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A cosy and warm Finnish table setting

With the shortest day of the year fast approaching here in Sweden natural light is scarce. As per Scandinavian tradition the best way to let natural light into the home over the winter months is through candle-light, whether on the dining table, in the windows or outside the front door. I've noticed that even my children's nursery have candle light on their breakfast table! This cosy dining table setting for two has been styled by Maiju of Finnish blog my second hand life for Lapuan Kankurit. It looks so cosy and warm, I could see myself having a 'fika' here with friends, anyone want to join?!






My Second Hand Life with kind permission. 
Other than the fabrics and square plates, everything used for this setting are flee market finds!

I found beautiful vintage lamps on Etsy yesterday, the candle holder is the Nappula from Iittala, find beautiful linen table cloths and napkins in white and dove grey here. The chair with the wooden legs is 'About a Chair' by HAY.

If you'd like to read more about this table setting you can always pop over to Maiju's wonderful blog.

I also love this Christmas table setting (imagine?!) and this New Years Eve table setting (I just bought star garlands like these from Illum but you can also buy similar ones online here). And look at these beautiful DIY rosemary napkin rings - perfect around a fresh white linen napkin?

How will you decorate your table this season?

PS I think you're going to love tomorrow's home tour! See you then :)

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19

Our Weekend At A Swedish Cabin In The Calm of The Forest



My Scandinavian Home Partnership:
In Sweden, there's a season for everything. To me, the summer is about lazy days by the water when the sun sparkles like diamonds on the gentle waves. And when the leaves start to turn, we head to the forests to forage, take in the changing light and enjoy the sweet scent of spruce and pine. Every now and again we come across clearings where a shaft of light dances on the mossy knolls and allows the delicate Harebell to bloom. Little wonder these magical boreal forests are the inspiration behind the wonderful Skog collection from Skandinavisk. Their products come infused with delightful hints of spruce and pine needles, woodland lily of the valley, musk and aged leather - making it one of my favourite collections! As part of my ongoing partnership with Skandinavisk, my family and I headed to a friend's log cabin just North of Malmö to relax, play games and take in the calm of the forest first hand. As we pulled up, life's stresses and strains immediately fell away and we were completely alone save for passing roe deer, foxes, squirrels and the silent badgers - never seen, but forever present! 



Furnished almost entirely with second hand pieces and dotted with sheepskins, my friend's cabin is understated yet super cosy! A wood-burning stove kept away the autumn chill and filled the cabin with a wonderful scent of pine. 



The crazies enjoyed hot chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg, by the light of a Skog scented candle. The only tense moment came when it was discovered the cinnamon buns were different sizes. A lengthy division process began, right down to the last crumb.





Skog scented candle



Per discovered a guitar - which helped to diffuse the bun situation and restore calm to our weekend! The aptly named 'Norwegian Wood' is one of my favourite tunes he plays (I also love 'Streets of London' - can you see him rolling his eyes?!). 




Pots, jugs and containers made from wood, stone and glass line the surface of the bookshelves adding a warm, personal touch. Beneath the shelving there was a great stash of board games which we played well into the night, being a tad competitive none of us were going to bed until we'd won at last one round!

Skog Scent Diffuser













We discovered that a basket doubles up as a very useful tray  – it’s a perfect way to transport sausages, buns and marshmallows down to the fire pit! 





A walk in the forest led us through a forever changing scene where dense ferns hid in the shadows, fungi clung to bark, and patches of vibrant green moss were lit by sudden beams of light. The only sound came from the distant sound of a babbling brook and the shriek of delight from one of the girls as they stumbled across a chanterelle. 






That's Per with the Skog hand cream - yes Per! We both love it because it's richly moisturising (him!) yet lightly scented (me!) (it contains aloe vera, shea butter, almond, apricot and beeswax with extract of birch bark). Did you know birch bark is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that calms irritated skin, stimulates circulation and helps skin stay energised? Perfect for the Scandinavian winter. 



A little book (Svampar: Lilla fälthandboken av Rikard Svartvik) helped us to identify mushrooms. However, I would never dare to eat any unless verified by someone in the know - and bearing in mind we were only accompanied by the odd roe deer, we only foraged for fun! We returned to the cabin relaxed, revived and with the sweet aroma of pine, and fir in our hair - and in need of another cinnamon bun!



All in all, it was a truly magical weekend!

I can't wait to return to this wonderful little cabin again soon.

In the meantime, the Skog collection will help to fill our home in Malmö with the calm scent of the Scandinavian Boreal forest, and serve as a wonderful reminder of our weekend - if only I'd won that game of Cluedo!

Do you love the forest too? If so, I'd love to hear more about your favourite time of the year to visit and what you like to do in the forest.

Oh, and one final thing: exciting news, you can win the SKOG hand cream, hand wash, hand lotion, bar soap, body wash, scent diffuser and scented candle 190g on my instagram this weekend. Hop on over tomorrow (Saturday) if you'd like to enter!

Have a fabulous weekend friends!

Niki

This weekend was part of an ongoing partnership with Skandinavisk. All words and pictures are my own and I only ever work with brands that I love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible. 

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2

Life Change: A Swedish Family Home In The French Alps

We can all agree it's been one crazy year. Never has the home been so important. It presents a safe haven (although I am aware that sadly this is not the case for everyone) in which we can relax and be ourselves. Living in quarantine / isolation - or simply being at home more - has meant taking stock of where we live, and while there are some who are thrilled with where they live, there are others that will no doubt thinking about making some life changes in the near future! 

For Swedish interior designer Bettina Kapare, her husband and two year old son, it wasn't the pandemic that led to a move abroad - but a search for a more meaningful way of life. In 2019, Bettina and her family left their home in Luxembourg after ten years and moved to a small village in the foothills of the French Alps, just outside Chamonix. Today, they enjoy a slower pace surrounded by nature. I caught up with Bettina to find out how they chose their new location, some of the challenges involved with moving, and how she created a home which merges her Scandinavian heritage with traditional Alpine style. Her story is truly inspiring! 

When did you move to the Alps? 
We moved here from Luxembourg in December last year. I guess you can say we made a complete life change. We left Luxembourg after 10 years. At the same time, I quit my job as a business developer in private banking and started working as an interior designer. It's something I'd been dreaming about and had been studying on the side for some years. 


How did you choose the French Alps? 
We owned a small ski apartment in the Chamonix valley and had been spending countless weekends on vacation here skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. When our son was born, we decided to spend part of our parental leave here and it was during that period we started talking about the possibility of moving here. 

How did you make your move happen? 
At first, it all felt like a farfetched dream. Leaving an organised life and a career in Luxembourg, to go and live in the French Alps. But the more we talked about it, the more we realised that it was what we wanted; for our son grow up in the mountains and change to, what we felt would be, a more meaningful lifestyle, with more family time, more skiing and closer to nature. As the saying goes "create a life you don't need a vacation from".

With that in mind, we started thinking about everything that needed to be put in place. We had to find a house, organise work etc. We thought it was going to be a 5-year plan, but once we'd set our minds to it, the move took less than a year. Somehow everything just fell into place. 

What was one of the biggest challenges with moving to the French Alps? 
One of the most difficult things turned out to be finding a house. There weren't a lot of options that were within budget. I had dreamt of a renovation project involving an old farmhouse with a huge garden. Instead, we bought a traditional style chalet built in 2008. It has an open-plan living room and kitchen on the ground floor and three bedrooms upstairs. It also has a large basement which we use as a home office and studio. 

How did you approach the chalet interior?
I faced a challenge merging our furniture and my style into the traditional chalet style. For me, interior design is not about following trends and constantly buying new stuff, it's about creating a space for the people who live there. Incorporating functional aspects with a personal style and a homely feel.  

Since we're living here all year round, I didn't want our home to have a traditional 'ski holiday' chalet feel. I wanted to turn it into a home where we would feel at home every day of the year.


How have you merged your Scandinavian design heritage with the Alpine style? 
Being Swedish, I believe the Scandinavian style is in my nature. When we moved, I felt that I wanted to incorporate the Scandinavian style. Both the Scandinavian and traditional Alpine style use furniture with simple but elegant craftsmanship - something I always feel inspired by. But the Scandinavian style has a lighter feel than the traditional Alpine style. In our home, I've brought in a lot of solid wood furniture, but with a light white finish instead of the traditional darker one. My Norrgavel coffee table is a fine example of this. 

Where did you source your furniture? 
We actually brought most of it with us from Luxembourg - including many Scandinavian design pieces. It's a blend of items we have inherited and second-hand treasures that I have been collecting over the years. I'm happy that we brought them with us, because it made us feel instantly at home. And with everything that has been happening in the world lately and the past few months of lockdown and isolation - our house has turned into our comfort zone. 


What do you love most about your new home?
Almost every evening I have been cuddling up on the sofa or on the bed, and looking up at the mountains outside the windows feeling grateful for our new home. I love the closeness to nature and I'm so happy we dared to make the life change. We haven't regretted moving one single day, on the contrary, our life choice feels more meaningful than ever. I have never felt happier.  


Thank you so much for telling us about your move and your beautiful home in the Alps Bettina - your story is truly inspiring! 

***

I'd love to hear about how you feel about your home - is it somewhere you can always imagine living, or has your perspective changed this year? 

If you've always dreamed of moving abroad, I hope Bettina's story has inspired you. Your big move might be more tangible than you first thought! 

You can see more picture of her beautiful home over at @chez_kapare and find out more about her interior design service Kapare Interiors

Fancy taking a peek at other Scandi homes abroad? 


Ahhhh, I love seeing the Scandinavian design heritage merged with other cultures / styles, how about you? 

Ha det så fint! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Bettina Kapare / @chez_kapare with kind permission.

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4

A Relaxed, Boho Family Home on the Edge of A Desert






Why, hello there! How was your weekend? We were at a couple of parties in a row and I'm such a light weight these days, I've got a feeling it won't be before Wednesday before I've totally recovered! Mind you it could be the nights in the VW Camper van catching up with us too - it was well worth it though - now I'm totally feeling the retro vibe! Perhaps that's why I was drawn to the wonderful boho home of Matt and Tish, their twin girls, little boy and dog Lemon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The town is located on the northern tip of the Chihuahuan desert - and it's the 'brown on brown beauty' of the landscape that inspires their beautiful brick and mortar shop, photography and private home, the latter of which is packed with vintage finds, rich textures and a load of 'plant babies'! 


Isn't it great to see a TV in a home tour?! I like the way it's been wall mounted over a lovely vintage chest of drawers that Tish picked up in a local second hand shop. 


In the blog survey earlier on in the year I asked what you wanted to see more of and many responded 'real homes'. Seeing this space it's easy to see why.  Tish's instagram feed No Longer Wander is awash with little peeks into their everyday life at home - and the one above is a great example of this!

IKEA PS bench (I'm not sure is this is still available, if not it's worth checking Ebay for second hand ones), seagrass belly basket, Alseda pouff











Project 62 globe floor light, cushion from Anthropologie (sadly no longer available but perhaps they'll get something similar in this autumn), bed from West Elm



Though she be but little, she is fierce - and I put it down to the striking black grouting and plants!

I love the laid back style of Tish and Matt's home, it feels so personal and lived in - just as a family home should be! 

And how gorgeous is Lemon? She looks so content on that bed! 

Is there anything that stands out to you? 

You can check out more pics and get more inspiration from Tish's 'No Longer Wander' blog (which covers health, interiors, fashion and beauty) and instagram feed - and if you're in Albuquerque I'm reckoning it's totally worth nipping into her shop! 


We're heading back to Sweden this evening - we've had an amazing time but it is going to be so nice to be home (I miss my bed!) - does it sound strange to say I'm kind of looking forward to a little routine and eating and drinking in a marginally healthy way again (at least until the weekend)?! 

I hope you have a great start to the week! 

Niki

Photography: No Longer Wander with kind permission. 

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A clever, vintage packed home in Madrid

Morning! I have seen this wonderful Madrid home before as I'm sure you have, but it's so wonderful I never tire of it. No guessing why - it has white walls and floors and packed with vintage finds! Not only that, but the vintage and second hand finds are used in such clever and original ways. For example the gymnastic vault in the sitting room storing books and the filing cabinet in the bathroom. Genius! I love it when vintage or second-hand finds are used in a different way than originally intended. Although at cocktail hour I do often think about converting my drinks trolley back to it's former glory!!











Home Life via Plante Deco

What a wonderful home?! Can anyone tell me anything more about it?

Before I leave I wanted to tip you about a couple of fab blog give-aways (other than my own little give-away here of course! - thank you for all the entry so far I've really loved reading all the comments ): Mechant Design is holding a give-away here to win two wonderful lights. And illustrator extroadinaire Tracey English is holding a blog give-away here with a chance to win a great London print! Yaaaay!

And finally, Miss motor-mouth here has one more thing: you may notice my new google ads below each post, this is my way of getting a little back to cover costs so that I can continue to produce the blog I love. I hope you all don't mind :) Have a lovely day!

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