strycksele/sweden

strycksele/sweden

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christmas comes and goes, another new year, another fireworks display and then… January. January seems to be the most forgotten month of them all, a quietly blue-grey month which no one plans for and no one suspects. I decided this year, it was going to be great. so with that, I planned a trip to the land of Ikea and we all know how boss that place is… (find me a house that doesn’t own at least half of Ikea).

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Sweden – It is crazy beautiful, nothing at all like I’ve ever experienced. I hope that my time here may encourage you to visit this country, for she has an incredible, peaceful, beauty that encourages every one of your senses to come alive. to breathe in fresh, clean, cold, crisp air (the kind that you feel deep in your lungs), to feel the icy air on any skin you have bravely left bare, to see and hear the quiet, calm demeanor and to hear your inner voice in total awe.. because, well, silence.

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upon landing in Skellefteå (pronounced ‘Shelleftayor’), a short flight from Stockholm, we were greeted by the much-anticipated sight of softly, falling snow… wonderful, peaceful, stillness. It feels a lot like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia… there’s something special about the quality of sound when it snows, a sort of eerie muted silence. already overly excited for the next few days, we needed to head for supplies. it continued to snow covering the cars slowly but surely, ensuring all cars look the same. huge supermarket purveyed and supplies bought (they don’t shop like frantic’s in an apocalypse like we do when it snows, it’s all sensible adult purchasing…) we then attempted to head to our home for the next week.

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my mate tommy

tommy moved to Sweden to live with his Swedish girlfriend just over a year ago and hasn’t looked back. They have been renovating their home for the past year in the near Arctic weathers and she’s a beauty. A perfect blend of Nordic style with personality. One of my personal favorites is the antler toilet role holder and the old pipe work pulled from the house, now the downstairs loo light fitting. Empathetic and creative talent at it’s very best.

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so now, you’re in Sweden, what to do?

husky tour

you HAVE to go on a husky ride, I may have looked terrified when I learned how strong the dogs can be and how you must be nothing less than a dog whisperer, but honestly once you get going… it’s much easier than they make out. sure there are some bumps along the way but the experience is so incredible and the sights are insane.  at the end of the day you’re on the ultimate form of arctic transport, akin to Santa and his sleigh. it’s up there with one of my most favorite encounters ever.
check out Flarken Adventures for more

cross country ski

if you enjoy the great outdoors and you love skiing then you will deffo love a bit of cross country skiing. again it’s all about the sights, the sounds, or lack thereof, and the insanely fresh air. the skis are skinnier than ”normal skiing” skis but they are the best way to travel about on foot (try walking through knee deep snow) and guarantee a good workout (the kind that makes you feel righteous whilst eating a whole family sharing pack of Maltesers), as well as a sightseeing adventure. we took some firewood and a small picnic mainly consisting of jaffa cakes, went on the hunt for beavers, reindeer, and moose and came home to hot showers hot food and a roaring fire.

max

‘MAX’ Swedens answer to a McDonald’s and when in Rome one must put aside their fear of fast food making them instantly obese and sample the local delights. bloody hell, it was good. definitely nothing on McDonald’s frankly feeble vegetarian attempts at a dried out, over fried, disc of GM grease.
fyi i had the halloumi burger (no mayo..!) with some of the best chips I’ve had in my life and a sparkling lime drink.

northern lights

now we were extremely lucky because the lights came out two nights in a row and in a spectacular way. to the point that local Swedes were even totally balled over by how special they were. the pictures can’t and won’t ever really do them justice, so if you want to see them then you must go and be there under the night sky. keep a close eye on the sky each night and you just might get lucky. even if you don’t, the remoter parts of Sweden have incredibly clear skies due to lack of light pollution so you can see a billion’s stars, which in itself is pretty magical too.

playing with snow

sure, we’ve all played with snow, we’ve grown up and we think we’ve seen and done it all. now, go play with some snow properly.
here’s what you do… boil the kettle, go outside with a cup, fill it with hot water (this sounds dangerously similar to making a cup of tea, I hear you say) then, throw said cup of boiling hot water over your head. wow, right? yess.

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other reasons why ‘Sveden’ is great

eco

the Swedes take eco living seriously, and to be honest quite right too. they pay you back for recyling and everyones on the band wagon. i like their moral compass, it can only be leading them to good things and I think we could all learn a thing or two from their eco living passion.

beavers, moose, reindeer

the local wildlife is, of course, the hardy type. we sadly did not see any beavers of moose as they are rarer, however, we did see some reindeer. reindeer are very comical to watch running, their legs splay sideways and their heads flail backward. it’s all a bit haphazard and the reason they’re running? is you. they’re not very confident creatures but they are fun to go out and sight see. the first you’ll know of them is their little nesquick poo’s dotted on the white snow.
moose plays a part in the swedish diet. i, of course, didn’t try any but for one of our party of whom was eager to give this unknown delicacy a try, I am told it’s yummy and tastes quite like beef.

snow

with almost guaranteed snow through winter, it really is a whole world of fun. the children in Sweden are resilient and healthy because they play outside a lot and no wonder because snow is so much fun. it creates the ultimate play zone, soft and pliable.

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we had the ultimate trip, the trip of a lifetime and one I will never forget. would I go back, yes, have I missed it, definitely. am I glad I risked my extremities and explored in minus gazillion degrees, hell yes.

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the end

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travel tips

the main thing with Sweden is it’s cold, -30 isn’t unusual so one might wonder what the funk they are supposed to wear in weather that freezes all it touches. well, layers. you’re gonna want to invest in some thermals, some warm socks and I would recommend merino wool and some warm footwear. on most given days I would venture out with thermal pants, with either leggings or tights over the top,2-3 pairs of socks plus my ski pants and then thermals, long sleeve top, jumper, a lightweight puffer jacket, ski coat, gloves, snood and a wooly hat. so just a couple layers.

links

womens thermal top
womens thermal pants         
womens lite puffer jacket 
mens thermal top
mens thermal pants           
mens puffer jacket

photo credits

the good ones – tommy
the other ones – myself

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Essential oils & their uses; Clear your cold

Essential oils & their uses; Clear your cold

prodotti-75331-reldb1c9dd58cab42d5bc859a6d0ab74602gold2The common cold is an ailment we all suffer from on occasion and usually when we least need the hassle that it brings. I am keen to get on with renovating our new house (see previous post) but with a cold in tow I am less inspired to get up and go. The best things about a cold are the small things like the continuous sniffling oh and err.. not being able to breath!! I have a cold at the moment and I do all sorts of things to combat and relieve the congestion when its my turn to carry said ‘burden’. One of those things is running a warm bath and adding some cleansing essential oils. The idea is that the steam and soothing properties of the oils will help to shift the sinus blockages and relieve that often unbearable pressure. Other than being helpful in combating my cold & flu symptoms, the warmth of the bath relaxes all your aching muscles which is so ideal after a long day!

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   Once I had run the water and got a good temperature (not too hot) I added:

4 drops of Thyme – Soothing and warming for the chest and clearing to the lungs, this oil is very anti-microbial and anti-fungal.
4 drops of Rosemary – Stimulating and revitalising, helping to clear the mind and invigorate the body. Good for boosting circulation. Excellent in hair care and useful for toning the skin.
4 drops of Eucalyptus – Very powerful antiseptic which works well for the respiratory system by opening up the airways and clearing mucus. Can be helpful for easing aches and pains and supporting the lymphatics. Useful for clearing grief and for purifying the atmosphere. Clears the head.

Laura from NHR organic essential oils gave me some helpful advice regarding oils and the importance of diluting them with a base oil to avoid burning or irritating the skin. She sent me a link to this great blog which holds some amazing advice for using essential oils effectively to great benefit. This particular post talks about how many drops to add and when to add them for the perfect bathing experience..

Within minutes of being in the bath I felt like a new person and my cold shifted and my discomfort eased. I got dressed into warm clean clothes and boiled the kettle to make a honey and lemon tea. I slept so so much better than I have been it was a complete success and set me up for a good start for today.

When buying essential oils, be sure you buy them from a trusted source and, where possible, buy organic. Non organic are likely to contain extra ingredients of which may counteract or inhibit the beneficial properties of the essential oils. I buy mine here – NHR Organic Essential Oils. You can order them online but they are based in brilliant Brighton and have a huge range of organic essential oils which come in their own metal cases with helpful descriptions on. The metal casing also helps the oil last longer as they are best kept in a cool dark place.

I found another post by a fellow blogger which had lots of flu fighting ideas. See it here – Pioneer Settler. She suggests, for example, using tea tree in your bath which is another good choice. I am also intrigued by the catnip tea, I would never have thought of it but if it tastes as good as it makes cats crazy, then I’m up for trying it!

If you by any chance have the next cure for the common cold, please do get in touch as I would be incredibly pleased to meet you and hug you for AT LEAST ten minutes!

Over and out for now oh healthy ones 😉
xxx


N.B. Please read the label as some essential oils are not suitable to use if you are pregnant.