Monday, 19 December 2016


Went to Ikea last week to do the Christmas Food shopping. Being an Ikea fan I was excited to see what they have been up to this Christmas but was not impressed by their Christmas shop this year. No nice ribbons or wrapping paper, boring designs and poorly displayed. What is happening? In the warehouse they had tried better to do some inspiring table settings (This was in Bristol). Finally we went to the food shop (downsized instead of up sized?) and they had already run out of the Christmas ham, the Julmust (traditional Swedish Christmas "Coke") and no Ansjovis. And this was two weeks ahead of Christmas. What´s going on. New manager or just bad knowledge and getting the ordering totally wrong. I had to go to the Swedish Shop in London to get the julmust and ansjovis and decided to cure my own ham this year! Still time!

I use to work with Ikea and the catalogues and I must say since then (ten years ago) the range has not changed all that much. If any it has gone smaller. Here a Christmas kitchen.

A nice idea of decorating around the lamps on top of the dining table with branches and hanging decorations.

I liked this table setting, good for the New Year banquet!

Simple but nice lite stillife in the market hall. More soon!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


During the twenty (about) years I have been in England the Christmas window I normally love the best are by Conrans. Multicoloured and modern with a traditional and Scandinavian feel. This year my price goes to Selfridges but Conrans is still up there.I always loved colour in interiors etc. I find today's interiors (Scandinavian and English adapted similar homes etc) are all done by the same formula. You take a basic corner low corner sofa in grey and add a coffee table in glass. Cowskin rug and sheepskins all around. Ellipse table with a marble top and some white or grey Eames chairs (could be pastels). And you cannot go wrong. Christmas in this home is a mini Christmas tree in a paper bag or some branches in single flower vases. Metal advent chandelier with minimal decoration. Well, I am to a certain degree responsible for some of this happening. Me and a lot of other interior design journalists and stylist get carried away by the trends...but I love colour and they just seem to creep into my home and my Christmas. That is why I love Conrans. The do their own thing, as usual, and having been there with the first of Scandinavian design in the UK they know how to add colour to it. When it comes to Christmas in my home I painted the baubles black a long time ago and still have them! Since having had a few different homes an houses of different "caractères" I have a lot of Christmas decorations. From pastel colours to gold and silver and cones. I would say that this years big trend is natural with an minimalistic approach...but my tree is as usual a mix of old and new and a bit overdecorated. This year I did cut out the black and got out the more natural looking decorations. More about that are Conrans Christmas 2016.

One of this years big decorations alongside cones etc are old fashioned paper stars...

A simple way of making Christmas colourful this year, get these bauble decorated lights from Conrans.

A modern colourful home (Scandinavian inspired) with a Christmas in orange/yellows. Look at the geometrical patterned walls!
Or why not a green and pink theme... here is the table with the marble top I mentioned earlier. Not Eames chairs, but similar. Nice with velvet though.

In England (where I live) the big day is Christmas Day with a turkey lunch. And the don´t forget the Christmas Cracker!

Table setting with a grey base and colourful decorations in green and pink. Look at the crackers, can only be bought at Conrans. The china makes me think of Mateus in Sweden that has spread like decease...and the very much up to date grey version.

Friday, 9 December 2016


When it comes to Christmas I am fairly traditional in my own home. A mix of old and new and mainly Swedish (since I am Swedish). The beautiful tablecloth in linen was a gift on my 40th birthday (21 years ago) and was then part of the  new table setting collection made for the Nobel party (all is still in use). The natural colour of the linen was then considered very elegant and at the same time a bit boring. Now it is found in any interior design shop and departments store. The crocheted runner in the middle was a gift from my late mother and at the time I got it I thought; what on earth is she thinking, today I love it! It would not be Christmas Eve without it! The traditional and classic china is by Ikea and called "Arv", still for sale. The wine glasses etc are from the 1700s collection (Gustavian) that Ikea did in the late 1990s. Old fashioned jug and salt and pepper containers found at Skansen in Stockholm at their Christmas Market years ago. The Advent candle holder are also by Ikea and was bought in 1993 which was the first Christmas I spent with my know husband Bruce at his house in Warwick. Red candle holders in painted iron was a Christmas gift by Byarums Bruk when I was still living in Sweden. Every year since I was a child I have made the ginger cookie hearts with the name of family and friends on, a tradition that I hope will live on after me...

My lovely and loved Christmas pigs. The big is a symbol for Christmas in Sweden since it was a custom to keep a pig up till Christmas to supply the ham, sausages etc for the Smörgåsbord!

I still use the "Arv" china and Klässbol Linnevävferis cloth and napkins "Nobel" every Christmas. Cutlery from our local designer company Robert Welch.

For New Year I would go more black and simple. Plate in stoneware from Höganäs Keramik and cutlery from Ikea.

The black and white theme has always been a big favourite of mine. Next time we move I am thinking of going the whole way (i.e. in every room and on the walls etc). This set we bought when we moved into The Castle over eight years ago. Still one of my favourites. Place mat with the world map from Svenskt Tenn, design Josef Frank (he will be honoured with an exhibition at the Fashion- and Textile Museum in Bermondsey/London SE1 next year). Classic brasserie type cutlery can be found in most well stocked cooking shop. Back soon with more!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


It´s that time of year again. Christmas time. Time to decorate, enjoy the cosy times in front of a log fire with a mug of mulled wine or "glögg", and to fill the house with the lovely scent of ginger cookies baking. I started my "baking career" early. At a very early age (4-5)when my mother introduced me to the yearly ginger cookie baking, I just loved it and could not be stopped...the problem was just that I used my children's baking tray and utentils previously used with play dough, they were uneatable...My mother (may she rest in peace) did not have the heart to stop me...
My grandmother taught me to do the big hearts and to add the icing. It was she who started the tradition of adding names of friends and family on them. To start with we hung them in the Christmas tree. Since in England the climate are more humid than in my native Sweden, they tend to brake and fall off the tree, so we now put them on the Christmas table. Looks nice and give a wonderful spicy scent. So, I have now got over 50 years of experience of the ginger cookie baking. This year I decided to be part of my local town, Chipping Campden, Christmas Market and see how it would be and how I would do. This is how it was done! Above, I make the dough the night before to let it rest overnight. It needs to be rolled out thinly (with some flour underneath) and then cut in different shapes. I have a big collections of shapes of cookie cutters, from cars to pigs to heart and angels. Every year I chose a bit different, but the most used ones are stars, hearts, Christmas trees, angels, Father Christmas and the Swedish Dala horse. My latest favourite is the elgh! Put them on a greased oven tray and bake.  

The elgh in good company int the spruce forest and with Father Christmas by his side.

I made quite a collection...

...from small Dala-horses to big hearts.

For the icing mix icing sugar with egg white and use little silver balls as decoration and eyes. The icing needs to dry overnight.

I wrapped them up in cellophane bags and decorated with red ribbons...

I used some old clementine boxes for good looking storage...

And now time for the real fun part...the branding. I finished a degree (HND) in Graphic Design a year ago and the skill came in handy. From labels to a price list.

The labels were for the cookies but also for the bags and some special Christmas toffee (Knäck) I made as well as all the cookies.

This is how it was all presented at the market.

Part of my branding...

...and for the toffee...

...and the ginger cookies...

...and the price list, all done in Adobe Illustrator... good fun. I did reasonably well, sold half of my stock and made a bit of profit. A good experience!

Thursday, 1 December 2016


Santa has arrived at Selfridges, arriving on an air plane! What else! A modern and happy Father Christmas. I first thought the idea of the Santa in the windows was a bit "odd". But the whole thing has grown on me. He is happy surrounded by less happy mannequins. He is human but they are not. As if the commercialism has gone to far! On the other hand the fashion side of the window displays are the best in London at the moment. They manage to grasp the new "glamour rock" feel  that surrounds the high street. A bit like in the early 1970s when the young generation played with luxury, gender and what ever goes - or not...then it was a type of reaction. Perhaps that is what see now? A luxurious reaction to the crazy world we live in. And it is not all about money and branded goods. All the high street fashion shops are full of bling and metal shining products from candles to shoes, underwear and bags at reasonable prices. It´s a bling world out there. Surely a way of make everyday life a bit more glamorous! Whatever next?

Even the polar bear looks unhappy...

Gold, Chrystal, silver and bling for the Christmas dinner/lunch table!

Bling up and dance the nights away, like we did in the 1970s!

Come fly with me, a gilded trip to the sky...

Santa is going skiing surrounded by resting ladies like in Saint Moritz!

Father Christmas with skis, but what are the ladies doing?

Santa is certainly having a busy time, wrapping parcels on the train, and not any train, gilded in pink!

Well, even Santa needs a rest after Christmas and drinking bubbly in the tub is not a bad way of relaxing. Wish I was in there with him.

The north pole, here I come! In a golden sleigh to meet the penguins!