesome. Comes and goes as he travels a lot. Own hardly anything except a harmonica.
Stinky, a selfish character who always plays jokes on the Moomin family.
Tove Jansson was an extraordinary writer and her imagination was just fantastic. I personally enjoy her love for nature, I have some of her other books here at home as well. The Art in Nature is in the pile by my bed ready to be read! I guess I have the time to do it now! Have you read it?
Customers often come in and go Moomin crazy! They need it all, everything we have and sometimes we have customers who has no clue and it turns out that in the UK, the Moomins was a trend some places but not everywhere. Once I had a mother in with her teenage daughter and the mum went “ohhhhhh the Moomins, I love the Moomins” and the daughter went, “who”…obviously I kicked her out of the shop!!! Well no, but her mum gave her such a shock horror look that I laughed out loud.
Moomins does belong with us at Spektakulär, but at the moment it is quite low in the shop which needs to be sorted once we can reopen again! We stock beautiful wooden characters by LOVI , tin mugs etc by MUURLA plus lots more. Oh I can not wait to get to the shop again and I can not wait to fill the shop up with Moomin and his family and friends!!
I hope you all have a good day, I have downloaded the couch to 5K app and think I will go out for the first session, however might be tomorrow instead. I am really putting this off as I am NOT a runner! I hate running, can walk miles after miles and happy to do hiits and bootcamps, but go for a run…no thank you! So this is probably a bit desperate! Will need to take the girls out for a walk, Stina went for a little cycle trip around the park last night but I don’t think Lovisa has been out for a few days. We have a garden which we share with three stairways and quite a few families, so have to make sure no one else is there before I send the girls out, so we could probably do with a walk around the area.
Tomorrow we will bake and I think we will bake something for FIKA FRIDAY (or indeed for the weekend). So let’s do a recipe or two. I do not think they are particularly Swedish treats but I did have them in my cookbook which I brought over from Sweden. The girls have picked two bakes so that is what we will do tomorrow!
Walking to work on a Saturday morning and getting a phone call that tells you your shop has been broken in to is not a nice experience. There are a lot of things going through your head. I need to call the police, which number to use, insurance, landlord or not, get a hold of Richard, knowing his bloody phone is not working as it should. What is the damage, and as we were closing one shop this weekend it was basically empty so am thinking it is probably ok. Trying to stay positive with 25 minutes still to walk. But then you get the second phone call from the actual police telling you it is the other shop, the one that is jammed packed with fab designs. The police were waiting for me and they were so lovely and supportive. A person was really determent to make it in and he did but it made such a mess. The safe was stolen but it was basically empty (wish I could have seen his face when he open it) but it is the mess that is left behind. And the brick!
My shop is located on a busy side street with fantastic neighbours and the lovely Bia Bistot gave me contacts to phone, cake and coffee (a lot of coffee). A huge recommendation to Comely Bank Glazing who turned up within a couple of hours and replaced the window. As it was a Saturday our girls were dancing. A parent collected Stina while Lovisa and Richard came to get me and we all went home instead of hanging around a cold and broken shop. You go through a lot of emotions. I personally believe having your home broken into is worse, or a fire, it could have been so much worse.
But I felt really deflated when this happened and you go through a lot of emotions in one go. So I vented my frustration on social media. I needed to let people know we were closed but might have also just gone blaaaahhhhh.
Within seconds the love and the messages that flooded in, I could not believe it. My Instagram was filling up and so many private messages. I do not have the FB app on my phone so when I logged in I was in tears. So many people offered help and that is something I would struggle to ask for. But wow, friends, staff and fellow shop owners came in and helped me clean yesterday. Friends offered with playdates for the girls. My post was shared in local media and on a large local FB group. The community has sent us so much love and as I posted in one of my posts, one person knocked me down but hundreds pulled me up! You did! So thank you!
Lets help each other out, be nice and be kind to each other. That is what a great community is about and wow have we received some love this weekend. You helped me by showering me, my shop, my staff and my family with love. But you know what else you can do? You can help by support your little local shops, the independent cafes, the mum that works from the kitchen table setting up her own business. Pop in and even by just buying a £2.50 card will help. Log out from the amazon account and give the little ones some love instead. Head over to Bruntsfield or any fab area you feel it is time you visit (take the bus) and go for a wander. We all do need your support to survive! So lets all work together!
We are back up and running again and we are working on some great new ideas and will redo our shop ready for a busy summer. And yes of course we used the brick that was left for our new window display. Is it yours?
If you have any information about this incident, please contact the police via 101. Alternatively, an anonymous report can be made to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
As many of you will have noticed there is a “TO LET” sign above our first shop at number 11 Colinton Road. Do not worry we have a plan. And a little statement for you.
It is no secret that Retail is seeing some very significant changes. There are large High Street chains that have fallen and many more in trouble from both higher costs and changing customer behaviour. We are not on that scale, but we are not immune to either the rising costs or the trend to online. Moreover, it is hard for small businesses to compete when big stores are in a “permanent sale” death spiral.
Needless to say, as a business which exists to import goods from other European countries there is nothing positive in Brexit for us. We can currently place orders in Sweden that can arrive without any customs paperwork or tariffs, sometimes delivered faster than a similar UK distributor. None of this can be guaranteed after Brexit.
In 2019 we have the option to exit from one of our leases, and if we didn’t exercise that option we are committed to another three years. We have decided to do just that.
We will be combining our Gift and Home stores into the shop at 15 Colinton Road. Having two shops was an opportunity to explore new brands and we can take the best of both shops and continue to offer a fresh and exciting range. 15 is the new 11 :)
We believe in our shop and know the tremendous love our customers show for us which we are so incredible proud and grateful for. We are viewing this as a tactical retreat, a chance to regroup and weather the economic storm. But also a great opportunity for us to be creative and test new ideas.
Bruntsfield and Morningside have great independent businesses, working hard to make the area a vibrant and attractive place to live. They rely on local people as customers, they employ local people as staff. If you buy or see things you like, please be vocal about it – tell your friends, share links on social media, leave ratings or recommendations. We are part of a wonderful community and we love being a social hub. But most of all we love bring stylish, contemporary, happy and affordable Scandinavian and Nordic Design to you.