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What I Wore Wednesday

It’s the end of November and this week’s What I Wore Wednesday still features my wool winter coat – no thick down coat so far. (Of course, I realise that simply by typing these words, I am bringing on a cold spell immediately – sorry.) But I’m so pleased that the winter is proving so mild so far.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: what i wore wednesday wiww reiss winter wool coat

Coat: Reiss – a good few years ago now
Scarf: Lindex – I think this is this year’s answer to last year’s red tartan scarf
Handbag: Modalu Pippa Brogue

I love this handbag (which probably explains why I have two: one brown and one black) – it’s roomy enough to hold my large purse, make-up bag, pens and pencils, notebook and iPad and accompanying keyboard. It’s a little like the Tardis.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: what i wore wednesday wiww skirt cashmere jumper necklace

Jumper: Hennes & Mauritz (last winter)
Skirt: Hennes & Mauritz (only from a few months ago but no longer online)
Necklace: Zara (last winter)

This grey cashmere jumper is a firm wardrobe favourite. I picked it up in Hennes & Mauritz last winter and I’ve used it so much. It’s great for dressing up or down. And the skirt, it has pockets. I’ve fallen in love with mid-length skirts with pockets. The necklace is from Zara last year and is ideal for blinging up an outfit that would otherwise be a little dull.

I suspect that coming What I Wore Wednesday posts will feature slightly more wintery outfits, so I’m going to enjoy the mild winter we’re having so far. How is the weather with you? I hope you’re enjoying it too.

the pleated poppy blog


The week

Can you believe that it’s the last week in November already? I know I say this each month and each year, but where is the time going? The summer seems like yesterday and the snow earlier in the year in February is still fresh in my memory.

Weekly wishes – last week
  • Healthy eating – hmmm, I half achieved this but then Husband bought ice cream one evening and at the end of the week, my mother-in-law arrived with homemade cinnamon buns.
  • Training – yes, I achieved the training that I wanted to do: with my personal trainer on Monday, running on Wednesday and I tried out Power yoga on Thursday, leaving Friday as a rest day ahead of the run on Saturday.
  • Meal planning – I started off well with this, but then O decided that he didn’t like any of the things we were having for dinner. I decided to simplify matters and serve food that he could not possibly turn down. But by Thursday he was even saying no to chips…
The week

The main event for me was the Tunnel Run on Saturday. I felt fine when I woke on the morning. The worries of the past few weeks were gone. I knew that I was going to do the race and do as well as I could, but I accepted that if I had to walk, that was okay.

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What I Wore Wednesday

What I Wore Wednesday this week is very much influenced by the fact that we had a playdate at the park after preschool today. So I needed to be wearing something that meant I could go straight from office to playground without a problem. And that meant no skirt for this week’s What I Wore Wednesday.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: what i wore wednesday wiww blue cardigan leather trousers

I opted for my new leather-look trousers from Zara, the best white t-shirt from H&M (I love this so much that I bought three of them), a long powder blue cardigan from Lindex and those rose gold thin necklaces from Glitter again (they look unlikely to last but they were so cheap that that’s okay).

An English Mamma in Stockholm: what i wore wednesday wiww snakeskin slip ons black suede heels

On my feet: walking/playdate shoes and heels – both from Zara. I love these black heels that I got from Zara but they are definitely not playdate-in-the-park-friendly, whereas the black slip-ons are perfect in that role. The trousers are also perfect for the park as any mud that might have got on them can just be wiped off later. And they are warm. Sometimes they are a little too warm, such as earlier today after I’d been training and I thought I would pass out with these on and my cardigan and my winter coat as I negotiated my way from the changing room, through reception and onto the deliciously cold street.

I felt a little bit underdressed for work, but I suspect that’s just because I’ve become so used to wearing skirts most days. But actually, I do love these days when the weather turns colder and I can get out the opaque tights to wear with dresses and skirts. Let’s just hope that the snow doesn’t come soon though.

the pleated poppy blog

An English Mamma in Stockholm: pepparkakar nisse christmas elf nk windows

The week

Last week was one that just sped by, even though I had – for the first in a long time – a couple of those mornings where I simply did not want to get up out of bed. I think it’s the lack of light. Suddenly, we’re at that time of the year where I go to work and it’s dark, and I collect the boys from preschool and it’s dark.

I managed to stick to three times at the gym though, which I’m pleased with: a session with my PT on Monday, running on Tuesday and a circuit training class on Friday. I’m really trying to make the most of that two-month membership I bought for the gym near work. Since it cost me 349 Skr for the two months and I’ve now trained there seven times, I’m averaging 49.86 Skr per visit, which considering that three of those visits have been for classes isn’t bad.

I managed to fit in a facial too, which was total bliss. I fell asleep during the steaming part and again during the facial massage and then also during the shoulder massage. I fairly floated out of there. It also reminded me that, yet again, I should be better with actually using the products I have.

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Running for fun

The Tunnel Run is in nine days. NINE days. That’s all. And in the past two weeks, all I’ve managed is two disastrous runs. I got angry with myself and then felt sorry for myself and then I called up N for a pep talk. You see, N is doing the Tunnel Run with me, and we have something in common: husbands who are both running the race as well and who are both competitive types.

I’ve been winding myself up about this 10k run for a few weeks now, about how I won’t run the whole thing, how hard it’s going to be, how bad my time is going to be, etc etc. And it hasn’t been helped by reading about the race, seeing charts of the elevations and learning that we’ll have a chip in our running shoes.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: running for fun training 10k race

But then N pointed out that we are running for FUN. It’s not a fun run but we are going to make sure we have fun doing it.

And this morning, I read this article on Medium and it reinforced this – and hat’s off to Lauren since she’s talking about a marathon, while I’ll getting wound up over a paltry 10k. I, too, am guilty of making the same comparisons with how I was at school (“I’m not a runner and never have been…”) and have made the same excuses about being too busy with the rest of life.

So now I am just going to go for it and run the race and see how I do. What does it matter what time I complete the 10k; more important is to have a ball doing it.

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Potty training the easy way

The boys are so similar in so many ways and yet they are also very much their own little people: chalk and cheese. Potty training is a very good example of this.

It was slow going to get O potty trained. We took the slow route as we thought that the best approach with him. And after almost a year that clearly wasn’t working, so we took the fast track and took the Easter break to get him in “big boy pants” on a daily basis.

By contrast, E took the decision himself, simply stating one day that he didn’t want to wear nappies any longer. And that was that. He wanted “big boy pants” like his brother and to use the potty; he had decided.

Chalk and cheese, you see.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: toddler bunny rabit ears potty training the easy way

And E’s decision has pushed O into being better and concentrating more and so he’s now having fewer accidents; he cannot possibly be beaten by his little brother. Yes, they both still do have accidents from time to time, but even when they were sick a few weeks ago, they both handled it really well.

In the end, it’s been potty training the easy way with E. We always knew he was a determined little boy and now he’s proven it in such a positive way.

They are both still on nighttime nappies but I see the end to nappies now in sight. Our next goal is getting E to give up his nighttime dummy. Somehow, I don’t think that will be as easy as it was with O.

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The week

The second half of last week sped by and although I wasn’t visible here, I was tinkering behind the scenes, fixing SEO for old posts after reading this article on The Nectar Collective. Melyssa has some great tips for updating and upgrading old blog posts. So far I’ve just been working on SEO but I want to implement more her other tips.

The semi-paleo Pad Thai that I mentioned last week turned out pretty well. I adapted the recipe slightly and used more ginger and cayenne pepper than the recipe suggested and I think it tasted good for it. I served it on courgette that I had blanched briefly in boiling water. Delicious.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: semi paleo pad thai with chicken seo for old posts

I’ve been in hysterics reading this post about children’s drawings from Lisa. I read it at work and had tears rolling down my face.

We had a surprise this weekend when we saw three tanks rumbling along the streets of central Stockholm. I’m not joking.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: swedish army tanks in central stockholm city

I love Hannah’s FashionableFit blog, so I was pretty excited to see that she’s launched a range of training clothes for NLY Sport. But I think I should hold back on buying more training clothes for a while after I did, in the end, buy those Reebok Crossfit trainers I’d been admiring and a few other bits and pieces from H&M as well. I do love these new Reeboks though.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: reebox crossfit trainers training shoes

As good as my word, I returned to do another circle training class at Balance and I loved it as much as last week. I’ll definitely try and attend again next week. I also want to test out the Core class on Tuesday, especially as it is the same trainer who runs it and I love her enthusiasm.

I enjoyed the Creative Mornings talk so much last week that when I saw that there is another one this coming week, I signed up straight away. I am hoping that it will be as inspiring as the Monocle talk last week.

I feel these days like a character in Game of Thrones, telling the boys that, yes, they do need a warm jacket on, “Winter is coming”.


A Year in Books – November

I’ve chosen my A Year in Books read for November without a shred of guilt because last month it was like an early Christmas miracle and I finished two books: both Marisha Pessl’s Night Film, which was my chosen book for the month, and Fear In The Sunlight by Nicola Upson.

I loved Night Film, although it got a little creepy in places, which is not normally something I enjoy in books (or films). I liked Fear In The Sunlight but I thought it was clear who the killer was from very early on but there was no concession made to this; it felt as if Nicola Upson was still trying to keep up mystery. Maybe it was a mistake to read another of her books so soon after the first.

November’s book

I am not going to be so rash as to choose more than one book this month though; who knows what the next few weeks have in store for me.

I’m going with what seems to be a safer option again of a book on Kindle as that really seems to give me a fighting chance of actually reading it. I’ve had The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons on there for a while, since I picked it up for $1.99 in the summer. Now is the time to read it.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: a year in books bronze horseman paullina simons

Have you read any of Paullina Simons’ books? Apparently this is the first in a series. I might just have found a few for the holidays if I enjoy this first one.

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The week

We are on track for post-sickness normality! Yes, we are finally getting to the bottom of O’s recent illness, although the poor boy has developed a bit of a phobia about visiting the doctor now, as five out of five visits have resulted in blood tests. It seems that a viral infection is the root of the trouble. He has low white blood cell levels at the moment and Friday’s latest blood test will tell if the levels are rising again after the ear infection. In the mean time, he is to eat lots of fish. Fish and a four-year-old don’t tend to mix well, but we’ll give it a shot.

We don’t typically celebrate the spooky version of Halloween, preferring instead the traditional lighting of candles to remember those who have died, but this year the boys were insistent that we carve a pumpkin, so I gave it a go. Not bad for a first timer, eh? I was just glad that I was able to do the insides with an ice-cream scoop as sharp knives and nearby small fingers is a combination that never fails to terrify me more than the scariest Halloween film.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: carving a halloween pumpkin

An English Mamma in Stockholm: carving a halloween pumpkin  post sickness normality

I’m particularly proud of the eyebrows. They remind me of Christian Slater.

I took a circle training class at Balance on Friday and it was great. I was exhausted afterwards but in the best of ways, and I felt it for a couple of days. I am definitely going to try and go back this week.

Today I feel like I’m on a roll and my head is buzzing with ideas. I went to my first Creative Mornings event today, to listen to Tyler Brûlé and Andrew Tuck from Monocle magazine. It was a great talk and I really wish that I had had the time to stay and mingle afterwards. And now, this evening, we’ve put (semi-)paleo chicken Pad Thai into the slow cooker. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out tomorrow. (When I say “we” made this, I mean that I put all the ingredients together, while the boys smelled them and informed me whether they were “Bleurgh” or not… A new form of quality control, it seems.)

I cannot believe that it is November already. But the fact that I bought a second Christmas present today should have been something of a giveaway. Please don’t tell me how many/how few days it is until Christmas. I’d rather work myself up into near-panic at the last possible minute. It’s an approach that has worked well every year until now; why change a good thing?