Sweden, week one: The house.

Hi! We are back from our holiday in Sweden and I have a gazillion pictures to share. Ready? First up, the holiday cottage we stayed in during our first week. 

We knew we definitely wanted a house on the coast, with views of the sea. This proved to be difficult in our price range, especially since the majority of properties in Sweden don´t allow dogs. We eventually came across this house and fell in love with the views. Even off-season, it was way beyond our budget but since this was our first holiday in four years, we just decided to go for it. 

It was worth it. This was the view from the dining/living room. I mean, seriously. There also was a wonderful little sunroom with views to three sides which was amazing. You could sit there, all cozy, and watch the storms rage over the sea. The house was nothing special on the inside - it was definitely the location you paid for - but it was clean and well equipped and just right for us. The listing for the cottage is here if you are interested in renting it as well. 

The view changed to much depending on the weather. Which was mostly fine by the way, except there was so much wind almost every day, with which I got a bit fed up with by the end of the week. Turns out I get really nervous when the wind is howling around the house non-stop. So much for my plans to retire in a cottage by the sea. Ha. 


And here is one with me and the view. I gave my husband the camera and told him to snap away. I have about 20 pics and in all of them I am blurry. You just go ahead and try that with a fully automated DSLR! Anyway I still like this one so you get to see it, blurry and all.

(Also, god it is hard to post pictures of myself on this blog. Because, will people still read this when they realize I am no supermodel? Etc.)

It was such a joy to have Ludwig with us. He loved all of it. The ferry, the sea, the lakes, all of it. All of my worries were unfounded. (Btw if you have a nervous dog like ours, try the "Adaptil" collars during travels. I swear they are made of magic). 

Oh redhead, we love you so. 

The house was located on an island called Tjörn, one hour north of Gothenburg. The skerry coast there is pretty spectacular. We took long walks every day and it never got old. 

Ah, so pretty. We need to go back there someday! Coming up later this week, a post about the excursions we did during our first week. 


After the heat.

Yesterday in the evening, we had a much anticipated thunderstorm that finally ended the heat wave. It was glorious. Rain! Cooler temperatures! Such a relief. I really did enjoy this over performing summer weather - I can´t remember a summer with so many dips in the pond and so many hours in the hammock - but at the end, it got too intense. The heat came with a drought that basically torched the entire walled garden. I am going to cut it back vigorously now and hope for a lovely late summer with more rain. 

Yesterday´s storm damaged an old plum tree, smashed the hydrangeas and brought down the first apples. Not a problem really! I´ll happily collect all storm victims in my garden (I can´t bring myself to cut any of my hydrangeas, but if a storm "helps" it is another thing entirely, right?). 

So many things coming out of the veggie garden, it´s a delight. On a different note, see those lovely tomatoes in the pic above? They are an orange variety, "Auriga", which used to be a very common tomato in Eastern Germany. It´s my first year growing them and I completely forgot that they are supposed to be orange. I kept waiting for them to turn red! Here is me wondering how much heat it actually takes for those darn tomatoes to get ready when they´ve been ripe for weeks! #winning

So, naturally I´ve been busy making tomato sauces and passata like a crazy woman. It has a bit more urgency than usual this year because this Saturday, we will embark a ferry to Sweden where we will spend our first real holiday in four years. We´ll stay on the coast near Gothenburg for a week and then another week in Smaland. I am a bit (ok very) nervous because we are taking Ludwig who still thinks driving in a car is torture, but otherwise I can´t wait. We´ll be off the grid entirely so the blog will stay quiet until we are back. Think good thoughts for us and have a great time yourself! See you in Mid-September with lots of pictures from our time in Sweden!


Tales of August.

Hi! I´m sorry for the silence. I´ve been sick and busy, never a great combination. Anyway here are a few pictures from the past two weeks. First things first, I finally came up with a wonderful solution for the space above the cupboard in the dining room. I had grown tired of the paper flowers and remembered that I still had this wonderful canvas print of a picture taken by my Flickr friend Penelope Fewster. I originally had it made for our kitchen in Berlin and somehow forgot about it after the move (?). Anyway I love it here. So perfect. Even the husband likes it. When I first hung it he came in and remarked how it had all the right colors in it (??).

In other news, we are having a proper heatwave here in Eastern Germany and it is so, so hot. I´m not cut out for super hot weather but I am trying to enjoy it as much as I possibly can. You shall not complain about a decent summer, right? The flower garden isn´t into it though. The walled garden is looking quite tired but I know it will all spring back to life once the temperatures drop and it finally rains (2015 - the year that taught me to cherish every single drop of rain). 

Since the veggie garden gets watered the most, it is still a very happy place. It´s the first year that my onion harvest has been nothing but successful and everything else is thriving as well. Now hurry up, tomatoes!

Last but not least, here´s Ludwig contemplating stealing my bikini and Emma being cute. 
Have a very happy week! Let´s enjoy summer while we can. 


Book Club: Decorate with flowers.

This is the start of a new series called "Book Club". One of the things I get asked the most is whether I can recommend any good interior design/garden books. In fact I can, and it is what I am going to do here hopefully regularly.

Let´s start with "Decorate with Flowers" by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring. Their German publisher Callwey provided me with a review copy of the, well, German version which is called "Wohnen mit Blumen." Thank you Callwey! Much appreciated.

Confession: I don´t really like formal flower bouquets. I mostly find them too artificial. What I can get behind though are simple, pretty arrangements like the one above. However I find these aren´t so easy to create so I was looking for some guidance, and I am happy to report that the book does give you exactly that. It provides some basic knowledge (tools a florist would use, how to select flowers and arrange them properly) without going too much into detail. Totall fine with me, I don´t want to be a florist, I just want to look my flower arrangements to look good.

I really love that they use herbs a lot in their arrangments. Look how cute this rosemary looks! I need to do this more often.

The book isn´t all about bouquets though, there are lots of ideas of how to use flowers in your home - like the simple wreath here. All of those ideas come with detailed instructions that are easy to follow.

Here´s one idea that I particularly loved: They wrapped multi-colored yarn around simple jars - voilá, a pretty vase!

Like the title suggests, the book is about decorating with flowers, from a stylist´s point of view. So there´s an emphasis on how to pick the right flowers for your room - what looks good where, which colors etc. This is obviously an approach that I appreciate. The book also offers a fare share of eye candy when it comes to interiors, like this dreamy dining room.

So with all that inspiration in mind, I tried to make a few arrangements of my own. Here´s a little wildflower bouquet that I made just yesterday. Love the colors of this one.

Dare I say I am getting better at this? I hope so!

Thank you again Callwey for providing the review copy, I loved the book.


Blooms in my garden, July edition. 

The walled garden is looking really beautiful these days. Take a look for yourself:

That red lily though... it needs to go. I am planning a few changes in my garden - there will be a large new bed in the chestnut garden (let´s just call it that) and I think this is where the lily will go.

This cute red flower can stay though! It looks lovely everywhere.

Speaking of the chestnut garden, this is one of the beds that already exist. The white echinacea is lovely but they aren´t super happy here (I think there´s too much sun/heat). Also I´ll do mixed borders here as well - I thought I´d only want mixed beds in the walled garden and a more mono-thematic style elsewhere, but I´m not happy with it. So we´ll mix things up!

I´ve mentioned before that I wanted to add more color to the vegetable garden this year and well, it´s been a bit of a learning curve. For example I planted marigolds in the tomato beds and for some reason, they grew as high as the tomatoes! Not ideal since tomatoes need all the sun they can get. I had to rip them out. This wildflower border is a bit more successful.

Also in the veggie garden, the cosmos in this old oil barrel look nice enough although I´ve learned that cosmos are definitely happier in solid soil. They need a lot of water and aren´t heat resistant at all when potted. You live, you learn!

Have a happy week!