Saturday 31 December 2011

Looking back at 2011

Dear readers,
I hope you have enjoyed a joyful and relaxing Christmas. 
Perhaps you are sitting with your feet tucked under a blanket, devouring the book that Santa so perceptively knew you had longed to read... Perhaps you are thinking of that box of chocolates you now wish you had not finished so quickly... Or maybe you are taking stock of the year which is swiftly coming to an end, making plans and promises for the New Year ahead... a year which I hope will bring you everything you want and more.

As I am sitting here under my blanket, I think back for a moment on my blog year 2011. First I... and then... Oh, shall we take it from the beginning? Would you like to walk with me down Memory Lane for a moment? You might want to snuggle up and get comfortable... perhaps even reach for a new box of chocolates, because this may take some time. Are you ready? Here we go..


In January, I was again reminded of one of the big differences between living here in the UK, where already at the end of January I could start bringing home spring flowers, and living in my birth country Sweden, which  was kept 'hostage' by snow for many months after that.

The new year brought new ideas, and I played a little with 
twigs from the forest, some paint and some old cutlery.


More and more, I found myself seeing the world in pictures, 
and the desire to 'set little scenes' and play around with the camera grew larger.

Continuing to be trusty props partners, my garden bench and old 
stone wall became very familiar sights for my regular readers...


The tulip season brought even more colour to the Swenglish Home, and this photo was one of the first I became aware was circling around other blogs, Pinterest pin boards etc. It was also around this time I realised that the concept of 'mine and yours' varies a lot in meaning for different people, and I found my photos here and there on the internet, sometimes without any reference at all, and sometimes even with my name cropped out and the photo used as if it had been taken by someone else... An interesting insight and good reminder that the second we press 'Enter', our material is no longer protected as ours.... (although it should be pointed out that most people do state the source and respect the copyright laws).

An old fruit box from a skip was transformed to a box carrying some springy loveliness...

Inspired by spring and sunshine, the table was set for a spring lunch...

A work trip to Ankara in Turkey introduced some travel photos 
in the midst of the interior and garden themes in this blog.


Spring continued and the garden seemed to beg to be prettified, again and again...

And one day in April, this little scene was set to welcome a special visitor. One with a camera around his neck and many years of experience and talent behind it... The result of this visit will soon appear in a UK magazine, and I will tell you which and when as we approach the publishing date...

Swedish cinnamon rolls and fruit were presented on a cake stand I made 
at the beginning of the year from an old cup, old saucers and a door knob.  

A 'hanging garden' was created above another old, scruffy bench in the garden...

... and I kept wondering if I would ever find the time to actually just sit and relax 
in my created relaxing corners of the house and the garden...


In May, I was very proud to see some of my photos in Norwegian writer and photographer 
Franciska Munck-Johansen's book Sanselig Sommer (Summer For All the Senses).

The month of May is such a wonderful month, 
full of the hope of warmth and growth and the summer to come... 
And flowers - flowers everywhere!


With the summer months came a desire to spend more and more time outdoors, and many walks in and around my home town provided the material for the blog, which was, for a while, rather dominated by stone houses and cottage garden images...

And we continued to enjoy our neighbours' walnut tree stretching its 
branches so kindly into our garden and offering shade on a hot day...


July gave me a lovely reason to revisit a favourite garden, Abbey House and Gardens in Malmesbury, a k a The Naked Gardeners. The lovely reason? A visit from my dear blog friend Charlotte and her lovely family reminded me not only how much I would love a large rusty cauldron like this in my own garden, but also what an amazing community the interior and gardening blogs have to offer, and what gorgeous people you may meet here!

July was also the month when I was cajoled into going camping with the family again. 
We shared the farm camp site with some other happy campers...:

And with the camp site only a skip and a jump away from some of the most beautiful 
beaches in Cornwall, I had to admit the trip had not been such a bad idea, after all...

The beaches were so fabulous that even the oldest beach boy in 
the family had to be dragged away at the end of the day...

... and whilst dreaming of toes tickled by sand, 
one could always organise a bath in one's own garden...

... or continue to try out different decorations inside and out...

I got hooked on photographing figs, 
and 'purple' seemed to be a theme I would not easily let go of...

... well, blue-y purple counts too...?


August meant both holiday away and at home, the latter which was enjoyed through several 
walks around the surrounding countryside and villages, which I never seem to tire of...

Picking flowers by the road side and playing around with garden peas and other decorative 
vegetables were two favourite activities that continued to bring joy to this Swenglish soul...

...and my passion for purple seemed unstoppable...


With September came whispers of autumn, and also a lot of work involving trips away. The blog slowed down, again, and there were few opportunities to send blog love to my much appreciated readers... Here, a few hearts were carved to carry the message, and I hope that you all felt it!


I started October in one of my favourite cities, Istanbul, and returned to the UK high on baklava and impressions for all the senses. (Baklava is a sweet pastry, but the way I was downing them, you might have thought they were a more addictive substance!)

Autumn really settled in this month, and I had a hard time keeping up with the massive crop of various pumpkins the man in the house had grown this year. Not being a big fan of eating pumpkin myself, I did my best to use them in other ways...

The misty mornings, the yellowing leaves... even for a spring and 
summer lover like me, it was hard not to be seduced...

Castle Combe


Mother Nature - still my favourite artist of all times - continued to offer some stunning poetry...

...and still stuck with more pretty pumpkins than we could possibly consume,
I decided to make use of them in another way - an autumn table was laid....

... and then, to my surprise, I found it was already time to invite the first signs of Christmas...:


Being a keen advocate for the "Play With Your Food Movement" (no, I don't think there is such an organisation, at least not outside of my - sometimes rein-free - imagination), Brussels sprouts became the 'flavour' of the month of my blog, and these photos were taken for the Christmas issue of the Hungarian magazine A Mi Otthonunk. 

Having decided to attempt to toddle down new paths, 
I also announced the birth of my new company:

... hoping to be able to 'steal' some time from my other work 
to explore the possibilities here during 2012.


Little Christmas sweets and treats were prepared... and, 
I admit rather embarrassed, consumed loooong before Christmas actually arrived...:

... and the Brussels sprouts came back to haunt the blog again... and again... and again!

Well, there we are.
Many other things happened too of course,
in the unstyled and multidimensional world outside of the blog,
but these are some of the images and events I chose to share here..

This blog year has brought to me so much light and smiles from the blog world, where I have been met by an unwavering source of goodness and unselfish encouragement in you, my kind, kind readers. Your warmth and positive pats on a sometimes tired Swenglish shoulder has meant the world to me, and I only wish I could have cloned myself in order to visit you all and deliver hugs and words of gratitude in person. As it is, many of you have only seen me reach out a hand in collective thank you-s here, or at best, have felt my little heart-filled thoughts be carried by imaginary doves to wherever you are across the globe. I will make no New Year's resolutions that I will be able to post, visit or comment more next year, but I can promise you this: You inspire me and your inspire the world with your kindness. Thank you.

I hope 2012 will be your best year ever, 
and hope to see you here, in the parallel universe of blogs...!