Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Green meditation...

In recent years, I have seen an increasing number of colouring books for grown-ups pop up in book stores everywhere. They are often designed to offer a form of meditative, anti-stress art therapy, or mindfulness, and often contain different mandala shapes for you to colour in. I completely see how they could offer all of the above, but have personally not been drawn to them. 

However, when I recently stumbled upon stunningly creative Hanna Wendelbo, (click on her name for link to her website and here for a link to her instagram account) a Swedish designer with a passion for all things floral and who, among other things, designs beautiful wallpaper and offers workshops in what I would call floral art, something clicked in me and I could not wait to experiment a little myself. 

A large black sheet of paper, a few leaves and buds snippety-snipped from my garden and I found myself absorbed in meditative petal positioning and a wonderfully symmetrical adventure that is right up my street! These first attempts are perhaps not so advanced or elaborate, but the marvellous thing about creating something for yourself is that it does not need to be advanced or elaborate - it can be what you would like it to be! I already have ideas for many other patterns and petals, and with any luck I will find the time for some more green meditation...

I will finish this blog post with one of Hanna Wendelbo's photos of one of her amazing flower art creations. For some reason, this photo has really stuck with me and I find these gerbera petal angel wings so breathtakingly beautiful.

(Image shown with Hanna's approval.)

So, dear friends, go on, pick some petals and try for yourselves. But a small warning might be appropriate here... I cannot guarantee that you will not become slightly addicted once you start! 😊


Ps. I just saw that another hugely talented and creative designer and influencer, Helena Lyth, recently attended and wrote about one of Hanna's workshops on her blog, where she also shows some of her own beautiful flower mandalas.

Ps 2. Thank you so much for your kind words on my last blog post and for welcoming me back so generously to the blog world, despite my long absence!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Pretty in pink...

Dear readers, 
Greetings from a dormant blog...!
It has been a while. A very long while...

Having just spent a snowy (!) Easter in Sweden, it was rather lovely to come back to a very pink world in our small town in the UK. Eager to enjoy the floral fiesta before the petals fall to the ground, I walked down to the local cricket field, stroking the soft, fluffy cherry blossoms as I walked underneath them, spotting at least two benches where I could see myself with a picnic basket...

With a head so full of craft ideas and a heart full of blog-longing, I would love to take a few trembling steps back into the blog world. Life tends to demand my attention to be directed elsewhere, but I might just try a gentle re-entry... Baby steps...

Wishing you all a colourful day!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A sneak peak...

Dearest blog readers,
A quick hello from the land of dormant blogs...
Thank you so much for all of your lovely greetings, both here and in emails 
- you have really touched me with your kindness!
Many of you have also asked to see the inside of my new home.
So perhaps it is time for a little sneak peak...?

Yes, there is an inside to this little cottage. 
A work in progress, you might say. 
An interior that is yet to be Helenafied, or Swenglified. 
For this I need a creative mind to outwit the challenges of compact living, 
a eureka moment about how to live with carpets e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, 
and the time and the head space to realise the ideas as they come to me.
But I think I might get there in the end.
Even if slowly.
The potential is there.
The good vibes.
The friendly house elfs.
Together, we will create...

The walls look a strange shade of greeny-yellow here, but they are in fact white. See the strange and not at all straight line at the top of the first photo above? Yes, that is indeed where the wall meets the ceiling. Visitors taller than 1,87 m may think twice about coming for tea... Compact living? Oh yes. Bijou at its bijouiest...

Wishing you the loveliest of weeks!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Summer greetings...

Dear blog readers,
Have you entered the summer "lull" yet, 
the lazy days,
 the stopping what you are doing long enough to spot the most wonderful of growing inspiration, 
of "Nothing Is Impossible" and two fingers in the air to anyone who says 
poppies cannot grow out of a dry stone wall if they feel like it...

Does you laundry smell wonderfully fresh from spending hours in the light summer breeze, weaving more than fresh air into the thread count of the sheets, storing life and new beginnings in the same...?

Is your home-made elderflower cordial drunk yet, 
drunk with sparkling water to the tune of the ice cubes clinking and clanking in the glass,
drunk till the last drop of golden summer flavours is devoured 
and the longing for next year's harvest has begun...?

Has your vine started producing grapes yet? 

And more importantly... 
- have you stopped to smell the roses?

I confess, I am not quite there yet. 
My work has not gone on holiday, so neither have I.
But occasionally, and eagerly encouraged by my youngest son,
I do stop to smell the roses.
My son says:
"Mamma, you have got to come here and smell this one. It smells like lemon."
Although he says it in Swedish. 
"Den luktar citron, mamma!"
"Oh, and come here. This one smells like raspberries!"
So I stop.
And I smell.
And he is right. The yellow rose does smell a little bit like lemon, the red one like raspberries.
So I pick one, put it on the table.
The scent of lemon, summer and sweetness fills the room.
Wraps us all in the arms of summer, despite the boys still having a week left before school finishes and my having more work than I dare to think about...
Lemon. Roses. Raspberries.
Sometimes that is all it takes.


Monday, 23 June 2014

Why I think I might start drumming...

Every now and then I hear other parents tell me - not seldom without a poorly hidden despondency in their voices - that they have just bought a drum kit for their child, because said child really, really wants to become a drummer...

I have often wondered how I would react if one of my boys presented this idea to me...

Glorious, GLORIOUS part of this home, housing the indoor swimming pool.

I am not sure I would jump up and down with joy... 
I think I would rather spend the rest of the day trying to convince them that the instruments 
they are already playing are SO much better for them, for so many reasons... 
Noise level being one of them... 


... having today fallen completely and irrevocably in love with this 
stunning house and its equally stunning gardens...

 I am beginning to think that this drumming business is not such a bad idea after all...

If this is what Nick Mason, former drummer in Pink Floyd, is able to call home (one of his homes) today 
(and yes, this is his home, on the outskirts of our little town)...

... I think my view of my boys potentially choosing a drumming career might just have changed dramatically...

In fact, I think I might give it a go myself!!!

Summer greetings to you all!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Garden glimpses...

Scruffy shed at the back of the garden?

Nothing that a few pots of lavenderishious loveliness and a couple of 
gently green garden chairs (from ASDA) cannot fix...

My peaceful friend joined me in the move from the old house...

 ... and now enjoys the scents of summer from the perfumed plants, 
whilst contributing to 'the calm and the cosy' 
in this little corner of contemplation.

The view from the chairs or the bench above?
Well, a lawn crying out for a haircut and the garden path leading back to home, sweet home!

Dearest readers,
I am - again - humbled by your kind words, 
your greetings here on the blog and via email, your warmth and your kindness. 
Thank you all SO much!

With love,

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Trashy treasures and a woolly welcome...

Dearest blog readers,
Would you let me hug you, please? 
Hold you tight for a minute and tell you how lovely you are and how touched I was 
by your kind words after my modest blog come-back two weeks ago? 
I struggle to find the right words to describe how you made me feel. 
I feel I ought to say something profound and yet all that comes to mind, 
over and over again, is "you made my day". 
You. Made. My. Day.

During my blog silence, one of the things that kept me busy was moving in to this little 18th-century cottage, in a tiny hamlet a few minutes away from the "old" Swenglish Home. Full of good vibes, history, lady birds and spiders (!), this is a home where my compact living skills will be tested again and again...

However, my nose for recycling and turning trash into treasure has already proven intact, for example when I spotted these two rattan chairs being thrown away at the local recycling centre. "Stop, hold on! Surely you are not throwing those away?!" I bellowed at the men unloading the contents of their lorry into the skip. "Want them? They're yours!" they bellowed back, raising one or two eyebrows at the beaming Swede embracing their rubbish with such joy. Perhaps not my dream garden chairs, but they were free and they have already proven to be splendid seats for lunches in the sun.

The observant among you may have noticed that there seem to be two front doors to this little aged beauty. This is indeed true. In the old days, this used to be two cottages and as I sweat and fret over lack of storage space, I think of what it must have been like living here in those days, in only half of the cottage, and instantly I feel really blessed and grateful for the space that I have got!

The front door to the left in the photo above leads straight into the kitchen. This is a kitchen that, in the mouth of an over-eager estate agent might be described as "bijou", but which we all would know means "so tiny you can barely turn around". But do you know what? It also comes with this view:

 ... and that makes even washing up (my least favourite household chore) a joy!

And just like my woolly neighbour welcomed me into my new home,
let me welcome you to
 "The New Swenglish Home Blog"!


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Winds of change...

 Dear blog readers,
It has now been an eternity or two since I last resurfaced, 
and many are you who have sent kind messages during my web absence 
- thank you so much! 
Days became months and before I knew it, 
five whole months had gone by without a sign of Swenglish life... 
But not to worry, there is still life here. 
Although with the winter storms came other winds too.
Winds of change.

And of these winds, I might perhaps speak soon... 
Until then, may your paths be lined with spring blossom,
and sunshine embrace your every step!


Thursday, 31 October 2013


Dearest blog readers,

Now how did that happen?! A blog silence so long that even I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find my way back to the gates of Bloglandia. As you can see, I have resurfaced, but only with the help of some recycled photos from previous autumns. My camera lies dormant in its case, and I, I neither lie nor am I dormant very much... Instead, it seems I have boarded life's own speed train, with a ticket that will last at least another few months...

As for you, dear readers, I wish you all the best, hoping you are enjoying many revitalising autumn walks and special moments with friends and family. The season for going a little candle crazy is here, so bring out the hot chocolate and the fluffy throws!


Sunday, 15 September 2013

The winds are changing...

Today when I went for my morning walk, the fields were full of sheep, crows and autumn. The sheep, who usually greet me with cheerful baah-baahs, were surprisingly silent. Perhaps they thought that the croaking wall of sound from the black feathers was enough noise for a Sunday morning, perhaps they were simply contemplating the changing seasons...

And the seasons are definitely changing. A different wind tickled my temples today, luring various strands of hair out of my ponytail and playfully throwing them straight into my eyes. The ducks in the lake told me in no uncertain terms that they were not impressed by my lack of bread for them, and the skies looked at least fifty shades of grey...

The photos in today's post are from the pretty little village of Monkton Farleigh, just a few minutes drive from here. It is apparently known for its underground mines of Bath stone, which have been converted into one of the largest Ministry of Defence underground ammunition stores in the UK. To me, however, it is known for its beauty, its quintessentially English... well, Englishness!

It is with a spot of melancholy that I say goodbye to the glorious summer that seemed to last forever, but it is also with a smile that I greet autumn. The colours, the crisp air, the cosy nights in... bring it on!
Wishing you all the most wonderful autumn days!

Friday, 6 September 2013

At last...

... a small sign of life ...!
Yes, I am indeed alive. And kicking. Mostly accidentally kicking sheep droppings on my many walks in the countryside here, where summer has been lingering and the air has had that lovely scent of promise, warm soil and cow dung. Well, the latter might not be my preferred perfume as such, but there is something so grounding, so wholesome about walking through agricultural land, that a whiff of fresh cow pat actually does add that je ne sais quoi that makes the picture complete somehow...

The summer of 2013 was glorious, the weather sensational and I simply could not bear to spend a minute more than necessary indoors. The blog was neglected and with life picking up speed again now, I dare not make any promises for regular posts anytime soon. But perhaps that is how it is sometimes, that one part of your life has to slow down in order to make way for other parts to evolve...? 

I hope you have all had a relaxing and soul-nurturing summer and that September has begun with smiles all around!


Friday, 26 July 2013

Flirting with turquoise...

Now, many are the eyebrows that might now be raised a little higher than usual in front of the computer screens... Turquoise, she says? Aqua colours in the Swenglish home...?

Well, lately I have, to my own surprise, felt drawn to this strong and cheerful colour. Perhaps it is because of the magical summer we are having, where temperatures seem to have soared many weeks ago, only to surprise even themselves by then getting stuck there, high, high up in the unusually sweaty register... Perhaps this is why I am drawn to this slightly cooler colour, a sort of surrogate dip in the ocean for a Swede longing for school to finish and mental doors to open for beach days and splashing galore?

Perhaps this is why, during a visit to Camden Market in London at the beginning of the summer, I was surprised to see myself point at this large piece of fabric and say "could I have that one please?" and a moment later find myself in the street a few pounds shorter but with a bag full of aqua-coloured joy?

(Love versatile garden equipment..., like here with a tray placed on an upsidedown leaf bin/butt/barrel -instant side table, hooray!)

And this little fellow, he and I met in Sweden in June, and I invited him to come home with me. I am very glad I did, as with him came some wonderfully calming vibes...

Fruit... oh how we eat fruit in the summer heat! Pears, melons, strawberries - any and every fruit seems to lodge in our fridge, but only for a brief moment before it is enjoyed, giving us the juicy, fruity kick we are craving...

So there we have it, a quick and long overdue hello from a warm Wiltshire, where we are now getting ready for some proper summer holidaying, hoping the weather will not already have exhausted itself completely...
  Lake splashing, here we come!

So, from my little corner of turquoise tranquility, a warm hug to all of you who still pop in to visit The Swenglish Home blog. What is your colour that has got you tingling this summer?