Tag: Sweden (Page 1 of 4)

Järnavik Naturreservat – Lose Yourself In Nature

Järnavik naturreservat in Blekinge, southern Sweden, is an interesting place to visit.  The environment has many contrasts to enjoy.  There are deep ravines and steep climbs to be rewarded with stunning views of the Swedish scenery.  There are bare rock areas, that then lead into forests, rich with plant life.  The northern part of the reserve, where we visited for our hike, is less stark than the more glacially formed rocky southern part.

In a past era Järnavik was a medieval port that was very busy, but today the harbour is used just for the summer archipelago boat, and private boats visiting the area by sea.  Easter weekend had seen blizzards for us for the first three days of the long weekend.  So when the sun shone bright on the Monday, we took advantage of the chance to get some vitamin D supplies and headed out to this nature reserve that we had not explored yet.

The Järnavik naturreservat has a lot of good marked trails, a number of fire pits, and on the southern end, a nice place to take a swim, although this was not really a priority in the freezing April weather!!  We were in the northern part, following a circular trail route, hoping to stop three quarters of the way round to make lunch on a campfire.

So, off we set on our route. We had not gone more than 100m when 2 of the 3 children had already started collecting sticks….our little lady’s stick actually resembled more of a tree than a stick, but all credit to her she did drag it the whole way round!  We scrambled up rock faces to be rewarded with the most stunning views across the fjords at the top, and we walked over mini bridges through ice fields that would hopefully start defrosting soon if spring time decides to make an appearance!!  The children love to see how thick the ice is, and how much they can bang it with sticks or stamp on it before it cracks.  Today it was still very thick and strong, and not giving way.  However, the sun shining on the damp moss was creating a smell of spring in the air, and despite the snow on the ground, you could feel warmth in the sunshine at long last.  As we continued our hike we knew we were coming to the place where the fire pit should be, and on a little investigation, we found it in a mini cave!  It was so fun and interesting as we had never made our campfire anywhere like it yet 🙂

Today we were not using geocaches as an incentive to keep the trio walking.  However, our little lady was just sitting chilling in the cave waiting for lunch, and to her surprise she spotted one buried in the rocks!  She couldn’t believe she had found one without even trying.  It was a great spot to stop for lunch as the children clambered up, over, and slid down massive rock boulders, and thoroughly enjoyed their playtime in nature.

The fire was roaring, the food was cooking, and we had a new treat to try for dessert (you will have to wait for another blog post to find out what that was!).  Life was definitely more relaxed being able to share the work load with Dadda, as he could look after the campfire, and I the Kelly Kettle…usually I’m juggling both and trying not to set fire to three children in the process!!  It was so nice to be able to share today’s adventure with every member of the family for a change.

Once we had eaten our fill, we dowsed the campfire, and started the remaining part of our circular route.  Once we popped out of our little cave, we discovered 2 more fire pits out in the sunshine.  It was nice to know they were there, but I think we had all enjoyed the novelty of our cave fire pit for a little bit of a difference.

We had spent such a lovely family time at Järnavik naturreservat, and enjoyed the views, the fire pits, and the trail so much.  We will definitely be returning there, and maybe, next time if the weather is warm enough, we will search out the bathing place on the southern end and explore a different part of the reserve!

Järnavik Naturreservat, Sweden, Nature, southern Sweden, Blekinge, Nature play, outdoor play, hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Renovation Bay-Bee

Country Kids
 

Våffeldagen – A Day Of Eating Waffles

Våffeldagen is a whole day in Sweden dedicated to eating waffles….nom nom!  It is Sunday 25th March this year.  It is another way of celebrating the start of spring after the cold dark winter here in Sweden.  The name originally comes from “Vårfrudagen” meaning our lady’s day, which is on the same day, but said in a poorly articulated way, can be mistaken for Våffeldagen.

On Våffeldagen you make waffles and serve them with fruit jams, cream, cheese, or fresh fruit.  We have a special Scandinavian heart shaped waffle iron to make ours.  Try our simple recipe below for some lovely tasting waffles, and you can also see how we have cooked campfire waffles using the same recipe 🙂

Ingredients For Waffles:

3 dl plain flour

2 x eggs

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

3 tsp butter

1 tsp cardamom

3 dl milk

Method For Making Waffles:

  1. Mix the sugar and butter well.
  2. Measure out the wet and remaining dry ingredients.
  3. Add a little of each alternatively to the bowl, making sure it is all mixed in well with no lumps, before adding more.
  4. Warm up your waffle iron and grease as needed. Then ladle in the mixture to cook the waffles.

We then serve them up while still warm.  Coffee is very good with them 🙂

Våffeldagen, våffel, Waffle day, waffle, waffles, waffle recipe, Swedish food, Food in Sweden, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

 

Blekinge Museum – The History Of Blekinge, Sweden

On our quest for adventure and discovery of our local area during the sportlov holiday in February, one of the places we visited was Blekinge museum.  This fantastic place is free to visit (a huge bonus when there are so many of you!), and it didn’t disappoint.  It can be found in the centre of Karlskrona, and although I was initially wondering whether my three would enjoy a trip there (indoor exhibitions are not really their thing), I was pleasantly surprised, although after a year of living here I should be getting used to how the children are allowed to touch and interact with everything.  Photography that shows exhibits is limited to private use only, so my photos only show my children enjoying themselves, carefully excluding the museum’s pieces from the photos!!

The Blekinge museum is all about Blekinge county in southern Sweden, from the ancient times (the county is full of iron age monuments and drawings), through to today.  It is home to a lot of archaeological finds, and details the area’s naval history as well.  We well and truly meandered and pottered around the exhibitions, but what was so nice was that in between and dispersed throughout, there were little activities aimed at the children, giving them a “break” from the more grown up stuff every so often.  It meant I got to have a good look at what I wanted to see without having to drag them round and bribe them, but they also got to play there, making it somewhere they would like to head back to again.  I only planned a couple of hours there, one inside, and one outdoors (we’ll get to that part in a bit), treating it as a place we can dip in and out of as takes our fancy in the future.

It is worth checking their website http://www.blekingemuseum.se/subsites/1  before a visit as they do lay on activities for children as well in the holidays.  This week was African painting, but surprisingly my three bypassed this in favour of looking at other things.  Other parts of the Blekinge museum that are directed at children are a play shop, an indoor play farmhouse, there are drawing and making tables…..2 of mine made masks and one coloured a diagram of an old historical ship, there is a reading area with comfy cosy cushions and a few games to try, some puzzles, and then you can head outdoors as well to a lovely outdoor play area which has a windmill, a boat shed, a stuga (hut), and a barn complete with horse and carriage.  There are lots of pots and pans, play food, plastic flowers, pretend fish etc to do role play with as well.  My three adored the outdoors, and could have spent a lot longer than the hour we did there, but unfortunately the little lady’s dance lesson beckoned us.

Blekinge museum is very laid back and is somewhere you can really enjoy taking a relaxed tour round as a family.  My double trouble are a very active excitable pair, and they were just fine in there, and all three really enjoyed it and did not find the time we spent indoors boring at all.  I’m not sure we could have spent too much longer perusing the exhibition parts, but as it is free and they were not negative about the visit, I am sure we will be heading back there in the future.  That is the great thing about free places, you don’t feel you need to spend a lot of time in there to get the most out of it, but can just keep on returning as and when.  I would really recommend popping into Blekinge museum if you ever visit Blekinge in southern Sweden.

Blekinge Museum - The History Of Blekinge, Sweden, Blekinge, Karlskrona,Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Lyckå Slott – A Reminder Of Blekinge’s Danish Era

Lyckå slottsruin is a medieval reminder that this southern county of Sweden, Blekinge, has not always belonged to the Swedish, but the Danes were once in possession of the land.  What you can visit today and see are the original outer walls of the ground floor and the foundations of the two corner towers.

Lyckå slott was built between 1545 to 1560, and was a Danish border castle on the most eastern part of Denmark as a defence against Sweden.  The castle did not  have a very long life as in 1601 it was decided the Danes would fortify a town called Kristianopel, but wanted to use the materials from Lyckå slott.  So, it was burnt down and had canon balls thrown at it to demolish it.  It just goes to show how sturdy it was with the amount that remained intact.  In 2014 there was some work done on the ruins to preserve what was left, as it has big historical importance.

We arrived at Lyckå slott to find we had the place to ourselves, and although it is something that only takes a short while to walk around, you need to leave ample time for your children to play there.  There is lots of fun to be hand clambering over the walls, running round the outside, and inventing lots of imaginative games.  In the depths of winter, as was our visit, there was lots of play time allowed, but perhaps not as much as if we had visited in warmer weather when I could have relaxed on the grass listening to their games!

Our three really enjoyed their time there, and I find they get so much more out of places and remember it better when they are able to run freely, touch, and use a whole host of senses to experience a place, rather than visit it in a clinical manner.  We have now discovered and been to another local place of interest as we learn more about the area we are living in.

Lyckå slott, Swedish castles, castle ruins, Karlskrona Castle, Blekinge Castle, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids
 

Wämöparken, Karlskrona – Experience Swedish Heritage And Outdoor Life

Wämöparken is set in beautiful Swedish nature on the outskirts of Karlskrona, in Blekinge county in southern Sweden.  There is so much to see and do there, at your own pace, or doing a little bit over a few visits.  This is a place to dwell, not rush, and if you do not get to experience everything on one day, then it is the perfect excuse to return to Wämöparken.  We decided one cold (-8 degrees) snowy, February day to visit, so we are definitely going to head back in the warmer months to experience another season in Wämöparken.

Although Wämöparken was once the site of a cemetery for victims of the plague, and also the site where executions were carried out for those who were sentenced to death, it now has an altogether much nicer purpose, allowing people to relax enjoying the outdoors as well as experiencing a little bit of Swedish history.  So what does the park have to offer?

Wämöparken Hiking Trails

The hiking trails around the area can be tailor-made to be longer or shorter for those less able to walk as far, but still wanting to get out into nature.  The trail marked with wooden poles with orange tips is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchair users.  We enjoyed using this trail at first, before heading in our own direction a little, using the smaller paths through the woods.  Although there are several fire pit points along the main trail, we opted for a quieter spot where the children could play in amongst the trees and on the rocks, and we used our hobo stove.  We had a lovely sausage hotpot followed by Nutella s’mores….yummy!!!

Wämöparken Historical Buildings

The park has several old buildings erected as examples of what they used to be.  At each one there is a sign detailing what type of person would have lived in it, the purpose of the building, and how it would have been built.  We definitely need to come back as these are open to view inside, but only over the summer season, which I knew, but we enjoyed looking around the outside of them anyway.  My trio liked thinking about the sort of people who would have lived in them and the stories behind them.

Wämöparken Animal Park

There is a small collection of some lovely animals to have a wander around.  We saw goats, pigs, hens, rabbits, and ducks.  Whilst it is not a big collection or area, it is fun for the children to see and look at the animals, something that is always a hit with my trio.

 

Perhaps the best and most luxurious mini-beast hotel I have ever seen!

Wämöparken Play Park

In the same area as the animals you can find a play park.  My three really enjoyed this space. The see-saw was the biggest hit with them, and they were on it for ages!!  I always visit things like this at the end of a hike if they are around.  My trio knew it was there so it gave them a little something to look forward to, but then also, when they get totally absorbed in it I am not trying to cajole them into another mission.

We gave the sand pit a miss on this trip!!

Wämöparken Cafe

If after a hike round the trails, a campfire meal, investigating the old buildings, pottering around visiting the animals, and a play in the park, you are in need of further refreshment, there is a cafe set in a beautiful old building.  You can get hot and cold drinks, waffles and cakes, or a warm meal.  We sampled their homemade cakes with some ginger beer and fruit juices.  Perfect after a play in the play park.  Outside the cafe there are also supersized board games on the patio.  Due to the cold these were not out for us to use, nor could we even see the boards on the ground due to the snow….so no photos of these I am afraid!!

Wämöparken Dog Agility Course

The final facility at this lovely place, is a dog agility course.  It is set in a large field and you can just turn up and use it.  You need to show consideration for dogs and their owners already using it by getting their attention before you enter in order to prevent any unfriendly mishaps between canines. But as long as you respect others and clean up after you four legged friend, this is an amazing space for you to be able to enjoy with your fur baby.  I know my border collie would have loved this space had he still been alive.

So, there you have the details about this amazing space called Wämöparken that we went and explored and thoroughly enjoyed.  I can recommend enjoying either a whole day here in any season, as there is more than enough to keep you busy during the winter months too, or dipping in and out of the area for a few hours.  It is most definitely a beautiful outdoor space that we will be returning too again and again.

Wämöparken, Karlskrona, Karlskrona, Blekinge, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Country Kids
 

Bastasjö Friluftsområde – An Outdoor Family Haven

Bastasjö is a lake that is the centre piece of the Bastasjö friluftsområde, outdoor area.  It is very convenient being only about a 15 minute drive from the centre of the city of Karlskrona in the south of Sweden.  It is a huge area of hiking trails around the surrounding woods.  What makes this place so good for families are several things.  There are a lot of marked trails in a variety of distances, so you can pick what you think you can manage.  There are also good fire pits, surrounding the lake on all sides, allowing for you to build a campfire safely and cook in the great outdoors.  At the side of the lake where the main car park is, there is also a building, which houses toilets.  You can rent this out as well if you are running an activity in this location.  

We arrived at Bastasjö in the depths of winter during the Swedish sportlov holiday, and although we were doing our own thing, it was interesting to see they had a “drop in” campfire with sausages cooking, everyday this holiday week from 10am until 1pm.  They also had other activities, for example a night run and orienteering.  There are illuminated trails, as well as ones you can use for cross country skiing when there is enough snow on the ground.  We chose our trail, the blue one that skirted round the lake, spotting a fire pit that looked good at the half way point, and we set off.

We had travelled inland for about 20 minutes to reach Bastasjö, so there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground compared to what we had at home on the coast, so it made for a scenic walk.  The lake was truly frozen over, and there were even some intrepid people having a mini ice hockey game on it…..but keeping very close to the edge still.  They obviously did not trust the ice thickness that much.  My trio were keen to use their binoculars to watch them (see my other tips for hiking with children).  They have never known sea or lake ice so thick you can run, walk, or play on it.  They were memorised.  It all helped to take their minds off the fact they were hiking with backpacks, and were surprisingly perky!  They were even surprised to find themselves at our chosen fire pit thinking the first part of the walk had gone fast, and I was quite surprised to find us there without any whinges of “I’m hungry”!

The children dropped their backpacks, and although the little lady announced she was doing the Kelly Kettle, all three raced off and suddenly starting constructing a den in the woods behind the fire pit.  I was happy at my work in the peace and quiet sorting out a lunch of hot dogs and campfire toffee apples.  Whilst I was busy, a lady who had seen us light the fire from the other side of the lake where the building is, had walked round and started taking photos….apparently she needed photos of people out enjoying the area with their children during sportlov!  Once cooked, three hungry little den builders appeared and gobbled their food up.  There was a lovely wooden shelter at this fire pit, and although it was not windy today and not such a painful experience to eat outdoors, it was lovely to be a little sheltered while we ate.  I had not planned to stay at the fire pit for the whole 2 hours that we did, but the children were so happy climbing trees and den building, that I left them to it until they were ready to leave.  Instead, I amused myself by trying to keep the fire going by using twigs from the ground, and although they were covered in snow I somehow managed, so was feeling quite pleased with myself!  

Eventually the trio felt it was time to pack up and move off, and we set off to complete the trail and the loop around Bastasjö.  They tested the limits of the ice on the lake intermittently and tried to break it with large rocks……no luck in breaking it though, it was really solid ice.  

I would definitely recommend visiting this lovely outdoor area beside Bastasjö if you are in the area, and for us it will be fun to return in the summer and see a totally different looking place to the one we had experienced today.  There are also geocaches in the area, but due to the cold, my phone battery dies very fast, so we never got to look for them today, so we will save those for the warmer months as well.  Something to look forward to coming back for, as well as maybe different organised activities we could try next time.

Bastasjö Friluftsområde, Bastasjö, Outdoors, Sweden, Hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids
 

Skåne’s Outdoor Viking Museum – Fotevikens Museum

Over the summer holidays, I took the trio over into Skåne county for a camping adventure.  While we were there we visited a fantastic outdoor viking museum, called Fotevikens Museum.  The viking museum is an open air museum, which is depicting how life could have been in a viking village.  It is so good for the children and their imagination because apart from usual exhibits, they have reconstructed a whole viking town, showing various different buildings.  As is common here in Sweden, a great importance is placed on being able to interact with the museum and exhibits, therefore climbing up stairs, exploring inside the buildings, and picking up exhibits to examine, is encouraged.  A perfect way for children to learn and remember their experience.

 

We arrived for when it opened, although as we have found over the past year of living here, nothing really seems to get too busy!  However, I wanted the children to be able to bimble around at their own pace, and not feel rushed.  I paid 110 sek for me (just over £10), and 40 sek (around £3.60) for the little lady, and my 5 year old twins were free.  I get quite excited about reasonable entrance fees to places, as to take a family of 5 anywhere usually costs a small fortune!  The children excitedly headed into the viking museum village under the town wall and through the gates, the village’s protection.

We saw and explored a lot of differing types of buildings.  There was a blacksmith’s, a poultry house, tanner’s home, the guard tower (which we climbed to the top of several times to enjoy a stunning view), fishery cottage, a smokehouse, lawman’s home, town hall, weaver’s house, and a baker’s home and bakery.  Not only could we explore these buildings in the viking museum, but there were people dressed authentically, working away in their respective trades.  So, for example, at the bakery they were baking various goods and you could taste them too.  If people didn’t have a trade, they were going about their village life…chopping fire wood, making clothes, or maintaining homes.  There was even a “punishment area” complete with stocks, and a post with neck weight and chain.
The trio had such an amazing time, full of questions, and letting their imaginations run riot!  I would really recommend this viking museum as a place to visit if you are ever over this way in the world 🙂 Even after living here for nearly a year, I am still amazed by the Swedish attitude that children should be allowed to touch, feel, and climb over everything.  Of course this is by far the best way for them to get the most out of an experience and create memories, but it is such a refreshing change of attitude to be able to live with on a daily basis!

Fotevikens Museum, viking museum, outdoor museum, vikings, skane, sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Valentine’s Day – A Family Alternative

 

Last year, for the first time, I tried an alternative Valentine’s Day idea….I made it more about family (well Dadda was still at work, but it included the children!), and we headed out to an island with an amazing view for a sunset picnic.  With sunset still occurring early enough during the winter, there is no danger of missing bedtimes 😉 !!  So what better way to celebrate Alla Hjärtans Dag (Valentine’s Day) than with a sunset picnic.  We lit a fire in the fire pit to keep us warm, we watched the sky change through a rainbow of colours, we listened to the bird song as they started to roost at dusk, we got to see a few murmurations, and we got to see the stars come out and spot a few constellations.  It was only -2°C, there was no wind, and this sunset picnic was a perfect end to the day 🙂

Some Simple Food Ideas For A Valentine’s Day Picnic:

The last thing you want to be doing for your Valentine’s Day picnic is going all out with the food so you can’t enjoy the experience and magic of the moment as well.  You need to keep it themed but simple.

  • For our sunset picnic I had made heart shaped sandwiches (using a biscuit/cookie cutter).
  • I served these with a side order of jam croissants.
  • They were accompanied by heart shaped Swedish biscuits (pepparkakor).
  • For drinks we had a flask of hot chocolate and a flask of hot squash.

I had also taken a table runner and a nice candle (that would stay lit outdoors!) to make it a really special cosy sunset picnic. I wouldn’t normally be quite so extravagant with extras outdoors, especially as I usually have to lug it up some hill!  I completely forgot their fruit (bad mummy moment!!) but I did totally remember the marshmallows 🙂

With the fire lit (we didn’t need it to cook for once, but it added warmth and awesomeness to the experience), we needed to put it to good use toasting some yummy marshmallows.  Always a favourite.  The stars were starting to come out by now and Venus was shining brightly.  The children were trying to get snowballs to reach the sea, and we were treated to huge murmurations of birds.  Eventually it was time to dampen the embers and head off, but everyone was very chilled and happy having had their sunset picnic outdoors, listening to and watching a natural spectacle or two 🙂  What better way to experience Valentine’s Day together?!

Valentine's Day - A Family Alternative, Family Valentine's Day, Sunset picnic, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Renovation Bay-Bee

Cost Of Living In Sweden – Risk & Reward

When we first heard about the possibility of moving to Sweden, there was a lot of research we needed to do.  One of the main things to look into was the cost of living in Sweden.  It is OK to think you need a certain income coming in, but how would the cost of living in Sweden compare to the cost of living in the UK.  We researched as best we could from a distance, and in a very short space of time.  However, since hitting the ground here (running!!), there are a few things we now know about a lot better, so I thought I would put together some main points and differences about the cost of living in Sweden.

Housing:

There is no doubt about it, you can get a lot more for your money here than back in the UK.  Yes, prices around the main cities can be comparable to ours in the UK, but once you move only a few km’s away from there the prices drop significantly.  Whereas in the UK, you can live a good distance from a main town and still be paying a lot for very little (and yes we did used to live in the south of England so prices were also higher there).  We now live around 15km from a big town with amazing transport links in and out, considering it is a Swedish island too.  We have what can be called a proper garden, not a postage stamp.  This was an amazing bonus point for the cost of living in Sweden, as it was by far our biggest outgoing.

Home Insurance:

This seems to be around double what we would have paid back in the UK for a similar sized home, with contents.  I am not sure if it is because we are living in a wooden house now (the insurance comes complete with free fire extinguisher), but this is a cost that needs to be borne in mind when budgeting.

Groceries:

I have found a weekly shop for 5 people roughly balances out, but if you are big meat eaters you need to budget more for this household expenditure.  We have one vegan in the home and I tend to eat that meal too, and the children get a main meal at school every day, so we do not buy meat so much for everyday use.  Expect to pay double for meat than you would in a standard supermarket in the UK.  Cheese is also another constantly pricey item.  Otherwise most things are comparable in price.  You get the odd randomly higher priced item; raisins, washing powder, and hot chocolate are a few! But generally, our outgoings on food are very similar.  I was pleasantly surprised when we started buying alcohol.  I had thought it would be a lot more than the UK, but it is around the same for a bottle of wine.  Four cans of beer would perhaps work out a pound or two more, but it is not a deal breaker.

Eating Out:

Whilst we don’t really get to do this (I can’t take credit for the photo, that is a friend’s mouth watering meal), it is more expensive.  Two coffees, a hot chocolate, and 2 small pieces of cake will easily set you back over 200 SEK (around £20), while a meal out will be similar in comparison.  Thank heavens McDonald’s and IKEA compare similarly!!  So you can always downgrade to those options, although I do love a good meal at IKEA!!  As for drinks, you can easily pay double for a glass of wine or a pint (half litre!) of beer.

Cost of Running A Car:

We have a Volvo V70 (yes I know, very Swedish, but we were limited with options as we had to fit three car seats across the back seat).  The cost of buying this was similar to if we had bought one in the UK the same age etc, and insuring it is similar too.  Here though you insure the vehicle (so anyone qualified can drive it), rather than a person.  You also mustn’t forget to include your wild animal cover for those deer and elks that like to give you heart failure as you are driving along.  Fuel is also about the same price as well.

Utility Bills:

We are paying a little more over the course of a year for electricity than we did in the UK for both electricity and gas, we only use electricity here.  Bear in mind though it is on 24/7 over the Swedish winter, whereas in the UK we got away with a couple of hours twice a day.  Water costs are about the same, but what is significantly cheaper is everything that comes under the title “council tax” in the UK.  We pay for bins separately and you chose a plan that suits you and your rubbish production.  We are a family of five and have alternate week collections for food and combustible waste. Similar to UK and costs around £20/month.  Everything else (cardboard, metal, plastic, glass etc) we take to the recycling places which are found all over the place. Our nearest is about a 5 minute walk, or no time at all in the car.  Don’t think big recycling centres like in the UK (“the tip”), think a group of metal skips like bottle banks, that you just pull up, sort, and go again.  The rest of our home tax is around £48/month compared to over £170/month for our council tax in the UK.

Public Transport:

Dadda uses the busses daily for his commute into town about 15km away.  He pays £60/month for his travel card for busses that turn up on time, for a regional area for up to around 25km radius away from the main town, for as much travel as he wants (or anybody else, as anyone can use the card), and up to two children under 7 go free with a paying adult.  It is also very reliable.

Children’s Activities:

This was a big outgoing for us in the UK having 3 children.  We don’t over schedule them, but we insist on swimming lessons. Then if there is something they want to do, we let them within reason.  Swimming is hard to compare as the lessons here are 40 minutes, plus our older one can actually attend twice a week if she wanted to.  It averages out to not being too much more than we were paying in the UK.  Our little lady is a member of the (sea) Scouts here and her scouting membership is around £32 for the year.  Back in the UK we paying around £24 for a term for Brownies.  We pay £40/year each for the boys to do a local gymnastic class, plus twin 1 does an hour of football a week too for that price.  Twin 2 could, but he chooses not to.  It is a pass to do whatever is on offer.  The little lady’s modern/jazz dance class works out a lot cheaper….half the price of what we paid in the UK, which was around average price there. But when she and twin 1 did do ballet that was at least double.  So, it can depend on what your child enjoys, but on average it is comparable to the UK and not a shock to the system when you move.

I hope this little insight into the cost of living in Sweden has been helpful if you are thinking about moving abroad. If not, it may have been fun to have a little nosy at how we have found it!  If you are thinking of moving abroad, but not to Sweden, I hope it can give you some direction to research in terms of budgeting.  It was so hard to get a picture of what the cost of living in Sweden would be before we moved.

Let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are about the cost of living in Sweden, especially if you have moved here too, and let me know if there is anything you have found living here 🙂

The cost of living in Sweden, Sweden cost of living, Cost of moving abroad, cost of living abroad, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Moving To Sweden – Tips For Your Arrival

We were very lucky when we moved, Dadda had been in the country for 8 weeks before I and the three children arrived in Sweden.  This was due to the time it took us to find, purchase, and move into a house.  However, if he hadn’t been our “advanced party” a few things may have tripped us up moving to Sweden.  However, with no children or family logistics to distract him, Dadda was able to get himself sorted out, get paperwork done, find out what needed to be done, and settle into a new country, before the rest of us landed and we needed help.  He sussed out what was needed to be done ready for us.

Photograph: Sonia Cave

So what would be my top tips for moving to Sweden?

Get A Personal Number ASAP:

This is your top priority when moving to Sweden.  It really is a magic number that is the key to unlocking your life in Sweden.  Without it you can’t get a bank account, library card, supermarket membership (even for self scanning), the list goes on….

Sit Back And Wait:

Be prepared for things to take time, from paperwork to home WiFi being installed.  Nothing is done in a rush here, and as frustrating as that can seem when you are still waiting for Försäkringskassan to sort out your child benefit payments a year after your move (they prefer to write a letter to you and send it via Swedish snail mail when they hit a snag), you need to accept this pace of life with good grace, and plan for it 🙂

Photograph: Sonia Cave

Don’t Plan To Get Things Done In The Summer:

Sweden is on holiday in the summer.  Yes, that is right, the whole of Sweden (or so it seems when you trying to get things done).  One reason for moving here was the Swedish work/life balance, but when the full force of this hits you during an international move/immigration process, it can be a little frustrating.  Dadda arrived in Sweden in the middle of August.  He needed to make his arrival in Sweden official, settle into a new job, look for a house, and buy one, sort out purchasing a family car…..and everything else that goes along with all that.  However, during the summer months it is very hard to pin anyone down due to the fact that they are far too busy enjoying the Swedish summer months….fair enough, the summer life is fabulous here, but just don’t try and do your moving to Sweden then 🙂

Be Punctual:

We are English, we need to arrive 5 minutes before an appointment time or if we are meeting someone, it is polite.  It’s bred into us English people that that is the right behaviour.  Or if like me and you have three small children to drag out the house, you are always running, stressed, and late!  Either way, that is not Swedish.  In Sweden, there is a time for something, and you arrive bang on that time.  We once were viewing a house and had arrived 5 minutes early.  We looked around the property a little confused as to why no one was here from the estate agents.  Then, bang on the allotted time, a deluge of cars arrived, both other prospective buyers and the agent.

Photograph: Sonia Cave

Sign Up For Supermarket Membership:

Obviously this is only after you have your personal number!!  See the first point made.  In the UK, you load your shopping onto a lovely long conveyor belt, wait your turn, then pack it up as it is gently passed down the other end, and then you pay.  Moving to Sweden, I suddenly found the whole packing a weekly food shop up for a family of 5 very stressful.  You can only load a small amount of shopping as the conveyor belt is very short.  This means that you have to keep loading it on, while it is being whizzed through by the cashier.  You don’t get a chance to pack anything before you must pay.  A barrier goes down so the next person’s food goes off down a different lane.  However, in the blink of an eye, their transaction is done, while your food is still needing to be packed and getting so squished as the conveyor belt is still moving everything to the other end in one big pile (handy tip….never put eggs, biscuits, cereal, or milk through first!!).  You now get all hot, sweaty, and stressed as the barrier lifts and the next person’s shopping hurtles towards yours! In short, get membership, get scanning as you go along, and make the food shop a lot easier to deal with 🙂

Embrace The Sauna:

These delights are everywhere, and you need to leave time to use them.  After going swimming you will head into your changing room (male or female), to be faced with everyone casually sitting naked in the sauna, drying after their shower…..mind boggling for a reserved Brit!  You will discover saunas floating in the fjord, so you can leap right into the fresh water afterwards.  You will wander round your little Swedish island discovering them in all shapes and sizes in gardens.

I hope, if you’re thinking of moving to Sweden you will find these tips helpful (if you have already moved you may have experienced them).  If you are not moving to Sweden, I am hoping you will have gained a little insight into what it is like to move abroad!  If you like my photos of Sweden in this post, hop over to Instagram where you can view more photos of  beautiful Sweden 🙂

Click here if you want to read more about moving and living in Sweden.

Moving to Sweden, living in Sweden, Moving abroad, living abroad, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Photograph: Sonia Cave

I have had a similar article published by the Newbieguide.se and it can be found by clicking on the following link http://www.thenewbieguide.se/moving-sweden-tips-arrival/ 🙂

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