Move over Hygge – there’s a new Scandinavian buzzword in town

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 12 months, the Danish word Hygge is likely to have entered your consciousness. In the run-up to Christmas last year you could barely open a magazine or log onto Instagram without seeing another article or post extolling the virtues of ‘Hygge’. A quick search on Amazon uncovers a plethora of books on the subject – from self help manuals telling us ‘How to Hygge’ to cookbooks, knitting guides and even ‘cosy’ colouring books – all published since September last year. Roughly translated as ‘cosiness’, Hygge refers to a Danish way of life that embraces simple pleasures such as a walk through the woods and time spent with friends and family.  As soon as it arrived on British shores, however, the concept was quickly pounced upon by opportunistic marketers and snowballed to include scented candles, sheepskin throws, cashmere jumpers and cups of hot chocolate or mulled wine (ideally sipped in front of a roaring log fire).

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the Hygge hype, fear not, there is a new Scandinavian lifestyle trend just around the corner. The Swedish concept of ‘Lagom’ is here to guide us through what has so far been a turbulent 2017. Meaning ‘sufficient, adequate or just enough’, lagom pervades just about every aspect of everyday life in Sweden and many see it as the one word that sums up the Swedish psyche. Balance and moderation are key to the concept of lagom, which can be applied to our eating, drinking, exercising and spending habits. Put in a different way, if Goldilocks spoke Swedish she would have pronounced Baby Bear’s porridge to be ‘lagom’.

While Hygge is all about chasing that blissful moment of contentment when you relax onto the crisp, newly laundered  bed sheets with your book and cup of cocoa (after capturing the obligatory Instagram shot), lagom is more of a way of life and a concept that can easily be applied as we go through our daily routine. When it comes to food, for instance, lagom can mean planning your meals ahead of time so you buy the right amount of food that you need. Not only will this avoid food wastage, it also means an end to those days when you open the fridge door at 6pm to find just a lone onion rolling around in the vegetable drawer and a stale piece of cheese lurking on a shelf. Similarly, applying lagom to your wardrobe will probably involve going against the throwaway culture and following the ‘buy less, buy better’ philosophy. Sustainability sits at the very core of this concept so it is good for the environment as well as encouraging us to resist the urge to indulge every materialistic whim.

If you need further proof that lagom is here to stay, consider the fact that Swedish furniture giant Ikea has launched a Live LAGOM project that runs until December 31 this year. As part of the project Ikea has been running workshops that aim to encourage people to live more sustainable, healthy and cost-conscious lives by making small changes Continue reading

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My New Year’s Resolutions

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According to Wikipedia:  A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere  but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.

 

Love them or loathe them, New Year’s resolutions are part and parcel of the month of January. We’re only three days in and already I have read umpteen blog posts on the topic so I thought I would throw my two pennies worth in as well. Looking back on my resolutions from last year I’m pleased to see that they were suitably vague as to allow me to claim some modicum of success for most of them. I did manage to go to the gym with some sort of regularity, even if it was just once or twice a week. There can never be enough one-to-one time with the children but at least I made it one of my top priorities in the last 12 months and will continue to do so in 2015. The big clear out of clutter is on-going but some proper headway has been made since this time last year and all the baby paraphernalia is now gone. I haven’t added up and compared my spending in 2014 to the previous year, but I think that at the very least I became more mindful about what I spent my cash on, resulting in fewer mistake buys. The smoothie-making fell by the wayside before January 2014 drew to a close but, as my last resolution was to be kinder to myself, I will let that one go without too much admonishment.

So, what about this year? As the 12 months of 2015 stretch before us like unwritten pages, I am somewhat at a loss to come up with things that I want to achieve this year. Like most people I want to be happy and healthy and I wish the same for my family but that’s hardly going to set me off on some great path to self improvement. However, I do want to work on being able to let things go more easily and not obsess over what other people have said or done or worry so much about how they may have interpreted things that I have said or done.

A year ago I was less than one month into a new job that involved writing about an industry that was completely new to me, and one thing that I have realised over the past 12 months is that I love to learn and to challenge myself. As much as I love being a mum, now that the children are all at full time school, having a job that I enjoy has given me a renewed sense of purpose and helped me carve out an identity apart from that of ‘wife and mother’. So I guess one of my resolutions is to carry on learning and get better at my job while still striving to have a healthy work/family balance.

Lately I’ve been craving a more minimalist lifestyle and by that I don’t mean painting my walls white and wearing sharply cut Helmut Lang but rather a change in attitude towards valuing experiences over material possessions. Having too much stuff can weigh us down emotionally plus trying to keep on top of the clutter takes time away from doing other more enjoyable things. Over the past couple of months I have been purging my wardrobe of things I no longer wear and while I am still some way off having a capsule wardrobe, it has made an enormous difference.

On a more frivolous note I could do with stepping up my grooming regime a notch – there comes a time when the unkempt look is just unkempt, rather than channeling Kate Moss at Glastonbury. Let this be the year that I take my nail polish off as soon as it starts to chip rather than leaving it for another five days, pluck my brows every week, invest in an eyelash curler and wear jewellery (other than my wedding rings) and matching underwear every day.

New Year’s resolutions are obviously not my forte; it took me about an hour to come up with that rather meager list. So, do tell, what are your resolutions for 2015?

P.S. Just as I was about to press Publish I came across this New Year’s resolutions questionnaire here so I thought I would add my answers to this post:

A bad habit I’m going to break: Worrying too much

A destination I’d like to visit: California

I’m going to work harder at: Not stressing when we’re getting ready to leave for school in the mornings

A project I’d like to finish: Our new kitchen extension

A class I’d like to take: Photography

I’d like to spend more time doing: Traveling

A food I want to eat more of: Leafy greens

I want to wear more: Jewellery

 

Sunday Inspiration ♥

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Hope you’re all having a great weekend. I had a late night yesterday and am paying the price for it today…

Recently we have had a busier social life than usual and I feel that now may be time to turn over a new (healthier) leaf. After all it is almost the start of a new month so I might as well kick start July with some good intentions. Nothing too drastic, just a few small changes like no wine and less sugar during the week and more fresh, healthy food and exercise.

I have seen lots of people on Instagram following Neila Rey’s fitness challenges. I had a look at her website and really like her advice on how to start a healthy lifestyle – especially the bit about starting off gently! I’m thinking of giving her 30 Days of Change program a try before we go on holiday in a month’s time.

Apologies that I am so slow at responding to comments at the moment. Life is very busy with work during the week and then family stuff at the weekends but I’m determined to get better at it – after all, the connection with other bloggers is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much.

Hope you have a fab Sunday! X

My Writing Process Blog Tour

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I was thrilled to be invited by ALifeMoment to take part in the Writing Process Tour. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, I urge you to do so now. It is packed full of mouthwatering recipes, beautifully presented and very clearly written. I have tried quite a few of her recipes already and am always earmarking new ones to try.Her blog has a real ‘feel good’ atmosphere and Alice’s zest for life and good food really shines through.

For those who don’t know what a Writing Process Tour is, it is a virtual tour where a blogger is invited by another fellow blogger to answer some questions and in return he/she has to invite three bloggers to answer the questions and post exactly one week after.

Here are my answers to the questions:

What am I working on?

I started a new job before Christmas so at the moment a lot of my time is spent writing about fine jewellery. Although it is related to fashion, it is a new area for me but I’m really enjoying working as part of a lovely team and learning more about jewellery and gemstones. The blog has had to take a slight backseat in the last few months but I;m determined to carry on with it. For me, the blog is as much about the visual element as the writing – I want it to look appealing and inviting to my readers. I am by no means an accomplished photographer but I am constantly striving to improve my skills. Lack of time is my biggest stumbling block – I have a number of half finished posts sitting in the note section of my phone that hopefully I will finish one of these days!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm, this is a difficult one. I have deliberately not chosen a particular ‘niche’ for my blog as I didn’t want to be hemmed in by having to write only about one topic, be it fashion, beauty or food. At the moment my blog is a mishmash of all three, plus some interior and family related posts. I can see how picking just one of these to concentrate on would make it easier to grow the blog as the focus and audience would be clearer, but I like the variety of the current set up. It feels like the blog reflects me and my interests and I’m never short of things to write about. My blog is my little haven, away from the everyday chaos of to-do lists and piles of laundry. I want it to be a positive place for people to visit and hopefully leave with a smile on their face.

Why do I write what I do?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I’ve always wanted to be a journalist and even as a child I would make my own magazines by cutting out and gluing pictures and writing made up celebrity interviews, fashion and beauty tips. I started this blog as a creative outlet last year after I gave up freelancing as the childcare arrangements got too complicated and expensive. I want my blog to be accessible and reflect my own life and tastes. While I do write about fashion, I am not a great follower of trends nor do I tend to buy outrageously expensive things. Setting up the blog has also been a great learning curve for me. I am deeply un-technical so every small hurdle that I conquer is a major achievement in my eyes – from figuring out how to set up sub-categories in the menu to adding the social media buttons. Connecting with other bloggers through the WordPress community has also been fantastic and humbling (there are so many great bloggers out there).

How does your writing process work?

I never schedule posts and get a little bit freaked out when I read about bloggers who have several months worth of pre-written posts just waiting to be published. I wish I could be that organised but at the moment I struggle to find the time to post 4-5 times a week, which is my current aim. I do usually have a rough idea of what I want to post at the start of the week and I try to vary the content so that I’m covering all the categories on the blog.

The three bloggers I would like to invite are:

Evelenmargaret: Evangelia’s positive outlook on life reverberates through every post and her blog is a daily source of inspiration. Fashion, beauty, art and travel go hand in hand and her breathtaking photos of her native Greece almost make you feel like you’re there. I have to hide my credit card when reading her ‘Daily Find’ posts, full of covetable fashion and accessories, beautifully put together.

The Hashtag Generation: This blog is quite a new addition to my WordPress Reader but it has quickly become one of my favourites. Well written with great visuals, it is fresh and current with a great mix of content.

Gluestick Mum: Witty and sharp yet warm and inviting is how I would describe this blog. Her anecdotes on family life really do make me Laugh Out Loud and, more often than not, nod in recognition. Reading this blog is like sitting down over a cup of coffee or glass of wine with that friend who always manages to make you feel better about life and put a smile on your face.

 

My First Blog Birthday!

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With everything going on over the weekend I had almost missed that today is A Spoonful of Style’s first birthday! It’s hard to believe that a year has already passed – scary how fast time goes. I started the blog as a way to keep my writing going while being a stay at home mum and in many ways it has become my little cyber haven away from the chaos of everyday life. When I published that very first blog post I had no idea that I was about to join a wonderful community full of friendship and support. I want to say a big thank you to each and every one who has taken the time to visit my blog, read my ramblings, like my posts or leave a comment.

My blog was something of a slow starter, held back to some extent by my own technical inabilities, but in time I managed to get myself set up with both Twitter and Instagram, and recently I even created a Facebook page for A Spoonful of Style. I know we shouldn’t just focus on the stats but I thought it would be fun to do a quick roundup of my blog year in numbers:

Followers: 731

Number of posts: 259

Page views: 20,675

Best ever day for views: 327

Comments: 2,372

Small potatoes compared to some of the bigger blogs out there, but my quest has never been world domination. I’m happy to let my little corner of the blogging world grow organically and am determined not to get too hung up on numbers – it’s quality not quantity that counts in my book! That’s not to say that I plan to rest on my laurels. A Spoonful of Style is still only half the blog I would like it to be and the main reason for that is lack of time. When I landed a ‘proper’ job just before Christmas I did consider giving up the blog as I knew it would be hard to find the time to keep it going. But I’m very glad that I decided to carry on even though my posts are sometimes rushed and not as frequent as I would like. Oh what I would give for an extra three hours in each day!

Going forward,  I would like to use more of my own pictures on the blog, which goes hand in hand with my ongoing quest to improve my photography skills. I would also love to feature recipes every week, more outfit pictures (unfortunately a lot of the time what I wear is not worthy of a blog post!) and guides to things like the best places to shop for interiors, fashion etc. Hopefully, this will be the year that I realise some of those plans.

But in the meantime I’m going to blow out the candle on my cyber birthday cake and start thinking about a giveaway to celebrate this 12 month milestone.

Thanks for reading! xoxo

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Thank You for the Awards!

It seems to be awards season here at A Spoonful of Style at the moment! Last week I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award and this week I’ve received another two awards. Not that I’m complaining, it’s a great honor to have my humble efforts recognised by other bloggers that I admire.

I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award by Evelenmargaret and Bohoclub. Thank you so much to both of you, it really means a lot.

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As part of the award I have to nominate 12 Sisters who I consider part of my blogging family:

Read,Sugar

Lydia Devadason

Casually Fabulous

Shivaay Delights

Journeys of the Fabulist

The Blackberry Boys

Fat Free Fashion

Reverse Commuter

Freckled Latte

Lady Sarah’s London

Kukolina

Gluestick Mum

 

Evelenmargaret also nominated me for the very special Dynamic Four Award. Thank you so much, I am thrilled to bits!

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For this award I had to describe myself using every letter of the alphabet. Not an easy task but here goes:

Amiable

Blonde

Creative

Dependable

Emotional

Family

Gregarious

Happy

Indecisive

Joyful

Karma

Laughter

Mummy

Naughty

Observant

Playful

Questioning

Random

Swedish

Truthful

Urban

Vivacious

Worrier

Xtravagant

Yoga loving

Zen-seeking

 

And here (drum roll please!) are my four nominees:

Read, Sugar

Jackie Mallon

Donzwebb

The Fashion Huntress

The Beautiful Blogger Award

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The wonderful Lydia Devadason who writes the eponymous blog with the subtitle An Idiot’s Guide to Parenting has very kindly nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award. If you haven’t read Lydia’s blog yet check it out here. I love reading her hilarious and insightful anecdotes on parenting. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like I’m stumbling around in the dark when it comes to bringing up my children and that there aren’t always textbook answers to the situations we are confronted with.

The rules of the award states that I have to select seven blogs and write a short description for each, so here are some lovely blogs that I have recently added to my WordPress Reader.

1. 2 Getting There – With the tagline ‘leaping through life one faith at a time’ follow her inspiring journey to a healthier lifestyle and improving the 3Ps – physical, personal and professional

2. Zen Sophie – Like an oasis of calm this blog is about the road to a more authentic lifestyle through yoga, meditation and mindfulness, with a healthy dose of beauty food and books thrown into the mix

3. Family Answers Fast –  I’ve been following this blog for a while and it’s a firm favourite of mine. Angie Mc’s  family centered approach is super inspiring and I love her calm and wise approach to parenting.

4. Elese, Aesthete – This New Zealander has the lowdown on all the best beauty and skincare products out there. Lovely photos and I adore the product reviews.

5. Less 2 More – As someone who strives for a more minimalistic lifestyle I love this blog about living a life with fewer material possession but rich in the things that really matter.

6. Alifemoment – One of my favourite food blogs with lots of yummy recipes accompanied by colourful, mouthwatering photos

7. Put the Kettle on – Reading this blog is like sitting down and catching up with a friend over a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits.

A Spoonful of Style is now on Facebook!

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Some of you eagle eyed readers may have spotted a row of pretty pastel coloured button on the top right corner of this page. I have finally added social media buttons for Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and also – drumroll, please! – created a Facebook page for A Spoonful of Style. I am always immensely proud of myself when I master anything technical on the blog – I’m sure that for many bloggers these are very simple things to do but for a ‘non techie’ like me it is a real achievement! (I always worry that I will press the wrong button and ‘Pouff’ the whole blog will somehow be deleted!)

Anyway, the blog is still here and now with its very own FB page. So I now have a tiny little favour to ask of you: if you click here or on the ‘F’ button in the top right hand corner you will get to my Facebook page. Obviously there is no obligation whatsoever, but if you did feel like pressing the ‘Like’ button on my page, it would make my day!

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