4 actions that made Stockholm feel like home.
We first arrived in Stockholm last August and, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we were ready to explore a new city together. For me, I was most excited about moulding a new, unfamiliar place into somewhere that felt like home. To kick off my mission, here are the first 4 actions I took when stepping foot on Scandi soil…
I bought a “sensible” coat.
For the first few weeks we were put up in a corporate apartment right in the city centre. This was a great opportunity for us to hop out of the front door and set off exploring but - with the majority of our belongings trundling their way across Europe a few weeks later - we were a little short on things to wear.
My very favourite purchase was my very first: a North Face nuptse. For me, this was a double win because (a) I desperately needed a “proper” coat for the impending Swedish winter and (b) I’d pined over this jacket for all of the previous winter, but it had be sold out everywhere in the UK.
So, when I spotted it just hanging in Junkyard like a nonchalant teenager behind a bike shed, I had no choice but to make it mine!
2. I exercised my DIY skills.
We moved into our Huddinge home on the 8th of September, with our belongings due to arrive from London the following day. We used Crown Relocations, a brilliant company who we’ll definitely use again. The jolly driver rocked up to the house early on Sunday morning, he made light work of unpacking our things before bidding us adieu, a bottle of our leftover wedding wine in-hand as a little token of thanks from us.
The house was already brilliantly equipped when we moved in, which is one of the many perks of renting directly, but it didn’t necessarily feel like our place. So I abandoned all the sensible unpacking (clothing, books, dinner plates etc.) and set to work finding the right spots around the house for our many pictures!
We’ve collected a lot of random artwork over the years, some are pieces that we bought as gifts, but most are either salvaged from outside our old flat or up-cycled arts & crafts projects that we deemed worth hanging onto. Our eclectic little collection is certainly unique to us, and I think that’s what makes a place feel like home. Safe to say I went full Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen for about an hour, but it really did make all the difference!
3. I got to know the neighbours.
In London, you’re permanently surrounded by people but - most of the time - you never really know who’s living next door. The concept of neighbours was almost as foreign to us as Sweden itself, so we hadn’t put any thought into what they’d be like in our new community. Luckily for us, our lovely landlords move in a close circle that includes almost all of our neighbours, so we were unexpectedly greeted with a warm and friendly welcome!
In the Swedish summer months, our road is a hive of neighbourly activity. Arriving at the start of a sunny September meant that locals would knock on the door most days to say “hello” (and probably to suss out the English newbies!).
Our neighbour Jenny, who is an absolute babe, even popped round with a welcome gift! Swedish living was starting to score very highly as we sat out on the front porch, sipping a gorgeous glass of organic malbec in the evening sunshine.
4. I got a puppy!
This may appear to be a slightly misguided decision so early on, but I assure you it was not! I am one of those (slightly strange) people who loves dogs so much that I feel the need to say “hello” to Every. Single. Dog. I walk past (much to my husband’s delight, as you can imagine) and I’ve wanted to own a pup for my whole life.
Knowing that we were finally bound for somewhere sans smog, I began researching SKK litters before we’d even left the UK. We had a few main requirements for our four-legged baby, we needed a breed that; is able to be trained, is active enough to go running and is good with kids (as we might want one or two of those, some day!).
We found a litter of Welsh Springer Spaniel puppies in Uppsala, just north of Stockholm. So we decided to visit with the breeder to find out more… and that’s where we met our boy! His kennel name is aptly “All you need is Love” but we decided to call him: Hoxton!