Turning 30 In Sweden

When I was fifteen I was extremely unwell. My family weren’t sure if I would make it to sixteen. Back then, thirty seemed an impossible age. But I reached it intact, and opened my eyes on my thirtieth to see the face of the man I call my True North. Never in my wildest dreams could have imagined that I would be living in Sweden, on the edge of a forest with a man who lights up my world with his smile.

We had made plans to go canoeing for my birthday, but the weather here in Borås had other ideas. Instead we spent the morning and most of the afternoon just lounging and enjoying each others company. Sebastian then went out to ‘fix some things’ and came back with a Princess Cake…of which I ate three slices. I’ve always wanted to try Princess Cake (Prinsesstårta), but have never had the opportunity. This traditional Swedish cake is made from airy sponge cake, pastry cream, lots of whipped cream and a green marzipan coating that’s sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a pink marzipan rose. It tasted like what I imagine cakes in fairy tales to taste like.

In the evening, after playing air soft, Sebastian unveiled a heap of presents. The first was a silver bracelet from him. The shine of it is unlike any silver I’ve seen before. Then came a lovely gift from my friend Erzabet – some pencils (I’d been talking about needing some!) in a beautiful little paper bag inscribed with some heartfelt words. Then came gifts from my lovely Swedish family – Pia, Peter and Linus – a unique makeup bag, a gorgeous scarf, a spectacular cathedral like candle holder and a most beautiful piece of art made by Pia herself.

My 30th birthday was so perfect in every way that I had to ask Sebastian  more than once, ‘Am I dreaming?’

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Thank you my love. It was the best.

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“I’m not very good at surprises…” Sebastian told me just before my birthday. As a matter of fact, he turned out to be a master at them. The silver of this bracelet is so bright I can see it lighting my way forever.

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For my makeup when we visit Hagfors.

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One of the things I always notice when we visit Hagfors is the gorgeous array of wrapping papers that Pia had in her reading room.

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I intend to Own It!

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Oh goodness…my heart.

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Love the stonewashed grey of this scarf.

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I’m looking forward to when it gets dark later…so we can see how this beauty looks all lit up.

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Pia has a talent for creating the most spectacular pictures using hot wax. The last time we were in Hagfors I told her how much I loved this one. And now it’s in our home.

 

Eating Köttbullar Tonight

So I didn’t make the Köttbullar (meatballs), but I did make the mashed potato and Sebastian prepared the brown sauce. It’s basically bechamel with a stock cube thrown in. It doesn’t look all that appetizing but it’s tas-ty.  Wondering how many other Swedes are eating this tonight. My estimate is around a million.

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After A Swedish Summer…

Vacation in Sweden is about good food and relaxing as I mentioned in previous posts…and it was freaking wonderful to just say ‘yeah, lets BBQ’ or ‘yeah, lets get a pizza’ or ‘yeah, lets sit on the couch all day watching Netflix’ or ‘yeah, BBQ again? Potato salad too? On the burger you say? Why the hell not!’ Fortunately I don’t look like a potato after all this good stuff and minimal exercise, (I think my busy brain keeps the weight off) but I’m wanting to build myself up into something that sort of resembles Red Sonja. (From the film).

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So today I started lifting weights again (probably incorrectly because they’re big and I’m small) and all the rest of it. I also started on protein shakes (StarNutrition Whey – 80 Vanilla Flavoured, in case you’re wondering) because I want to be like Red Sonja soon. As you can see by my perfectly positioned milkshake bottle (it’s not actually mine, but the mans), I’m feeling pretty hardcore right now. My arms, I have to say (please ignore the scruffy hair…I had been working out) are looking rather gunnish considering I haven’t been lifting anything but my tea cup, burger buns and crisps for ages. I’ll be reporting back with my progress.

Vacation Time

The Swedes really know how to vacation. To be honest, I think Scandinavia has the whole vacation thing pretty well mastered. In England we’re a bit rubbish at taking a break. We don’t really know what it is to relax. I think the fact that over here a vacation lasts doubly as long as it does in England is a big contributing factor as to why and how the Swedes can kick back so effectively. In England you’re back to work before you’ve had time to kick back on the deckchair with a burger and a beer.

Well, my first vacation here with Sebastian has opened me up. It’s chipped away my uptight attitude, an attitude that I gripped onto with such force, and changed me for the better. I took a step back from my work  – something I couldn’t have done before – so I could indulge in my man’s company. We spent whole weeks with hardly a few hours apart which has meant that we’ve come to know each other on a deep and wonderful and exhilarating level. We learned about each others weaknesses and strengths. We both become better at listening, and helping each other to be the best we can be. We learned to better understand what makes the other one tick. We discussed at length what we want from our future, and how we hope to get there. Both of us sometimes struggle to sit still, but this vacation has enabled quiet moments where we have been able to just enjoy each other. (And Netflix).

And I fell deeper and deeper and deeper in love. This continually growing, beautiful, all encompassing love is the most valuable thing to me, and never has anything felt so natural.

Yesterday we went out canoeing and managed to get caught in a rainstorm as we floated in the middle of a lake. We were soaked to the skin in a matter of minutes. I should have been somewhat anxious out there as the rain thundered down on us and our little canoe, but I couldn’t have been calmer. My hair was plastered to my scalp, my makeup was making its way south and my camera was at great risk, but I laughed. I felt safe. I felt so euphoric that nothing but the moment mattered.

This vacation has helped me grow in more ways than I can count. Thank you, my man, and thank you beautiful Sweden.

 

May Was A Beautiful & Busy Month

This time last year, I never would have thought that I’d be living in Sweden. I never would have thought that I could be so deeply in love with another human being and with life.

Sometimes, I find myself stopping short in my tracks – I can be anywhere, in the supermarket, walking in the forest, moving to the kitchen to make a cup of tea – and smiling to myself, smiling because I’m living in Sweden, smiling because I have a man who completes me, and is helping me to loosen off my hard shell, and emerge from the tight cave that I’ve existed in for so many years.  I say existed because up until this year, I had never truly lived.

May was the month I opened up to growth, and allowed myself to fully experience everything that life and my relationship had to offer. ‘No’ was a word that rarely existed in my vocabulary, and I felt a freedom that has enabled me to love every day with my whole heart. Thank you May, it was a pleasure.

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I enjoyed my first Swedish BBQ…

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I put my trust in a friend’s hands and had a fringe cut.

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I discovered that I really, really, really enjoy Leksands Knäcke.

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I continued with my regular explorations of the forest.

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I had a second very successful thrifting trip

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Sebastian and I went fishing.

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And ate Sebastian’s mother’s outrageously delicious rhubarb pie.

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I admired the hardwood floors in Sebastian’s family home…h6_635996776691767410_Afterlight_Edit.jpg

…and the little details.

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I had a Fika (or two) every day…including one in the forest.

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I witnessed some atmospheric skies.

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But I think the crowning glory of May was when I caught my man in action when he performed live in Gothenburg with his band Rimfrost.

I have a list of things that I wish to accomplish in June, but I’ll save that list for another post. If there’s anything you’d be interested to see on the blog, feel free to drop me a note!

Sebastian’s Family Home In Hagfor’s Part II

It’s no secret that I am besotted with Sebastian’s family home. It has already been featured here before. So when we were visiting Hagfors again a few weeks ago, my camera rarely left my side.

Pia and Peter, the owners of this gorgeous abode, have provided endless inspiration with their beautiful taste in decor, and I’m forever day dreaming about the day when Sebastian and I have a home that we’re free to decorate as we wish. (We currently live in an apartment where there’s certain restrictions as to what you can and can’t do where decorating is concerned.)

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It was impossible to miss the blooming cherry tree in the front garden when we arrived at the house. The blossoms made for a stunning welcome.

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In nearly every room in the house there’s plants to be found, which helps to give the home a truly fresh feeling. I’m not normally one for pink flowers, but these soft, pale blooms looked so beautiful in the kitchen window.

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When Sebastian and I returned from our fishing trip on Saturday, we were cold, hungry and in need of a treat. We had the greatest luck because Pia had prepared this stunning rhubarb pie. And yes, it tasted as good as it looks!

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I spent a long time in Pia’s reading room, capturing all the little things that make the room so special, including this ensemble of accessories.

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I missed these angel wings hanging in the hallway on our previous trip. How, I have no idea.

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It’s so very easy to neglect the bathroom, but Pia and Peter have given it just as much attention as they have the other rooms in the house. It’s lovingly organised and so very sleek and calm.

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I’m so taken with these straight backed chairs. I find myself falling in love with them all over again whenever I enter the kitchen. The  stunning wood floor in the photo above runs all the way through the house, creating a beautiful unity that I’ve very rarely seen in a home.

It was another memorable stay in Hagfors (the Eurovision Song Contest was on while we were there, and it was a hilarious and fun experience to watch it with a Swedish family). I’m eager to get back and photograph this wonderful place again.

 

 

 

 

I Always Make Time For Fika

I always make time for Fika in the afternoon! It helps to keep me motivated knowing that I have a treat coming at around 3pm. Over the past few months I’ve become just a bit obsessed with kardemummabullar, and my palate nowadays is preferring the taste of cardamom over cinnamon. (For some reason I feel a tad guilty about this, as though preferring another spice over cinnamon is, like, a really bad thing.)

But it seems like the rest of Borås has been craving cardamom too, as the  kardemummabullar have been sold out whenever I’ve gone to hunt some down. So today it was kanelbullar instead. From my experience kanelbullar are usually a bit dry when they come already packaged, but the god’s decided that I was due a good time, because this cute thing was so soft and fresh it almost melted in my mouth.

I’m also a little bit in love with the mini Swedish flags on toothpicks that I see popping up everywhere. So when I saw them for sale in the supermarket at only 20 kroner for 40 I plucked them up and stowed them away in my basket. I even saved the little one I used here. I didn’t have the heart to throw it away.

The little wooden plate (or coaster…) was found for 10 kroner at one of the three thrift stores I visited today. There were five others, all different shapes and sizes, but, being a responsible adult and thinking about my budget, I put them back. Not going to lie though, I’m keeping my fingers crossed they’ll still be there on my next thrifting trip…

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My First Swedish BBQ

It is commonly known that Swedes have a deep set passion for BBQing. At the first hint of warm weather, grillsäsong (barbeque season) begins, and hordes of Swedes pop onto their balconies, troop out to their backyards or head into the wilds with their grillars (barbecue), stacks of meat and bottles of mustard. (It had come to my attention that Swedes use a phenomenal amount of mustard.)

The weather here in Borås has been abysmal recently, so yesterday, the 1st of May, was our first chance to indulge in some warm-ish weather and cook outside.

The lake near our home was brimming with short sleeved Swedes and smoking grills, so Sebastian, little Tyra and I headed out of town to do our BBQing, armed with burgers, buns and hotdogs. (Sebastian later reeled off a list of other foods that you would normally find at a Swedish BBQ. I used our BBQ as a practice run for the inevitable future grilling events this summer.)

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Our BBQ was one Sebastian had stored away in his rehearsal space…the grill required some  cleaning in the river before we could cover it with burgers and sausages.

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Sebastian has taught me so much about the art of seasoning…when you think you’ve added too much, add some more.

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Sebastian told me that burgers taste best when topped with potato salad. He wasn’t wrong. This burger was one of the richest, most succulent, most scrumptious burgers that I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring.

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We ate hotdogs too…with potato salad, of course.

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Sometimes though, the hot dog bread bun is enough.

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Little Tyra with the IKEA hund Sebastian treated her to when we made a pilgrimage to the  Göteborg store at the weekend.

I Tried Kaviar…Again

Today Sebastian had one of his favourite combinations, boiled eggs with Kalles Kaviar, a creamed cod roe spread that’s immensely popular in Sweden. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning you’ll be only too aware that my first experience with kaviar wasn’t all that great. Basically, I ate it straight off a spoon with nothing to accompany it, and was almost sick…

Sebastian eats kaviar the traditional Swedish way – by squeezing a neat, little squirt onto each bite of the egg. When he came to his third and last boiled egg, I felt the need to try kaviar again, just to see if my taste buds had been out of order when I last put it in my mouth.

So, I did as he had done, and squeezed a little bit onto the top of the boiled egg and bit down. I pretty much knew from the second that it past my lips that I’d made a big mistake, and no, the addition of the boiled egg did not make it taste any less like a mouthful of uncooked fish parts and sea water. It took water, milk and furious teeth brushing to loose the taste.

I always give new foods a few go’s before I decide that I won’t be touching them again…but there will be no third chance for this particular Swedish delicacy!

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