A Holiday to Remember

Hello again! Over two weeks since my last post – the longest gap since I started blogging – but we have just come back from our two week summer holiday in Sweden. We went to an island called Gotland, just off the east coast, where I spent pretty much every summer from the age of 0 to 12.  It was just as beautiful as I remembered and there’s something magical about seeing your kids running along the same beach and jumping in the same waves you did as a child.

Apart from allowing the children to play on the iPads during the long car journeys and a bit of Instagramming for me, we had a fairly screen free holiday. I decided not to blog while we were away, partly because of the rather patchy wi-fi and also I needed a proper break from it. Over the past couple of months my heart has not really been it, and I was debating whether or not to give the blog up. Now that we’re back I feel more motivated to carry on and I think that when school starts up again I will hopefully have a bit of time to actually write some of those posts lurking in the back of my head.

But first, here is a quick summary of our holiday:

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{On board the boat from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark. Unfortunately this is the last summer the boat is running so next year we will have to figure another way of getting to Sweden.}

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{Crossing the famous bridge from Denmark over to Sweden. Luckily there were no dead bodies and the weather was glorious.}

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{After more than 48 hours of traveling by car and (two) boats we made it onto the Swedish island of Gotland and arrived at the cabin where we were staying.}

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{Much of our time was spent on the lovely sandy beaches that stretch for miles around the island.}

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{Jumping in the waves with my boys}

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{Clemmie didn’t like going in the sea but she was very happy playing on the beach.}

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{Casper is very proud of his sandcastle.}

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{We were really lucky with the weather and it was warm enough in the evenings to go on the beach and see beautiful sunsets like this one.}

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{We played mini golf three times and each time it ended with a tantrum but the kids still claimed to love it and wanted to play more!}

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{On one of the many water slides at Gotland’s big water park}

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{The highlight of Clemmie’s holiday was getting a cuddle from her all-time heroine Pippi Longstocking. The original house seen in the Pippi films is on Gotland and is now part of a bigger amusement park with lots of rides}

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{And if that wasn’t enough, we also spent a day at Tivoli in Copenhagen on our way back to the ferry. Not quite so lucky with the weather that day but at least there were no queues!}

So that’s it, a brief synopsis and rather a lot of pictures of our holiday. Hope you are all well and enjoying the last of the summer.

‘Til the next post. X

School’s Out For Summer!

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{Woohoo! Finally the summer holiday is here and we celebrated by buying a family sized paddling pool! Still in its box so no pictures yet but planning to get it out tomorrow}

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{Who’s ready for sun, sea and ice cream? I really hope the glorious weather stays put for our holiday in two weeks’ time.}

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{No need to call social services, I won’t go quite that far but it will be nice to take a more relaxed approach for a few weeks!}

Preparing for the Summer Holidays

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With three weeks to go until school breaks up, the countdown to the summer holidays has officially begun. We are going away to Sweden for two weeks at the beginning of August but the rest of the time we will be at home. As my job is not term time only, I will have to work two or three days a week so I’m trying to be a super organised (not something that comes naturally to me!) to make sure we have lots of quality time on the other days.

Here are some of my strategies to hopefully maximise the chances of a fun and relaxing summer:

1. Take a break from cooking. Not completely, obviously, as we still have to eat and going to restaurants all the time would get too expensive. But I think it’s fine to take a more relaxed approach to meal times in the summer. Leave the elaborate recipes for the colder months and serve simple dishes like big platters of cold cuts and various salads together with crusty bread. We tend to eat a lot of fresh fruit and veg in the summer and the kids have healthy snacks like strawberries and raspberries or carrots and cucumber with hummus, so having hot dogs or cheese on toast for dinner is not the end of the world. Other simple options are omelettes and homemade pizza (I buy ready made bases though) loaded up with vegetables.

2. On a similar note, I plan to take advantage of the fact that we have a pick-your-own farm 15 minutes down the road (Not quite the same as a vegetable patch in your own garden, but the next best thing). Somehow the kids seem to find fruit and vegetables that they have picked themselves more palatable than the shop bought versions.

3. Spend more time outdoors doing things with the kids rather than trying to catch up with the housework. I have actually employed a cleaner to come once a week between now and September. An extravagant move perhaps, but one that will free up lots of time, especially now that I’m working again.

4. I have asked the kids to write a list of (realistic!) activities, both outdoor and indoor that they want to do this summer. We will cut them up individually and put into a hat and pull one out when we’re stuck for things to do. Hopefully we will get a good mix of indoor activities like painting and board games and outdoor ones like going to the park, as well as activities that require a bit more planning such as going to the cinema or the bowling alley.

5. I’m going to try to stick to our current rule of keeping the X Box and other computer games for the weekend, unless we get really awful weather in which case I may take a more lenient view!

6. As far as I can, I’m also going to try and limit the amount of money we spend. It’s so easy for it to spiral out of control – a trip to the cinema (with the obligatory snacks) for three children and one adult can cost an arm and a leg and, to be honest, the children are just as happy getting a DVD out from the library and popping their own popcorn in the microwave.

7. I intend to take lots of pictures and also film the kids more – they love watching old footage from when they were younger but we have been really lax about it lately. Now that my phone has a video function there really is no excuse.

8. There are also some things I want to do for myself, including updating the blog at least three or four times a week.

9. And I hope to keep up my exercise regime. It really does make me feel better and more energised and I will need all the energy I can get to survive the six weeks off school with a smile on my face!

Don’t forget that you can also follow A Spoonful of Style on Twitter,  Instagram,  Bloglovin and Facebook

 

 

 

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I know I say this every week but hasn’t the time just flown by? I had a midweek meeting up in town and somehow spending three days instead of four working at my desk, made the week seem much shorter. For starters, I hardly had time to take any pictures but here is a quick recap of what I managed to pull together for the weekly Friday post.

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have already seen this picture of my eldest son, taken on our trip to the woods last weekend, but I love it so much I wanted to share it again. I find it hard to believe that he will turn 11 this year but I’m also deeply proud of the kindhearted, sensitive yet fun loving young man he is turning into.

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This week’s clearout at my parents’ house unearthed this little gem which I wore to my high school prom at the age of 16 or 17. I remember I wanted to wear it with my Dr Martens (or DMs as we called them) but my mum persuaded me to go for more traditional black pumps (probably a good thing! Sometimes mum really does know best.). The dress then accompanied me to university where I wore it to quite a few college balls but after I graduated it was stowed away at my parents’ house and forgotten about .

I bought the dress from the now defunct Hyper Hyper, a huge retail space populated with stalls run by independent young designers, on Kensington High Street in London. At the time it was my favourite shopping haunt along with the slightly seedier Kensington Market across the road. I haven’t been to High Street Ken for ages – is it still the go-to place for teenagers who consider themselves a cut above the identikit chains?

This is definitely a piece that I want to hold onto for Clemmie although I have to admit that it has seen better days. Despite having a dry clean label pinned to it, it shows signs of having had a few drinks spilled over it and it’s slightly faded around the edges.

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Fingers crossed, we are finally booking our summer holiday this weekend. The pictures are from our holiday in Mallorca two years ago. We had such a great time and the kids still talk about it but sadly we won’t be going back there this year. I can’t imagine not going to Sweden in the summer holidays and, with building work planned for later this year, our budget doesn’t stretch to two trips abroad.

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I’m not a huge fan of self help books but I was intrigued by this one when I read an interview with the author in Red Magazine. Gabrielle Bernstein promises to help time-starved readers clear stress and find peace using practical in-the-moment tools. Definitely sounds like something I could do with!

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It’s a good thing that I didn’t succumb to the temptation to put away all the winter clothes at the first sign of spring. In the last couple of days the temperature has plummeted by several degrees and today I actually wore gloves on the school run. But yesterday was the official start of spring so I decided to celebrate by ignoring the cold snap and buying some beautiful tulips (and turning the heating up!)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! X

Happy Friday!

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We’re only a week into the new school term and already our summer holiday seems but a distant memory…

I downloaded our holiday photos from the big camera today and it was fun to look through them and remember all the good times we had. This picture of Cameron jumping is definitely on my list of photos to print out for my planned photo walk (more on that project next week).
The first full week back at school has sped by and I can’t believe it’s Friday already. I only realised it was the 13th when I had to write a cheque for my daughter’s gym class earlier today. The date used to spook me a bit but ever since I met my husband, who was born on Friday 13th, I don’t think of it as unlucky anymore. Are you superstitious or do you treat it as any other day?

Whatever the date, I wish you all a happy Friday! XO

 

Fun at Legoland

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We rounded off our holiday with a trip to the original Legoland theme park in Billund, Denmark. We had booked a two-night package staying at the Legoland Hotel, which I was slightly nervous about, having read mixed reviews about it. But I needn’t have worried – the hotel was great, with big spacious rooms, friendly service, decent food and of course Lego everywhere, including Lego gifts for the children and two big tubs of bricks in our room.

All three children in one picture, looking at the camera and smiling. Hardly EVER happens!

All three children in one picture, looking at the camera and smiling. Hardly EVER happens!

Because the ferry back to England doesn’t leave until 7 in the evening, we had two full days at the park meaning that, between us, we went on every single ride. The boys and their dad were keen to go on the bigger roller coasters while Clemmie and I stuck to the trains, boats and gentle carousels although we did meet up at regular intervals so we could all do some activities together. My parents were also with us and the kids even managed to convince them to come on some of the rides, including the pirate ship one where the objective was to shoot everyone with water canons. Needless to say, we all got soaked but luckily it was a sunny day so we dried off pretty quickly.

A great end to a great holiday!

Clemmie's favourite ride, the horse carousel.

Clemmie’s favourite ride, the horse carousel.

Casper took a break from the white knuckle rides to sift dor gold in the 'Western' area of the park

Casper took a break from the white knuckle rides to sift for gold in the ‘Western’ area of the park

Smiling on the Legoland train

Smiling on the Legoland train

 

 

 

 

Sun, Sea and … Shopping!

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Holidaying in Sweden in August is always slightly risky weather-wise. It was with some trepidation that we decided to return to the same place in Southern Sweden where we spent our summer vacation two years ago. While the scenery is stunning and the house is a stone’s throw from the beach, the summer of 2011 was truly awful and (I kid you not) we had only one day of sunshine. The rest of the time howling winds, rain and temperatures of 15c meant that we were forced to make excursions to museums, indoor play centres and the cinema which, although enjoyable, is not exactly what you want to be doing in the middle of August.
Last year we were desperate for sunshine so we booked a holiday to Mallorca where we would be guaranteed some decent weather. But I do love the Swedish summer (when it doesn’t rain) and it’s important to us that our children feel at home in the country that is a big part of their heritage so we decided to bite the bullet and give it another go this year.

So far we’ve been lucky, with sunny mornings enabling us to swim in the sea and play on the beach until lunchtime. The afternoons have been more mixed but at least we have been able to do outdoor activities like mini golf and I’ve also ticked off a few of the shopping trips on my list. Updating the autumn wardrobe will have to wait until we’re back in the UK, but the interior shops here are amazing and any spare room in the car is filling up fast. At the moment all new purchases are wrapped securely to withstand the return journey so pictures will follow when I’m back home.

Hope you’re all having a great summer! X
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Off to Sweden we go!

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The bags are packed, the house is clean, the fridge is empty and the milk has been cancelled. All that remains is to load everything and everyone into the car and we’ll be on our way tomorrow morning. Catching the ferry to Denmark and then driving over to Sweden to stay in a cottage by the beach. I can’t wait!

I will try to update the blog while I’m away but you can also follow me on Instagram where I’m called aspoonfulofstyle (link)

School’s out for Summer!

All images from Pintrest

All images from Pintrest

The boys finished school today and we had a great afternoon in the park together with friends from both their classes. We have two weeks left until we go on holiday and I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this sunny weather continues until then.

I’m looking forward to six weeks of no school run, homework or after school activities!