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Three great products from the Testagram box

An English Mamma in Stockholm: three great products testagram box_letterbox

There are three great products in my first Testagram box, which I received a couple of weeks ago. If you’ve not heard of these subscription boxes, they are a little along the lines of beauty boxes but with recently launched household products for you to review.

You can choose the types of products that you want; as you can see I have cast the net wide to start with. Also, it is pretty much food-based, which is even more of a bonus.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: testagram product preferences

Each box costs Skr 59 and they arrive every few months. For my Skr 59 I got eight different products in my first box.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: testagram box contentsYou can see the helpful hand there, pointing to the product the boys most wanted to try (and, coincidentally, that is the one they were least likely to be given…).

Box contents

  • Coca-Cola Life
  • Finn Crisps Rye Snacks – Sourdough and rye
  • Finn Crisps Rye Snacks – Tomato and rosemary
  • Flora with butter
  • Happy Ears ear plugs
  • Risenta bean pasta
  • Risenta fruit ball snacks
  • Via washing capsules

Three stand-out products

Of the eight products, we liked all of the ones that we tested (we’ve yet to try out the ear plugs and the Flora with butter) but three really stood out. The boys adored the rye snacks, especially the tomato and rosemary flavoured ones. I found them a little too bitter, to be honest, but they wolfed them down, and as they are high in fibre and low in sugar, that’s fine by me. I preferred the sourdough and rye variety – they were especially good with a bit of cheese and some fig relish. Mmmm…

Even more popular with the boys than the rye snacks were the Risenta fruit balls. In fact, I don’t think I even got a chance to look at them once I opened the package. They were gone in a flash.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: testagram box risenta frukt bollar fruit balls

And the product that I loved the most was the soya bean pasta, also from Risenta. Since I am keen on replacing gluten in some of our meals, I was excited to test this. I really liked this, although Husband and the boys were not so keen – I suspect largely because of the green colour. E in particular is highly suspicious of green food… The only thing I found was that you need to keep an eye on the time as the pasta can easily become too soft – something a lackadaisical cook like me needs to remember.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: testagram box risenta bonpasta bean pasta

Wide range of products

The other products were also good: the washing capsules from Via were easy to use and far less messy than using powder or liquid detergent; the Coca-Cola Life was okay but disappointingly still had a lot of sugar in it (19% of the total) but we rarely ever have soft drinks and it was still interesting try to this Stevia-enhanced drink; and the ear plugs were comfortable. We haven’t been able to test the Flora with butter yet. We received a voucher covering the full cost (inside an empty tub ) but I’ve not yet been to the supermarket to get one.

I was impressed by the range of products that we were sent, and I can’t wait for the next box to arrive and see what treats we get.

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What I Wore Wednesday – the details editon

For a number of reasons, What I Wore Wednesday is all about the details this week, the main one being that today is haircut day and my hair is crying out for a trim. It’s a mess; a scarecrow-like mess. You don’t want to see it, believe me.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: what i wore wednesday details gina tricot jacket glitter necklaces

I bought this jacket last week and just love it. It looks great with a pencil skirt (like today) and also matches well with jeans. It’s from Gina Tricot, a shop I don’t tend to go into too often, but I spotted some great items in there this time around. I also picked up this fabulous stretchy mini skirt. I’m still not sure just how work appropriate it is – well, just how appropriate it is to wear to my work (which is a little conservative), but maybe I’ll dare. The necklaces I picked up for a song (75% and I think they only cost about 50 Skr each full price) at a branch of Glitter that is closing down. I bought three: this silver star and rose gold heart, as well as a black heart. Details-wise, today is all about zips and buckles.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: what i wore wednesday details lindex jean paul gaultier skirt

The pencil skirt is from the Jean Paul Gaultier collaboration at Lindex. It has both zip and buckle – oh my. I seriously love this skirt. And, of course, shoes with buckles too.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: what i wore wednesday details silver grey shoes

I cannot remember where I got these as they are pretty old now. Maybe they are even so old that I bought them in Copenhagen (at least seven years then). They are very pointy, but I shall just claim that they are part of my witch’s outfit for Halloween.

pleated poppy

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The week

A breakthrough this week: we’re all feeling well again! Last week can just be written off, thank you very much, culminating as it did in two hideous days at work for me, followed by O’s ear infection making itself known on Friday night and bursting. Nice. So it feels good to draw a line under that.

Turns out that the doctor overlooked the ear infection that was the root of O’s sickness (no, not just a dirty ear), but the upshot is that O is now happily back at preschool, Husband is recovering from his ear infection and I even managed to get to the gym for the first time in too long.

We checked out the new Jamie’s Italian here in Stockholm at the weekend. Husband was not too impressed but I quite liked it. It was chaotic in there, but then it has only been open for just over a week. Maybe I’ll be able to tempt him back in a few months.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: jamie's italian stockholm toys

An English Mamma in Stockholm: jamie's italian stockholm toys viewer

An English Mamma in Stockholm: jamie's italian stockholm

An English Mamma in Stockholm: jamie's italian stockholm children's sliders mini burgers

An English Mamma in Stockholm: jamie's italian stockholm steak mushrooms truffle butter

This week, we have my brother-in-law and his son staying with us; the boys are over the moon that their cousin is here. It’s fun to have guests, especially guests who you know you can just be yourself in front of. The pressure is off.

This week, I am going to try and avoid using public wifi after reading this warning article. I am toying with the idea of these beauties, but finding it hard to justify, unless I get to the gym a little more often, and I’m contemplating attending The Hive blogging conference next spring. Have you been?

I am hoping that this week will mostly look like this:

An English Mamma in Stockholm:  feeling well again magazine reading planning the week

Not too much stress, a little time to read an article or two, a little planning (I even bought my first Christmas gifts yesterday; yes, really) and an end to the sickness. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

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Making gluten-free pizza dough

This week we decided to be adventurous in the kitchen – for us, anyway – by making gluten-free pizza dough from scratch, which I thought would be especially fun as O was home with me.

The thought of kneading the dough for 10 minutes with O helping filled me with dread, until I remembered that I have a dough hook on my KitchenAid. As I was short on time, I did not look up if I needed to adjust the recipe when using the dough hook and the mixer rather than kneading by hand. That might be why the pizza bases were a little bulky, shall we say, in the end.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: making gluten free pizza dough

reading the recipe gluten free pizza dough helper(Hmmm, you can see that O was a little unwell when you look at these photos. Poor mite. I appreciated though that he “read out” the recipe to me. Bless him.)

The dough was surprisingly easy to make. I’ve always avoided doing this from scratch as I thought it would be terribly complicated.But nothing could be easier.

Now, however, I just need to find out why the dough ended up so heavy since it rose so well during the process, and also why the dough was so very sticky (I spent 15 minutes afterwards trying to scrape it off the (very, very floured) marble work surface and lost a lot during the process as it ended up welded to my hands).

An English Mamma in Stockholm: cat face gluten free pizza

An English Mamma in Stockholm: clown face gluten free pizza

At least they looked good (and tasted okay) though. We used aubergine and courgette for the cat’s eyes and aubergine and olives for the clowns. And we had to use sweetcorn. According to the boys, all pizzas are required to have sweetcorn.

Any tips on how to improve the dough would be gratefully received. I’m sure that I am doing a small mistake somewhere that I can easily fix.

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But a distant memory

I found this article about breastfeeding (via Making It Lovely) such a thought-provoking read. And my favourite part was the words of her yoga instructor:

“In a few years when they’re in preschool, you will never have to talk about breast-feeding again,” she said. “So don’t even think about it.”

This really resonated with me because I read through this article and actually had to think “Did I breastfeed the boys? How long for?”. Those words are so true. After a very short while, it truly no longer matters. Breastfeeding, at the time such a struggle and a painful experience, is now but a distant memory.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: a distant memory breastfeeding bottle formula feeding

E back in the days of bottle feeding

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The week

So far, it looks like this week will be a repeat of last week. O is sick again – or most likely not again but the same thing looping around. Hopefully we should know tomorrow when we return to the doctor for more tests. This constant testing in the Swedish medical system is slightly concerning for someone from the UK though. I cannot remember one time having a blood test at the GP

On the upside, I went and collected this baby yesterday.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: week balance training gym membership card chia seeds

Two month’s membership at Balance gym in the city. I spotted a Groupon offer a couple of weeks ago and got this for Skr 349 (saving me more than Skr 1,600). I really need to get back on track with my training (and I don’t even want to think about how many times I’ve said that in the last few months). I’ve already signed up for a couple of classes this week (circuit training and kettlebell training) and I’m heading there tomorrow if I can (a sick O permitting) to check out the equipment and maybe hop on a running machine for a short blast.

And the chia seeds are because I keep on reading about them and I’m keen to try them out and see what all the hype is about. If you have any favourite recipes, please let me know.

I’ve booked a table for us for lunch on Saturday to try out the new Jamie’s Italian restaurant in the city. I’ve not heard anything one way or another about it, so it will be interesting to test it. Have you been yet or been to a Jamie’s Italian somewhere else? I wasn’t a fan of him before but then I heard him interviewed on Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 and I changed my opinion completely.

So that is what is happening this week with us. What plans do you have for the week?

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How to keep your husband happy

I think I’ve discovered the answer to how to keep your husband happy and it’s a simple solution.

A few weeks ago I spotted a gorgeous pair of ponyskin ankle boots with a thin, think heel and I fell for them. However, they were Skr 2,500. For a pair of boots that are not likely to get a huge amount of use over the Swedish winter. But they were gorgeous.

Have I mentioned that they were gorgeous? Well, they were.

But then yesterday, I found these in Deichmann of all places.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: how to keep your husband happy new boots frugal purchase

Okay, they’re not ponyskin but they aren’t pleather. The heel is not as thin, but that will probably mean they’re more comfortable in the long run. They are a very similar style to the others and if they fall apart, then so be it, as they cost Skr 399.

And Husband is pleased because I have “saved” Skr 2,100. And he also thinks these look okay on me.

So there you have it – if in doubt, keep your husband happy and buy the cheaper ones.

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Theas Bryllupsblogg – married at 12 years old

Theas Bryllupsblogg has been created by children’s charity Plan Norge, detailing the life of Thea who is to be married at 12 years old to an older man.. The blog looks just like it should for a girl that age: pink, glittery and with photos of Thea and her One Direction posters (in fact, top of her wedding gift list is a One Direction bed set). It is really quite a chilling read, as you follow her being told that she can no longer attend school, won’t be able to work and that her friends won’t be attending her wedding.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: theas bryllupsblogg married at 12 years old

What an amazing and effective campaign.

#stoppbrylluppet

An English Mamma in Stockholm: september monthly round up boy football banner
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September – monthly round-up

When I sat down to write my September monthly round-up, I realised that on the face of it, it seemed a normal month. Actually though, it was far from it. It was a month of new beginnings, with O starting football school each Sunday, E deciding that he wanted to be potty trained and me determining that I need to get back on track with my eating and training.

September was the month of my cousin’s wedding so we spent the first week in the UK with family. The boys were in their element at the wedding venue, where there was a woodland playground and toys on loan.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: September monthly round up train set toys

An English Mamma in Stockholm: hunstham court wedding venue bedroom

(We moved that cot for E as soon as we could! Love him dearly but we (and he) would much prefer him at the other end of the room with O.)

An English Mamma in Stockholm: huntsham court grounds garden wooden mushrooms

The boys loved spending time with my dad on his allotment, digging up potatoes and picking flowers.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: boy with a sunflower

[Read more]

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The first rule of CrossFit

Since the first rule of CrossFit is always to talk about CrossFit, I am going to do just that. Apologies to all those who don’t like it…

On Monday, I actually had a good session, unlike the past few weeks’. The overhead squats (15kg and 20kg) felt easier than they have for a while, the practice pull-ups were tough but I succeeded (despite having weakened so much that I can no longer do a pull-up unassisted) and even the bike went okay. And this was a new bike that had just arrived and was harder than the previous one. I cannot tell you how long it felt like it was taking to reach 12 calories of burn on this one.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: the first rule of crossfit post training

The goal is now to train every Monday with my trainer, run twice a week and train at home with the kettlebell every week. My training bag is here with me today and the running machine is calling my name.

Seven weeks and I have a tunnel to run.