Category: Living abroad in Sweden (Page 2 of 11)

A Swedish Christmas – Learn How To Do Christmas Like a Swede

The Swede’s have no shortage of Christmas traditions, and living here we have been more than happy to embrace them, and mix them in with our British ones, for a multicultural Christmas celebration.  I’m going to share with you my top 13 Swedish Christmas Traditions.  Sit back and enjoy, and you never know, you may want to adopt a few for your family this year 🙂

My 13 Favourite Swedish Christmas Traditions:

  1. Outdoor lights:  These go up very early, and are put away a month or so into the New Year, well after the Christmas decorations have come down.  In fact last year we were getting a little nervous and kept checking out of our windows to see if others still had them on display.  The twelfth night of Christmas came and went and we worried about bad luck coming on our household!!  We needn’t have worried, we seem to have been OK!  It is a tradition used more to brighten up the long dark winter and they are on display for a a good few months.
  2. Candle Lights:  Again, these tend to go up at the same time as the outdoor lights, and again we have learnt that they stay up many weeks after Christmas.  You need to have a set in every possible window, and when we arrived from England with only one set, we very quickly bought up a supply, and now we are the proud owners of 5 sets 🙂 Heaven knows where I’ll put them all if we ever return to the UK!!!  It really is beautiful though to see.  Offices and schools do this too in every window and it all looks so cosy up at school at the moment.  Driving through town it is lit up with everyone’s candle lights in the offices and flats.
  3. Star Lights:  Staying with lights (are you spotting a common theme here?!), having oversized star lights hanging or as lamps in your windows is an absolute must too.  We had one when we arrived, and again that is just not enough.  We are now the proud owners of 4 hanging stars and one star lamp.  If I do return to the UK I think our home might be mistaken for the Nativity Stable by the locals unused to the sheer size and volume of star lights!!
  4. Christmas Eve:  The main festivities take place on Christmas Eve here.  We have a really lovely balance I think in our family.  We attend the Christmas Eve service at the island’s church late morning, followed by a mid afternoon huge Christmas meal.  Then after which our children open their “Norwegian” gifts (my side of the family has Norwegian background, and like Sweden they celebrate on Christmas Eve, so I have grown up opening my Norwegian gifts on Christmas Eve too).  Then on Christmas morning they will open their gifts from Father Christmas, and then in the afternoon their “English” Christmas gifts.  It allows us to pace the excitement a little too.
  5. Christmas Day Smörgås:  Just in case you are not stuffed full enough after the Christmas Eve celebrations, there’s a loaded table of cold fish, meats, and cheeses to attack on Christmas Day…..so gear yourself up for it (actually last year we all skipped breakfast and just had everything out all day and came and went as we pleased, around playing with Play-Doh and constructing a gazillion Lego gifts).
  6. Tomtar:  These lovely little men are all around you at Christmas here.  I have grown up used to the Norwegian version (nisse), but living in a country where I can now freely get hold of tomte things (serviettes, cloths, towels etc and of course little tomte themselves) still hasn’t quite hit home, and every time I come back from shopping we have another one added to our collection!!  Our little lady has started rolling her eyes at me every time she spots a new one perched somewhere….I know I probably need help but they are lovely 🙂  I think we have more than enough for our Swedish Christmas.
  7. Pepparkakor:  These delicious thin biscuits are indeed a must for every day in December.  Children’s swimming classes end….every one gets out the pool and dripping wet are served pepparkakor and coffee to celebrate. Visitors over…..serve pepparkakor with mulled wine. Watch the children for their little Christmas concert….your picnic basket better contain pepparkakor. Scouts’ Christmas party…..pepparkakor.  It’s the winter equivalent of korv med bröd (refer to my post about 15 things I have learnt living here)
  8. Glögg:  This is another essential throughout the month of December to get you in the festive mood, and we go through gallons!  It is perfect after a freezing afternoon hike in the Swedish outdoors, or on returning from an afternoon sledging.  We have had no problem at all adopting this tradition.
  9. Julmust:  This is a very sweet drink…think Coke, then think sweeter still! In fact, I can feel my teeth wanting to fall out when I drink it!  It is only available for the Swedish Christmas time (oh and Easter when it is the same drink but sold as Påskmust) and it is the non alcoholic Christmas drink for the little people (or those driving).  I do serve my trio this, but I have to say I cringe inwardly every time I do, thinking of the poor dentist!
  10. Risgrynsgröt (Rice Pudding):  No figgy pudding in this house now, it’s rice pudding with either jam or cinnamon and sugar on (or everything on!).  Extremely filling and sold in what looks like plastic white sausages!!
  11. Kalle Anka (Donald Duck):  On the 24th every Swedish household comes to a stand still to watch Donald Duck….since 1959!!  In fact it is so ingrained in their culture, whole Swedish Christmas festivities are planned around this TV broadcast.
  12. 20 Days Of Christmas:  It’s not 12 days of Christmas here, but there are 20 days to a Swedish Christmas…oh yes you need to be sweeping up those pine needles for quite a bit longer here in Sweden than in the UK.  Right up until the 13th January…then remember don’t put any lights away, they still stay out!!! (see points 1,2, and 3).
  13. Christmas Tree Throwing:  And finally when you do take the Christmas tree down, you are supposed to fling open a window and throw it out as a tradition……however, these days it is more common to see it being driven to the recycling centre to avoid being accused of littering!!

I hope you have enjoyed my little insight into some Swedish Christmas traditions, and if you decide to adopt some in your home make sure you let me know which ones in the comments below.  Have a great Christmas and don’t forget to follow us on all our adventures on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest too 🙂

God Jul och Gott Nytt År

A Swedish Christmas -Learn How To Do Christmas Like A Swede, God Jul, Sweden, Swedish Christmas, Sweden Winter, Christmas, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Pepparkakor – Make A Swedish Winter Biscuit

Pepparkakor are everywhere throughout winter, at every celebration, end of swimming lessons, scouts’ Christmas party, or stockpiled in your cupboards.  Usually accompanied by a very welcome mug of glögg (mulled wine), these thin festively spicy biscuits are very moorish.  Try our recipe and let me know how you get on in the comments below.

These lovely little innocuous Swedish biscuits have a very unique taste with a small amount of fire, and something you can’t quite put your finger on.  It’ll be the presence of the cardamom, a spice that is put in a lot of baking in Scandinavia and gives things a very individual taste.  So, unless you want to head to your nearest Ikea (if you live in the UK), pop on your pinafore and get baking these delicious pepparkakor – I challenge you not to scoff the lot!!

Pepparkakor Ingredients:

1 tablespoon cardamom

150g butter

250g sugar

50g light syrup (for UK use normal syrup)

20g dark syrup (for UK use treacle)

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

100ml water

450g plain flour

Pepparkakor Method:

  1. Mix butter, sugar, and syrups in a pan, and heat gently until the butter melts.
  2. Turn the mixture off and add in all the spices (cardamon, ginger, and cinnamon).
  3. Add in the baking powder.
  4. Add water
  5. Add flour.
  6. Put it all into a bowl once it is mixed well.  Leave it to rest at least overnight but up to a week if possible (we did a few days and all was well).  Cover it when it has cooled.
  7. When you are ready, roll it quite thin 1-2mm and cut the shapes in with cutters that you fancy (we did Elk and hearts).
  8. Cook at 200 degrees Celcius for 8-10 mins (you need to watch them!!)

Let them cool on a wire rack and then see how long the batch lasts!!  Don’t forget to let me know in the comments below how it went and if they were gobbled down 🙂Peppakakor - Make A Swedish Winter Biscuit, Peppakakor, Ginger Biscuit, Biscuit, Swedish Biscuit, Christmas Biscuit, Swedish Food, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

St.Lucia – Discover A Swedish Winter Tradition

On December 13th, all over Sweden, the day of St.Lucia is celebrated.  There are costumes, candles, lights, buns, drinks, and singing 🙂

So who is St.Lucia?

Along with the celebration of midsummer, the celebration of St.Lucia is a very popular cultural tradition here in Sweden. The idea behind this mythical character is that she has the role of bearing light in the long, cold, dark, winters.  St Lucia was originally a young Christian lady betrothed  to a pagan gentleman.  She cut off their engagement, and he was not too happy, so he made the Roman authorities aware she was a Christian.  Consequently she was sentenced to death and became a martyr, and the saint of light.

How to celebrate St.Lucia:

  1. Dress up: The children are dressed in white gowns, with red sashes, and a wreath of candles is placed upon their heads.  There is often great competition for the role of St.Lucia, and whilst a lot of costumes will now involve electric candles, the main St.Lucia of the celebration is still known to have real candles on her head in most places.  She is accompanied by her handmaidens (tärnor) who wear white gowns and have tinsel in their hair.  She is also accompanied by star boys (stjärngossar), who wear white robes, cone shaped hats, and carry golden stars on sticks.  The processions now often include tomtar (santa like elves) and gingerbread people.  My double trouble are going to be tomtar this year. 
  2. Food:  No celebration would be truly Swedish without having a special bun or cake made for the occassion!  On this day you eat lussekatter.  They are made with saffron, so have a peculiar flavour to them, but are very tasty. Also on offer are the pepparkakor (small thin ginger biscuits), all swallowed down with yet more glögg!  Or if you are a child, the incredibly sweet drink of Julmust, or maybe just a coffee if you are driving.
  3. Sing Songs:  Most of these songs have a similar theme about the dark and about candles, but singing is a big part of the celebration.

We will be enjoying a little St.Lucia celebration in my twins’ class one evening around this time as they sing us some songs.  They are going to be a couple of tomtar 🙂  Comment and let me know your thoughts on this Swedish tradition and if you’ve enjoyed reading about it below.  Don’t forget to share the post to let others know!

St.Lucia Discover a winter Swedish tradition, St.Lucia, Sweden culture, Swedish traditions, Swedish celebrations, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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/st-lucia-discover-swedish-winter-tradition/

   

Enjoying the Outdoors In Sweden – Get Out There!

Sweden is a truly beautiful country, and exploring the outdoors in Sweden is made so easy for people, yet it remains unspoilt, wild, and rugged.  One of the main reasons we moved here, was to be part of the way Swede’s experience their outdoors and nature, even through their daily routine.  Throughout my blog I am passionate about the need for outdoors and nature, it being important for so many reasons, for both us humans and nature.  You can read about this in the following places:

http://mammasschool.co.uk/outdoor-adventures/nature-therapy-seeking-calm-solitude/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/healing-nature-relying-beach-work-magic/

Here in Sweden, access is so easy that there are really no excuses not to be out there exploring and enjoying the great Swedish outdoors.  There are many ways outdoor exploring is made easy for everyone to do:

Allemansrätten

Here in Sweden, there is this fantastic ideal called “allemansrätten”. This is the right of public access to roam freely almost anywhere in the countryside.  However, there are a few responsibilities that come with this; you take care of nature and wildlife, respect landowners and others enjoying the countryside, respect the land and leave no trace that you have been there, don’t disturb and don’t destroy.  It is a very rare concept, allowing you to enjoy the Swedish outdoors in its full glory.  We have taken advantage of this through lots of hiking, and even taking the children for a wild camping experience.

 

Good Trails and Facilities

When we first moved here, I picked up this fantastic guide from our local tourist office.  It was completely free as well!  What I wasn’t anticipating was it to be crammed full of hiking routes.  Inside are around 50 detailed walking areas, showing trails, toilets (of the non flushing variety), fire pits to cook on, and lots of other good information.  It has been a bible for us when we’ve been exploring our local area and getting to know it.  Generally when you arrive at your destination’s car park, you have also got a map of the area, showing the same facilities.  This has been invaluable to helping us explore with young children. The provision of cooking areas in nature encourages you to be able to enjoy the outdoors even more and learn new skills, whilst enabling you do it responsibly….fire pits and toilets are helping to protect the environment from our impact.  We have enjoyed using the cooking areas a lot. The children are learning basic bush craft skills now, and how to use those skills responsibly too.  At least once a week they are cooked for on an open fire in the great outdoors in Sweden, whether it is sun, rain, or snow, and they love it….maybe less so when the food is a little (OK, sometimes, a lot) blackened!

 

Part of Daily Life

Being outdoors in Sweden is part of daily life here.  Which is good for us as we need the outdoors too.  My three children are often found in the woods next to the school with their class, doing their learning in nature.  Fritids (the after school care) takes them off into the woods, or to play parks, or even sledging in the winter.  I am often on the receiving end of a strop when I go to collect them (the twins go one at a time every other day to learn more Swedish) because they do not want to come home!  There is a steady stream of people power-walking, running, or cycling, past our house all day, every day.  The outdoors is a very important part of living in Sweden….and weather is no excuse either.  Just make sure you are wearing the right clothing, or provide the right clothing for your children at school (and lots of it…they will get wet and dirty!).

9 Ways To Enjoy The Great Swedish Outdoors

  1. Grill on the beach with friends on a summer’s day out
  2. Hike – use one of the many hiking trails around
  3. Use archipelago boats to explore an archipelago in the summer months
  4. Grill at the sledging slope with friends on a winter’s day out
  5. Take your bikes out for a long bike ride
  6. Have a sunrise or sunset picnic…we do this a lot 🙂
  7. Go wild berry picking in the woods – they are delicious!
  8. Try “wild” camping
  9. Try mushroom foraging – but make sure you know what is safe and what isn’t!

Our Instagram tells the story of our adventures in pictures, so if you like looking at photos of beautiful Sweden, head over and take a look.  Finally I want to leave you with one last thought that you need to remember when you are enjoying the outdoors; “take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints” – Chief Seattle

Enjoying the outdoors in sweden - get exploring!, Sweden, outdoors, exploring, exploring Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

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/great-swedish-outdoors-get-exploring/    🙂

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Strawberry Cake – Traditional Swedish Midsummer Treat

So, what do you need to make your delicious strawberry cake?

Ingredients:

2 round,plain, sponge cakes.

1 egg yolk.

1 tablespoon icing sugar.

vanilla extract 1 teaspoon.

400ml whipping cream.

Punnet of strawberries.

Then the next step is assembling the strawberry cake:

Instructions:

First of all, find a recipe for 2 round sponge cakes, and make those.  Let them cool.

Slice up half your strawberries thinly, leaving enough whole ones to cover the top of the cake.

Whisk the egg yolk and the icing sugar together.  Then add the vanilla extract.

Whip 150mls of the cream and then fold it into the egg and sugar mix.

Spread the cream mixture over the first sponge cake (bottom layer).

Then lay the chopped strawberries over the top of the cream, covering the cake.

Place the second cake on the top.

Whip 250mls of the cream and then spread all over the top of the cake and around the sides.

Place the remaining whole strawberries onto the top, and there you have a very tasty Swedish strawberry cake 🙂

Swedish strawberry cake, midsummer cake, swedish midsummer cake, strawberry cake, summer cake, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

 

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Midsummer in Sweden – Party with Family and Friends

Midsummer in Sweden, Swedish Midsummer, Midsommar, Midsummer Party, Midsummer, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Summer seems so far away now, but as I was on a bit of a blogging break at the time, I still have some catching up to do.  Midsummer here is so lovely that I wanted to share it with you 🙂 Midsummer in Sweden comes quickly after the schools finish in mid June, kick-starting the summer holidays with a festive feel.  Everything in nature has suddenly burst into a riot of colour, very fast after the long winter, and the sun doesn’t set in parts of the country.  It is truly a time to celebrate, and celebrate in style.  Although, having chatted to our new friends around our island, it isn’t uncommon to be serving your midsummer meal courses between random rain showers, and indeed it doesn’t seem it would be a true midsummer’s without them, but you MUST still eat outdoors, or else you aren’t really doing it properly!

So, what does a midsummer celebration consist of?  Firstly, towns are deserted and everything is shut….this is a serious business…and everyone heads off into the countryside to party.  So, we embraced our new culture and got immersed in this festival.  We put our best outfits on and headed off to watch a pole being raised (similar to a Maypole in the UK) in a large open space with hundreds of people turning up with their picnics (with of course lots of coffee), to watch the dancing, and to take part too.  Oh, and don’t forget to put a garland of flowers in your hair.

After the dancing, there is some serious eating to be done.  A typical Midsummer menu consists of varying types of pickled herring, boiled potatoes, dill, sour cream, and chives.  This is often followed by some cooked meat or fish, and for dessert there is the famous strawberry cake.  We took the framework of a typical meal and tampered with it slightly!  We had a buffet style lunch going on 🙂 The pickled herring was there, but there was also smoked gammon, shrimps, smoked salmon, warm bread rolls, fresh dill, meatballs, pickled gherkins, boiled eggs, and potato salad.  We then followed this up with a very tasty strawberry cake.  I had followed a Swedish recipe, and I’m now hooked!  I’m not a great fan of creamy cakes like this, but the midsummer one had me re-evaluating my opinions!  It was so tasty and you can find out how to make this delicious strawberry cake .  This was all washed down with beer, wine, aquavit (a very strong spirit with a rather large kick to it!), and home made elderflower cordial for the little people.  Our little gathering would have been rather quiet compared to the Swedes’, who as they drink up enjoy singing songs, and the racier the better…but we don’t know any…..yet!

After your meal, it is time for more dancing…..I think we just laid down and felt a little sick!  The dancing continues on late into the night, and on the way home there is an old folklore, that if girls and women collect 7 different types of flowers and sleep with them under their pillows, that night their future husband will appear to them in their dreams 🙂  I really enjoyed this celebration, and I am looking forward to next year’s knowing a little more what to expect (for instance we shall have a picnic at the Maypole).

 

 

Sweden – 15 Things I Have Learnt Living Here

We have lived in Sweden for 1 year now, and throughout that year I have been on a very steep learning curve.  I thought I would share with you the 15 main things I have learnt along the way so far 🙂

1. Everything takes time: 

The Swedes are very laid back and they rarely hurry.  This might be over a break at work (fika at work is very important), or installing a phone line and wi-fi (I think this took around 3-4 months after we moved in).  So, to avoid frustration, adapt quickly, chill out, and go with the flow….it’ll happen one day.

2. You can’t buy Marmite or spray furniture polish here: 

Plan in advance and get visitors flying out to see you to bring it, in bulk preferably, whether you need it or not.  Then you can guarantee an ongoing supply.

3. All food is delicious:

But you will eat your own body weight in cinnamon buns within weeks of arriving here, and you will still want more.

4. Candy: 

This is very important here in Sweden, especially on a Saturday (lördagsgodis).  To integrate fully here you need to take a bag at the pick and mix, and fill it every Saturday.

5. The seasons are all amazing:

But they can change rapidly – overnight!  One day you will be wearing your shorts, the next day autumn will have arrived, with no gradual run up to it.

6. The people are really friendly:

They want to help you, and you will need their help too in order to navigate some of the systems in Sweden.  For example, booking a doctor’s appointment or how to repaint your wooden home.

7. EVERYONE speaks English:

This is good when you are struggling with Swedish, but hard to learn if you are a little lazy.  They speak it very well too, but will apologise for not finding one word in a sentence, when I can’t even remember what I was going to say at all in English!!  They are very good at it.

8. Google translate will be your best friend:

You will have the app on your phone to read parking signs, help with the grocery shopping, and so that you stand a chance at doing your child’s reading homework.  You will use it on your computer to translate all the school emails, and other emails that come your way from various places.

9. Predictive text will become your enemy:

As your phone doesn’t know what the hell you are trying to write, and what language you are trying to type in. Until, that is, it starts memorising Swedish words along the way (no one wants to type out “Försäkringskassan” or “Länsförsäkringar” more than necessary!).

10. Hard cash is surplus to requirements:

(unless you need a trolley – 10 SEK coin, or a swim locker – 10 SEK coin).  EVERYTHING is done either by card or phone.  There is none of this 50p charge for under £5.  If you by a 1 SEK sweet (about 10p) you don’t need cash.

11. Hot dogs (korv med bröd):

Are a staple in your diet in Sweden.  Sunny day on the beach?  You make hot dogs.  End of school term?  You meet and cook hot dogs.  The Prime Minister visits the island?  Free hot dogs. You go out on a hike? You cook hot dogs.  You get the idea?!!  You always need an emergency stash in the freezer, it’s prevented me being caught out a few times now!

12. You need to bulk buy your alcohol:

The state run off licenses, Systembolaget, (the only place you can purchase it) are only in certain places (our nearest is about 20km away) so there is no “just popping out for a bottle of wine”.  They’re also closed a lot, especially at weekends and holidays….so stock up, or as I do, make your own!

13. Send all your children’s clothes to school (and more!):

They will need standard clothes for the day, they will need outdoor gear (I mean proper stuff, like full sets of waterproofs, or complete snow gear etc).  They WILL be going outdoors – both for play and lessons.  There are dryer cupboards, but it is helpful for them to have complete spare sets too…..and I mean complete…gloves (they get very wet through in the winter, even ski gloves with little people), socks….you get the picture! You will be taking a lot of clothes backwards and forwards, oh and boots!!

14. Fika: 

This is very important in Sweden.  It’s a chance to just enjoy each other’s company, but does usually involve coffee and a sweet treat.

15. Glögg and Pepparkakor:

Throughout December it is perfectly fine and normal to drink mulled wine (glögg) and eat thin ginger biscuits (pepparkakor) every day…..perfect and my idea of a cosy December!!

I hope you have enjoyed those facts, and learning a little more about Sweden 🙂

Sweden-15 things I have learnt living here, living in Sweden, moving to Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Burnished Chaos
3 Little Buttons
Hot Pink Wellingtons

#ablogginggoodtime

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Living In Sweden – A Year After Our Dream Move

Today sees us celebrating one year since I flew all three children, myself, 3 car seats, and four overweight suitcases, over to join Dadda to start our new lives together living in Sweden.  It seems a good time as any to weigh up the pros and cons of this move, and to look at whether we feel we are here for good (hopefully, barring any silly Brexit shenanigans!).

First off, living in Sweden, we gained 4 seasons!!  The photos depict us losing/gaining various layers as the year progresses!  We love being outdoors, and immersed in nature, and now we have the chance to experience all the seasons fully.  It also makes you appreciate the summer quite a bit more.  When the cold and snow came, life needed a little more planning (like digging the car out), but living in Sweden it does continue (unlike back in the UK where it stops just because it “might” snow!).  The children have embraced everything that has been thrown at them weather wise, and we live with the motto “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”….we have a whole outdoor shop’s supply of outdoor gear now 🙂

The great outdoors, and the Swedish ethos of outdoor living, was a huge attraction for us and for living in Sweden.  Don’t get me wrong, we did live in a beautiful part of the UK, but over here it is all much more natural, wild, and rugged.  Being a larger country, with fewer people in, the natural spaces and wildlife are left well alone and thrive without such a heavy presence of mankind.  There is wildlife and space all around you.  You know that while you are sleeping, the local älg (moose) are checking out the golf course up the road, or the deer are stealing the carrots from your children’s snowmen in the garden!  The public right of access allows everyone to roam freely, as long as they respect the land and nature. We have got to grips with outdoor fires, and enjoy using the regularly placed outdoor fire pits on our hikes.  The beautiful landscapes, the freedom to roam where we want to adventure, and the provision of fire pits in the wild, have definitely fulfilled this reason for moving here.  I think it is fair to say we have been taking full advantage of it all so far!

Let children be children!!  I need to let them run, climb, and explore.  In the UK, this got me a lot of frowns (especially in parks) when I deliberately made a choice not to helicopter parent any of them, as well as letting them use apparatus how they wanted to (provided no one else was affected!).  Plus in the UK there are a lot of expectations of how children should behave, often making them suppress a lot of their childhood instinctive behaviours, and in turn dampen down their spirit, curiosity, and excitement about life.  Over here it is a lot different.  Children are expected to want to make a noise, run around, and climb.  It’s quite common for my little lady to climb the trees in her playground, or twin 2 to be found dangling upside down precariously from a high bar, whereas in the UK those were a definite no no.  They are outdoors in all weathers, not cooped up because of some wind and rain.  The Swedes have clocked onto the fact that children don’t want to, and won’t sit still like statues, but instead they expect them to be moving.  The best bit….no one’s looking at your parenting skills or your child and seeming to be criticising them, when children are just being children.

Living in Sweden we have all left lovely close friends behind.  Only yesterday I opened a lovely parcel for the family from some close friends in the UK that made me a little weepy…..of the happy sort!  A year on though and we have met some very special people here who have helped us to settle in and go out of their way to help us.  They have become very good friends.  Also, our summer was very busy with close friends from the UK visiting, and the whole year has seen many friends and family coming.  There are five more sets of visitors booked for the next four months already!  It was hard leaving family and friends behind, and we do miss them a lot, but we are so grateful for those who have offered us friendship here  in Sweden 🙂

Having left a pressure cooker education system behind that has children exhausted, in tears, and feeling a failure, we are more than happy to embrace the Swedish positive approach to learning.  School is important to us here as a place for the children to meet others their age and learn the language, coming from an English speaking household, so it serves us well too.  It’s such a lovely environment….oh, apart from the no shoes indoors policy….I have to keep a better eye out for the holes in the socks situation!  But on the flip side they love running and sliding down the corridors 🙂  The lovely island school has turned out to be just what we wanted for our trio, and more.

With three children, life can easily start feeling like a hectic race from the moment you get out of bed, until the moment you collapse into it at the end of the day.  A huge reason for moving here was to slow right down, and commit to a much simpler way of living.  It just seems a lot easier to do here.  We have moved to a small island community, you can’t just pop to the shops to spend frivolously (the nearest are about a 30 minute drive), and there are no other material distractions, so life is lived at a more leisurely pace.  We’re no longer sucked into things like a weekend chocca full of children’s parties, activities, or shopping.  Instead it is full of family time, hiking, exploring, and lots of play!

The language is another harder aspect of living abroad.  Our trio are now immersed in it during the week at school, but they are still on a very steep learning curve.  Dadda and I are trying to teach ourselves.  We are making a little headway, understand a lot more than we used to, and can make ourselves understood…albeit with a lot of gesticulation too.  It’s hard learning a new language, but we try and at least begin to speak to the locals in Swedish (we’re lucky that so many are great at speaking English).  The trouble starts when people then respond in Swedish, and we sometimes lose the thread of the conversation, but at least we have made some baby steps.  With this comes other things that are very hard…school homework, when it does come home, takes twice as long as we have to understand it before we can help her with it.  Everything takes longer due to translating along the way (very slowly) and sometimes this can be very frustrating.  Something that is usually an easy task can seem to take forever.

Learning to drive on the other side of the road, in a car set up the opposite way, was another challenge too.  You’d think a year on we’d be OK, but the other night I drove about 500m on the wrong side before realising, so some habits are hard to kick.

There has been a huge downside though, and that is the lack of grown up time for Dadda and I.  There are no baby sitters here (yet, cross my fingers!), and we have moved abroad knowing there would be no one-night escapes to get a yearly lie in, or no time alone without the presence of our three cheeky monkeys.  As much as I know the younger years fly past in the blink of an eye, I wouldn’t ever say no to some peaceful calm time together, enjoying something as a couple outside of our four home walls.  However, for now, we will have to take the evenings collapsed on the sofa once we’ve tucked the trio up in bed.

If this family adventure does end up with us returning to the UK, at least there will be no “what ifs”, and so no regrets.  We will have tried living in Sweden, and given it a go.  The children will have experienced the world classroom, and a different culture, language, and lifestyle.  Although I really hope we are here to stay now, as this was how we planned it.  I think we have all adapted pretty well so far.  We seem to be integrating a little.  I can’t say enough though about how much we love living here, and I feel that maybe we have found our place in the world that we can call home 🙂

living in sweden, living abroad, moving to sweden, moving abroad, Sweden, www,mammasschool.co.uk

Goodbye For Now….Taking a Break From Blogging

Over the last 15 months of writing this blog, life has changed dramatically for me and my little family.  The reason for starting blogging was to document our home schooling journey, that then became a following of our dreams journey, to now settling down to living abroad and embracing a new culture.  I have loved writing and I have loved having the blog, but in the last few weeks something has shifted.

Originally it was a diary to inspire others, but I’ve got caught up in the whole stats and numbers thing, and wanting to be read.  I think it stems from trying to get your blog “out there”.  There is so much competition and so much background work that needs to be done, I felt that I am always on the alert to make sure that a link up is made before the dead line, or the comments are submitted before closure.  There have also been a few personal things going on in the background too that make me feel I need to take a break and concentrate on my young family, instead of where the next post is coming from.  I hate being online, and yet if I don’t reply or comment on various platforms, algorithms ensure your material doesn’t appear…cruel but it is reality.  So I feel this is all dictating our days that are about living in the moment, and being immersed in the outdoors and nature….all a little bit of a contradiction and it’s been eating away at me.  So, I guess, what I am trying to say is, I am in no way clear aboutwhere I go from here, so over the summer I will take a break, and see how it affects our daily life.  In the meantime, I shall spend my daylight hours running after three very energetic children, exploring Sweden, and being company for my husband in the evenings!!  After the Swedish summer break is up (which starts mid June and finishes at the end of August), I shall decide whether I either missed it, or it just wasn’t for us 🙂  I will decide whether to continue blogging or leave it.  I will keep the https://www.instagram.com/mammasschool/ Instagram account going for now, that will tell the story of our journey in pictures, as I know a lot of my little lady’s friends will like to see what she’s up to..and hoping mine too 😉  xxxxxxxx

Chokladbollens dag – Chocolate Ball Day

Thursday 11th May (torsdag elfte maj) was chokladbollens dag….yes, that’s right, they have a whole day dedicated to eating chocolate balls!  The longer I live here, the more I feel this country is the perfect place for my sweet tooth to have taken residence.  It seems there is always a yummy treat to spend a day officially celebrating!  So, in order to show we were integrating well into Swedish culture and life, we whizzed up a batch of these no-bake treats (like we really needed a reason!!).

So what do you need to make this gooey treat for chokladbollens dag?

Ingredients for Chokladbollens Dag:

250g soft butter

400g rolled oats

175g caster sugar

4 tbs cocoa powder

4 tbs strong cooled coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

desiccated coconut.

This made around 30 balls, but I think it should easily reach 40-50 if you don’t have a 9 year old chocoholic deciding the size of them 🙂

Whizz all the ingredients together, apart from the coconut, and then pop into the fridge to allow it to go a little firmer.  Once firm, roll into small balls, and then roll each ball into the desiccated coconut to cover it.  They should keep in the fridge for around a week….ahem….if you haven’t got me living with you!!

These are very easy and quick to make, and perfect for little people who enjoy “helping” in the kitchen.  Although to be fair my little lady is actually a help now rather than a hindrance.  As for the twins……….!!!!

 

chokladbollens dag, chocolate balls day, sweden www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy

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