Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hello hello hello! We are back..

 by Patrick Cline
Hello everyone - we are back in Sydney after a fantastic five weeks in Sweden!
Sorry it has taken me a little bit of time to dive back into the blog-world, but had you seen the size of our washing mountain you would have forgiven me in an instant..! :)  I can tell you that life on this side of the jet lag  (and washing..)!!) is a whole lot better, and it is nice to be back here again! xx I have missed you!! xx 

We had such an amazing time away, and spending quality time with my family (and childhood friends) was just what we needed after what felt like some tough and trying months earlier this year.. Now we feel refreshed, recharged and ready to take on our last eight months here in Sydney before we pack our bags (Read: 'container'..!) and head back to Sweden permanently! More about that a little later..

 The clouds lifting off the lake near my childhood home before a round of golf 
one glistening morning. So stunning!

In stark contrast to the sparkly weather and warm temperatures back here in Springtime Sydney, Sweden was crisp, fresh and quiet, with an explosion of colours in the foliage. We soon fell into the meditative and calm pace that accents this time of the year, and we actually abandoned all plans of any glam events and /or shopping excursions (no no, I am perfectly well and sane..!). Instead, this trip became all about the outdoors and spending time in the country side. A 'return to nature and basics' trip where my daily uniform soon became Wellingtons, jeans, cozy jumpers layered with scarves and warm jackets.. It was heaven to be able to slow down, breathe deeply and let go of all stresses and 'must do's'..!

These are not my cheery Wellies (sorry), but the leaves on the lawn are from near our house. The colours were amazing!

We enjoyed making excursions into the forest. We'd pack a backpack with hot chocolate, sandwiches and fruit and head off in the morning and not return until the afternoon, often carrying baskets full of mushrooms (chantarelles and black trumpet mushrooms) or blue berries that we'd cook for dinner. We'd also pick apples and plums that grew in abundance in the gardens. Simple pleasures that tickled all senses  and felt so satisfactory on a deeper level. And is there is anything better than a freshly made apple,- plum- or blueberry pie straight out of the oven after a whole day outside..!?! Sigh.. :)

Many baskets full of plums, apples and other Autumnal goodies made their way into our kitchen..!!
Other days we'd play golf (Oscar also plays now which is so much fun!), go on little weekend trips to stay with friends, visit a nearby castle or simply just go for a long lovely walk. It was truly lazy days with no pressure to really 'do' very much at all, apart from take the day as it came..

Oscar is really bitten by the golf bug and apparently has real talent. 
He was scouted by a pro on the course who asked us to call in a couple of years if 
he is still playing! I was busting with pride of course (as was Oscar!)!! :)

Divine weekend stay-over at my very dear friends Kristina and Peter, at their house set on the 
castle grounds near Lennartsnas.

We also took some time out to look at schools for next year, and I am so thrilled to have received a letter of acceptance to a lovely independent school that teaches both in English and Swedish. YAY!! I think the kids will love it there when we move, and hope that the transition from Australia to Sweden will be smoother with the help of some new class mates and friends. Fingers crossed..!

Also from the lovely lands surrounding the castle.. This looks so 'typically Swedish' to me!
I love it and could happily settle in a place just like this, and lead a simple and creative life
in closeness to nature and all that it offers!

Isabella climbing a gorgeous old log in my favourite park in Eskilstuna.
Stunning old Oak trees against the red cottages that are part of an 'outdoor museum' similar to
that of 'Skansen' in Stockholm. A gorgeous place!

But best of all was just to be 'home' and spend quality time with my family and to experience proper Autumn again. It baffled me that I actually hadn't been home at this time of the year since nearly 15 years!! (We usually go for either Nordic Summer or Xmas..) There is something wonderful about Autumn and how it suddenly feels completely natural (almost essential..) to allow daily rituals and routines to take a little longer. In Summer and Spring I find myself trying to simplify things as much as possible so that energy can be spent on making the most of the sun, surf and lazying around.. As if you need energy for that.. :) But with the cooler temperature and shorter days (and dark mornings with a slow rising sun) I love the fuss of lighting candles, layering the bed & sofa with blankets and pretty pillows, dressing my dining chairs in sheepskins, cooking hearty food, and just generally taking time to create that nurturing and 'cozy feeling' we need when the tan is fading and we prepare for Winter.

 Oaks! I love them - their structure, their leaves and of course acorns. A friend of mine has an amazing
book about 'old Oaks' that have been beautifully photographed all over the world.. I so want a copy!

To relax I love 'picking things' and that includes beautiful Autumn leaves. Thankfully my children both love it too.. 

Autumn leaves in amazing colours displayed in an antique raised bowl on our lunch table.. 
It looked even better when the leaves dried up and curled..!

Right now, and in stark contrast to Sweden, I find myself wanting to de-clutter and open up the house to the sun and warmer months ahead. I am still lighting candles (I am Swedish after all..!) but soon my beautiful tall stemmed candles will give way to Citronella scented block candles and lanterns that can survive the Australian heat and also keep the mosquitoes away (a blessing!). Twigs and branches will replaced by bright coloured flowers and pretty bowls with shells and other lovely beach finds. For a little while longer we can enjoy open fruit bowls (and I can tell you that as the 'fruit bat' family that we are, we enjoy these to the full!), but soon the heat and all that comes with it will make it impossible to keep anything edible in open air. Even the juicer will need to be stowed away as it becomes the perfect breeding ground for fruit flies that somehow can detect sweet juices despite diligent washing..! You can imagine..

 Life is busting at the seams in my garden and I am spending more time bent over than up straight at the moment.. 
There is no end to the amount of weeding one needs to do after such a long time away...

These are the first and very tiny sprouts of 'Rocket lettuce' that we planted only last week. Oscar is amazed at 
how quickly they have shot up and is convinced they are called 'Rocket' because they grow so fast..   :)

So, despite the obvious tiredness of climatic shock & jet lag, and the sadness of having said goodbye to my family & friends in Sweden (!!) we are happy to be back. The sun is blazing down as I am typing this (cross legged on the front step to our house) and I feel my toes wiggling in excitement of a forthcoming tan (..Bring it on!! Please..!) and lazy days on the beach. I am definitely hearing whispers of Summer in the not too far distance and can't wait to plunge into the salty waves of the South Pacific. I just have to work on that tan first..! :)

Gorgeous view of Bronte beach snapped by my clever husband. Credit Marshall Ward

I'll be back soon with more pictures and stories from Sweden, but before I sign off I want to yell out a heartfelt THANK YOU to all my wonderful friends who took part in my 'Guest post series'.

Montage of the greatness these awesome ladies shared whilst I was away..!

DJ, Minna, Anna, Monika, Tina, Simone, Louise, Mia, Piper, Caroline, Dawn, Kirsten and Stacey, you guys exceeded my expectations with your fantastic reports on your current seasonal rituals from your corners of the world. What an honour it was to have you here!! xx xx

If anyone for some reason missed any of the 13 posts that ran over the past weeks, I will  prepare a quick link schedule in the right hand side column of this blog. Coming soon..!

Hugs to all of you my dears! I have missed you lots and lots!!

xx Charlotta

Photo credits: All pictures by me, apart from the very first & very last ones.


pretty pink tulips said...

Welcome back - it looks like you had a fantastic homecoming! You've been missed!! xo Elizabeth

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Welcome home!!! It must have been a truly wonderful vacation. You sound positively happy, refreshed and inspired! And, next a new chapter in your beloved Sweden, so exciting!

LINDA from OEKE said...

Welcome back. I did miss your lovely posts. I am glad you are feeling recharged and remember your sadness from earlier this year.
Glad you have decided to move back home as, really, there is no place like it (-:

Enjoy the sun today (-:

Style Attic said...

How wonderful a time for you to spend it with such lovely company in GORGEOUS places :)

You literally keep it moving and I enjoy the ride and every post.

Chat soon! XOXO,


Christina @ greige and My Sparrow said...

What a sweet post! I am so glad you are back! Missed you tons! Enjoy that warm weather as it starts to turn to the (very little)fall that we get here in California...

Dustjacket Attic said...

Welcome Back! Great to hear you again and see these gorgeous photos!Loved hearing your stories and seeing what you have been up too. Sounds so beautiful.

So you will be off next year, wow, busy life for sure!

hugs DJ

Urban Style Vibes said...

Welcome back! It sounds and looks like an amazing trip. You so deserved it hun! Talk soon!


Lise M.

Champagne/StitchPoet/CrushParty said...

AWW, SO HAPPY YOU'RE BACK! I missed your blogging, but enjoyed your guests. So, So happy you are home safely and all is good in your world. I on the other hand, dyed my hair in the bathroom sink...what was I thinking...suicide brunette...see how things can go wrong when you're not around to keep us busy....welcome home!

Simone said...

There you are, I was thinking you must be due back soon!!! Welcome home!!!!

Your trip sounds FANTASTIC - gorgeous photos - and how exciting to be moving back there....I bet your family are thrilled :)

Lovely to see you again! xx

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

Welcome back, Charlotta, even though there have been some great guest posts, I've really missed you! Glad you have a wonderful time in Sweden! xo

Krystal said...

WOW....those pictures are glad you had such an amazing time!!!

Carole said...

Welcome back Charlotta. What beautiful pictures and memories. And how nice to arrive home in summer! A long way off for us in the UK! I've enjoyed your guest bloggers but I'm looking forward to the return of your posts.
Carole x

anita @ a dreamer's den said...

welcome back -- so glad to see this post!
the photos from your time in sweden are gorgeous. (especially the one of the clouds over the lake!)

Nuit said...

I have missed you so much!!!!! your images are gorgeous I am so glad to see them!!! While you were away I changed jobs and my life has changed a lot. I have very little time to blog but I still post everyday if I can, but i find it hard to visit other blogs :( It will probably be like this just for a while, I need to adjust to all the changes and my new job is certainly a chanllenging one... Luv u!!! xoxo

Splendid Willow said...

Good to have you back x 10, Ms. Charlotta! Gorgeous photos my friend. The kids look so happy and to think that you soon will be moing back for good -- what a blessing!

And how great with the bi-lingual school! I am so thrilled for you all!

No working on a sun tan here - you lucky girl! I will be thinking of you when I am doing some serious Jumping Jacks to keep the warmth at the bus stop!

Love to the entire family.

sis, Mon

Tina said...

Wow, Charlotta vilken fin återgivelse i både ord och bild av din vistelse här hemma i Sverige!
Era 'lazy days' utomhus i naturen låter underbara.
Känslan som infinner sig när man kommer in efter en heldag ute är något av det mest underbara. Väderbitna kinder och både kropp och själ fylld med ny fräsch energi, och så sover man ju så gott!
Du är fantastisk!
Ta väl hand om dig!
Många kramar!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Sounds like you had such an amazing time in Sweden. The photos are all so, so beautiful! And that is so cool about your son's golfing talent! wow!!!

Cath said...

Woooo - lovely to have you back in Aus, welcome home. Loved this post and catching up on all your exciting news and time at home in Sweden. I was only thinking of you the other day wondering when you'd be back! The guest posts were FAB, but you were definitely missed my dear.

x Cath

caroline @ patagonia gifts said...

welcome back, Charlotta! amazing photos. it looks like you had an absolutely wonderful time together with your family! I enjoyed reading all your adventures. thank you for sharing them with us! xo

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos, lovely post & you have been forgiven! Ugh, we know exactly what the laundry mountain means... Have a wonderful weekend!!


French-Kissed said...

I am thrilled to discover your blog. Thanks for stopping by FK and leaving the comment that led me hear. Your trip back home to Sweden looks and sounds heavenly and it will be great fun to follow you over the next few months as you plan to return home. My first visit her has been delightful.


Marina said...

Thank you for your sweet comment and your visit!
What a lovely blog you have and the images are just gorgeous!
I know exactly how you feel when you go back home ... my husband and middle daughter are currently in Australia visiting family.

Enjoy your last 8 months in Sydney, its always great to spend spring/summer there before you leave!

I will definitely follow your adventure!

shari @ little blue deer said...

Oh, Charlotta, so glad you are back! I loved reading about your trip, and am glad you get to go back to Sweden soon! I really appreciate you sharing your life with us, so lovely! XX!

Lynn @ Honey Darlins Corner said...

I love your photos and have looked through your blog over coffee this morning:) I'm your new stalker I mean follower! HAHA! The rooster on the toast makes me smile:) I look forward to your wonderful photos and post!

Design Elements said...

Welcome back! fantastic pics!


Welcome back, darling! Sounds & looks like an amazing trip. Just what the doctor ordered, huh? :)

So glad to have you back. Hope you're having a fabulous weekend! xoxo

Cashon&Co said...

wow. I have never been to Sweden, but after seeing these photos, I want to go now! what a gorgeous trip ya'll had. those fall leaves are incredible. Our leaves haven't even STARTED turning yet. and tomorrow is November! *sigh!

Anne said...

Welcome home, Charlotta! Your pictures from sweden make me sigh with envy-- such a lovely place. The one with the red barn and the red ivy is my favorite. I am glad you had a delightful trip. Take care.


Charlotta Ward said...

Thank you everyone for your sweet 'welcome home' wishes! I truly missed you all! xx

Big hugs!

xx Charlotta

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