First week of holiday!

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My holiday was rather busy, but that’s what it’s like when you’re living abroad; lots of family and friends to catch up with and you’re constantly behind on that front, however hard you try, as there simply isn’t enough time. My strategy this time was to start off busy and try to wind down a little towards the end, as I need to sleep and relax as well. And for once I think it worked. To say I feel refreshed might be pushing it, but I feel less tired than when I left London, which is the whole point of a holiday, isn’t it?!

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But since I had a 7am flight on the Saturday I took that day to relax and really feel that I was on holiday. It was pure bliss to arrive at the beach house, change into a bikini and a cover up, have an glassbåt ice cream in the sun and just try to switch off a little.

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I also walked down to the beach to dip my toes in the water and breathe the fresh air. And in the evening I enjoyed some bubbly and a nice homecooked dinner (pork fillet with lemon and herbs, new potatoes, tomato salad and a cold garlic and herb sauce).

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The next day I went to Helsingborg for lunch with friends and got to see both the hosts’ lovely new house and meet other friends’ little baby for the first time. For lunch we had a lovely poke bowl with sesame marinated tuna and ice cream for pudding. It was so nice to sit in the garden catching up with dear childhood friends like that. The afternoon went by in a flash!

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On the Monday I went to Copenhagen for the day with two friends, and we’ve been doing it for so long it’s a tradition we do everything to keep every summer.

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We started off with tacos and smørrebrød for lunch at Torvehallerne, had fika at our favourite café and in the evening wine and cheese at one place before dinner at another. It was a perfect day chatting away with friends, looking in a few shops and just enjoying what this lovely city has to offer!

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The next day I didn’t have many plans so started with a lie-in and a late breakfast in the garden. I did a few errands and sunbathed a bit and had dinner with my parents in the evening before a visitor from London arrived late that night as the flight was delayed.

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So the next morning another lie-in was in order followed by a cooked breakfast outside. By the way, poached eggs on toast with tabasco is delicious!

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We continued the day driving around the south coast, checking out the beaches and eating ice cream.

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And in the evening we had a crayfish party complete with Västerbotten cheese quiche, fresh and smoked prawns, snaps and silly hats!

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The following day my visitor played golf in Falsterbo while I spent the day with by best friend and my god daughter before meeting up with the golfers for lunch. Afterwards we went to Badhytten for a drink followed by a quick swim in the sea.

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Then I was put to work making burgers (with fake shack sauce) for us all. So yum!

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Friday was my visitor’s last full day in Sweden so we made the most of it spending most of it on the beach and after a late lunch we made our way into Malmö for drinks, dinner and some more drinks.

The next day we had time for a long breakfast and a swim before my visitor had to leave for the airport and I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and had dinner with mamma and pappa in the evening.

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The next day (Sunday) we drove to the southeastern part of Skåne to have lunch with two of my cousins and my auntie. We had hot smoked salmon with new potatoes, soft boiled eggs, asparagus and a cold dill sauce. Very Swedish and so yummy!

It was a lovely week and as you can see I got to see and do a lot and catch up with many of my friends!

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Stockholm: fika at Mr Cake

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On the top of my to-do-list for the long weekend in Stockholm was, of course, fika. And not just anywhere, but at a recently opened café by Roy Fares, incorporating American pastries with Swedish fika.

It’s a concept that totally works, and it’s nice to find things like American pancakes on the menu, as well as deliciously looking doughnuts and more traditional Swedish buns.

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We came here on the Sunday morning, rather late as I’d had to work a bit, and after a chaotic few hours it was so nice to sit in the sunshine and enjoy our (very) late breakfast. We had some bread rolls with ham and cheese, American pancakes with maple syrup (so yum), smoothie, juice and of course some sweet pastries.

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The piece de resistance here is definitely the red velvet croissant. And it’s utterly amazing. Imagine flaky pastry filled with the cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cake. It’s butterly, sweet (but not too sweet), flaky and creamy all at the same time. Yum, yum, yum!

We also shared a rhubarb and strawberry custard bun with crumble on top that was lovely, but nothing could beat the hybrid croissant of dreams. This place is a must for anyone visiting Stockholm.

Mr Cake, Rådmansgatan 12a, 114 25 Stockholm, Sweden

 

Stockholm highlights

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Unless you’ve been to Scandinavia in the summer, I don’t think you could understand how magical the summer is there.

Of course, summer in Britain is gorgeous too, but in Scandinavia summer is what everybody lives for. The dark and cold (and frankly, rather miserable) winter months are so depressing that summer is the goal; the light at the end of the tunnel.

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It may sound dramatic, but it’s true. So to experience the gorgeousness of Swedish summer already in the beginning of May was such a treat, I don’t think I can explain the elevation I felt.

Stockholm is a pretty city all year round, but in summer it really comes to life and is more beautiful than ever.

So the highlights I am about to share with you, are in majority linked to this beautiful summer weather. We didn’t see the point of being indoors in a museum when the sun was shining. Alas, there are many many more great things to do in Stockholm, especially in other seasons, this is just a selection.

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Brunch with friends

On the Saturday dear friends of mine invited us over for a delicious brunch in their home, and afterwards we sat in the sun on their balcony, sipping rosé and eating a crumble with strawberries and ice cream. Such a wonderful start to our weekend!

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Exploring Gamla Stan (Old Town)

I’ve been to Stockholm many times before but as it’s my capital I have not explored it the way I have London. Therefore it was great fun seeing the city through a non-Swede’s eyes. We found beautiful churches and statues I had never heard of, and obviously checked out the palace and Storkyrkan as well.

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Fika!

We do eat a lot of fika in Sweden and it’s so easy to walk to a bakery, order something yummy and sit in the sun to enjoy it. We had amazing cinnamon buns at Fabrique, who also have a café in London.

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Exploring the city by foot

Stockholm is perfect for walking or cycling and it’s by far the best way to explore the city. When we felt we “knew” the way pretty well we went on detours to explore some more.

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Visiting friends in the suburbs

An old friend of mine has recently moved to Täby with his family, so we went to visit them and it was so cosy and serene outside of the city. I would recommend visiting Zetas Trädgård (a beautiful nursery with a café) for a similar experience.

Djurgården

This beautiful island is easy to get to by tram or boat and is Stockholm’s equivalent to Richmond Park. The nature is beautiful and you can go for amazing walks here. There is a beautiful nursery with a café/restaurant; Rosendals Trädgård, as well as the fairground Gröna Lund and several museums.

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Good restaurants

We had lunch at Rolfs Kök and nibbles and wine at Tranan.

I have a few more great places to tell you about, in more detail, so stay tuned!

 

Copenhagen: Royal Smushi café

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One of my favourite things to do in Copenhagen, especially in the autumn or winter, would be to go to Royal Copenhagen for cake with my mother. They used to have this amazing old-style café on one of the top floors where you could pick out your cake from a large table in the middle of the room, just filled to the brim with cakes, tarts and the likes. It was wonderful but it’s sadly closed now.

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But one can get a very similar experience, but in a more modern way, at Royal Smushi Café, at street level.

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The cakes look (and taste!) fabulous and they have a nice selection of both savoury and sweet treats. All served on Royal Copenhagen crockery.

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I had the carrot cake and although it’s usually not my first choice I was seduced by the lovely looking frosting. And I must say, it was a very, very good carrot cake. The best I’ve had, in fact.

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The interior here is lovely too, with high ceilings, modern chandeliers and pink walls. The perfect place for a mid-afternoon treat!

Royal Smushi Café, Amagertorv 6, 1160 København K, Denmark

Gotland: Sylvis döttrar café on Fårö

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A real ‘must’ when visiting Fårö, the little island just north of Gotland, is a fika (coffee and cake) at Sylvis döttrar, a bakery and café on the island. My friends mentioned it like an institution; it must have been around for years, so we made sure to visit in the afternoon.

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The place was very popular with a long queue of tourists waiting to buy their baked goods, but we were not all that impressed.

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Both mother and I are keen bakers and we all found the cakes a little basic. And some slightly dry. I got a sense that the café was past its prime, living on its reputation from years ago.

A real shame, when so many people come here for fika all summer long.

Sylvis döttrar, Fårö Bukleks 1526, 624 67 Fårö, Sweden 

Gotland: Lauters wonderful café on Fårö

 

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Driving around the small island of Fårö, looking for sustenance (it was lunch time after all), I spotted a pretty driftwood sign by the road pointing us in the direction of Lauters Café.

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I think it epitomises the island perfectly with it’s ruins, makeshift furniture and laid-back vibe.

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You could play boule, have a siesta in the hammock or even a massage.

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Or have lunch. Which is what we did.

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Mum and dad had the sandwiches to your left with cooked brisket and mustard, and I had one of the wraps in the foreground with smoked salmon, horseradish and rocket.

Simple food, but very well prepared. There was also a huge lunch buffet serving lots of salads, sausages and pancakes for pudding. That was too much for us though, but we couldn’t resist something sweet to finish off our lunch.

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The traditional saffron pancake, typical for Gotland.

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With dewberry jam and whipped cream of course. To my mother this is a little piece of heaven, and this one in particular was amazing. The best one either of us had ever had.

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We also had to have a cardamom bun and it was equally amazing. I think this might be my new favourite café.

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The kind of café I wouldn’t mind owning one day. Set in the beautiful countryside, a place to have good food and just hang out.

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Gorgeous, isn’t it?!

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And the best part, was definitely having that saffron pancake in this milieu; among the ruins.

Lauters Bar Mat Café, Fårö Lauter 1993, 624 66 Fårö, Sweden

Gotland: north, east and Fårö

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Our first full day on Gotland we wanted to discover as much as possible and decided to head north and east (the next day we went south and west) and our first stop was the Lummelunda Cave, one of Scandinavia’s biggest caves.

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It’s pretty touristy, but well worth a visit as it’s both pretty cool to see, but it’s also interesting to hear how the cave was discovered. I remember visiting when I was four years old, and although it was probably more amazing experiencing the cave as a child it was still nice to come back as an adult and experience it in a different way.

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After the cave experience we took the car ferry to Fårö where the nature is absolutely amazing. The island is barren and stony, but also eerie and pretty. And there’s sheep (and sheep huts) almost everywhere (Fårö translates as Sheep Island). 

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We found the most amazing café here, just by following a sign I thought looked promising, that I would recommend everyone to visit, but we also stopped for fika at the famous and more traditional Sylvis Döttrar bakery. Reviews to follow.

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After that we drove back to Gotland and headed east to Furillen, a former limestone quarry that’s extremely beautiful. The restaurant was closed unfortunately, but it was worth stopping here for the nature alone.

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We covered quite a lot of the island just driving around (and stopping when we saw a good photo opportunity).

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Although Gotland is small there are things to see and do (and eat!) just about everywhere, so it’s good to be selective. The Gotland Guide from the ferry over is great to use and we kept one in the car the whole time.