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August – monthly round-up

An English Mamma in Stockholm: turquoise satin fabric roses upcycled made clutch purse

When I sat down to write this August monthly round-up post, I simply could not remember what we had actually done this month, apart from return from holiday. Seriously, August has been a blur. We must have done some fun and exciting things? I consulted my planner and it seems that we did actually very little this month other than preschool for the boys and work for us and quiet(-ish) weekends.

At the start of the month, we discovered (well, we did an internet search and found) a beach only ten minutes on the bike from us so we spent afternoons there whenever we could and when the weather obliged.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: august monthly round-up haga park brunnsviken beach

A friend has a mother duck who has decided that his ninth floor terrace is the perfect, safe place to lay and hatch her eggs, so we visited once the brood was born. Adorable.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: duck ducklings family

We returned to his place the following weekend for a laid-back barbecue that ended up being a late one. The boys were kept entertained by a friend’s teenage son who knows magic – the boys were blown away by this and so happy that they crashed out after dinner.

This month has also seen us implement a points system to be allowed to use the iPad. Each day they get five points each. Ten minutes on the iPad “costs” one point and they can lose points for bad behaviour (fighting, throwing food etc). So far it has been a great success: they have far less screen time and play with their toys much more. Plus it has also solved the problem of O getting up out of bed at bedtime. We now bribe him that if he stays in bed, he earns two extra points. It’s working for now, although with these boys who knows for how long. So we’re just going to enjoy it while it lasts.

[Read more]

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Lifestyle changes

I feel like I’m starting to get back on track but it’s time for some lifestyle changes. Despite being sick this week, I’ve managed to go for a 5km run and do some home training with the kettlebell. This is going to be just the start. Next week is a week of 7am starts at work (rather than my regular 6am) but I can use that extra hour to go running at least once before work.

The boys are active, active, active at the moment. We’ve found a new way for O to run off some of that energy: football. Yep, I’m Stockholm’s newest “soccer mom”. It’s so much fun to watch him, from the sidelines. He’s now at the age where I don’t need to participate in every event with him, In fact, this class specifically states that parents are to remain behind the white line and are not allowed onto the pitch.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: small boy playing football

But at least it’s extra exercise trying to keep up with them.

Food is another area that I need to reign in. Both Husband and I have been eating, well, not badly so much as less well in recent months, and it’s catching up with us.

And sleep. Yes, always sleep. I really don’t think that relying on six and a half hours is doing me much good.

So the first part of the battle is won: knowing what to do to make a change. Now I just need to make the changes.

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On the up again

Well, I dropped off the blogging radar for a while there. So much was going on, and at the same time so little. I could have written a few posts but I felt it just would have been moaning and complaining.

But now I am back. I wouldn’t say that I have this incredible new energy, but I do have more energy than I did. I have been going through a bit of a dip but now I feel like I’m on the up again.

And I will be back with another post shortly. I have the wedding to write about and how the boys have been, especially on the language front after our week in the UK. I feel again as if I have something to say after a few weeks of nothing.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: coconut cupcakes partly paleo after baking
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Partly paleo

I‘d really like to be able to say that I follow a paleo lifestyle but, unfortunately, that simply isn’t true. I do have bursts when I cook up a few paleo meals a week, but I cannot seem to commit myself (story of my life…) to cooking paleo each dinner time and sometimes it’s just easiest to throw together a meal including pasta or bread. You could call it partly paleo, I suppose.

I have found a few paleo favourites that I cook when I am feeling virtuous. This week I discovered a new one on googling “paleo pork cutlets”. This Mexican spiced paleo pork was great (don’t be put off by the title: the coffee mentioned is not in the pork recipe) and I followed the advice and ate it with a ripe avocado that I just happened to have. Delicious.[Read more]

An English Mamma in Stockholm: brown leather armchair
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Interiors – the slow and steady way

Slow and steady wins the interiors race, so they (probably don’t) so. I hope so, since, as of this week, we’ve have been living in our place (which I still think of as our “new place”) for two years. Two years on and we still have not finished the living room. We have, however, finally ordered a sofa. Two years of looking at sofas and fabrics and colours and we have finally reached an agreement.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: norell romeo sofa

This is where we are sofa-wise, but certainly not colour- and pattern-wise. The choosing of the fabric took another four weeks. At one stage we were borrowing six or seven fabric books from the store a night and returning them the next day, only to borrow another batch.

After a lot of to’ing and fro’ing, we decided on this fabric by Villa Nova. We opted for a plain fabric so that we (well, actually, I) can have lots of brightly coloured and patterned cushions all over it.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: interiors slow and steady villa nova malmo soft aspen fabric swatch

In this swatch it looks a little darker and duller than it actually is – really, it is a beautiful greeny shade with some darker flecks in it that make it look really interesting. At least, we’re hoping so when we see it covering our sofa.

We’ve also started to decorate the room a little more, buying a painting when we were on holiday in Budapest, and she arrived last week.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: interiors slow and steady budapest hungary nude painting globe

And that globe there? That was a gift to us from my mother-in-law when she downsized and moved from a house and into an apartment. The best, best, best thing about it is that it is our bar. So retro, so fab.

Slowly but surely we’re getting there. Who knows, by the time we’ve been here for five years, we might even have finished.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: iron curtain Anne applebaum faded
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A year in books – August

I‘ve chosen a new book for a Year in Books in August, but I am feeling a little guilty really. You see, I yet again have not finished last month’s book. I was doing really well with Ten Years in The Tub – mainly because it is brilliant and funny and broken down into bite-size pieces, since it is a compilation of Nick Hornby’s monthly books column for The Believer magazine. However, we went on holiday and I decided only to take a handful of magazines with me. No books, just lose downloaded to the Kindle app on the iPad. Excellent though this book is, it is something of a tome, and with two small children, we are always borderline on our luggage weight limit as it is.

The book remained unfinished at the end of the month.

It seems that I don’t learn though. Let me introduce you to this month’s tome:

An English Mamma in Stockholm: iron curtain anne applebaum a year in books august

I started this when we came back from our holiday and I am speeding through it (not in the way I used to speed through books pre-children, of course; but speeding through it with the few opportunities that I now have for reading). I heard Anne Applebaum interviewed on the BBC History podcast when the book was first released and I have been wanting to read it ever since. And it is not disappointing. I find it especially interesting as she has chosen to focus on Poland, East Germany and Hungary in 1944-1956. I have read a little of Hungary’s post-WWII history but this book takes a more in-depth look at just how the Soviet Union consolidated its power in the country. That, combined with the fact that the weather is taking a turn for the worse here, means that I hope to be able to get through a good deal of the book.

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An English Mamma in Stockholm: brothers feeding each other ice cream
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July – monthly round-up

The main event for my July monthly round-up has to be our summer holiday, which was just brilliant – like last year’s Hungary and Slovakia trip.

The month started off well with O recovering from chicken pox and returning to preschool, which we were all pretty glad of. It’s hard to keep a very active child occupied, indoors, in reasonably good weather while you try to work from home. Both he and I were climbing the walls by the end.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: messy playroom scattered toys

No sooner had he returned to preschool though than we had to pull E out. Just three days they were both there before we saw the first chicken pox spots on E. And this came just when we had thought that he had not caught it.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: boy ice cream sundae

But at least O and I had some quality time together that weekend, and of course quality time means ice cream when you’re four.

Unfortunately, that was less than a week before we were due to go on holiday…[Read more]

An English Mamma in Stockholm: sporty stockholm map view
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Sporty Stockholm

I‘ve published a new guide on Jauntful – this time, a guide to Sporty Stockholm: where to get active in the city and a few spots to visit afterwards.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: sporty stockholm map view

I’ve already published two other guides on the site: one to fika spots in the city and another to children’s activities in Stockholm.

I think the site is a great resource for what to do in different cities and the guides print out perfectly onto A4, which means they are easy to carry around with you.

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