I'm preparing to go to Sweden to photograph the next catalogue for Van Asch and also to see my godchildren and get some Christmassy shots. So, apologies to all you Swedish folk, but I'm praying for snow, just a little bit will do, and hope that everyone there has started to get their decorations out and houses lit up so that I can bring back some lovely photos of how they style for the festive season.
My last visit was for the Midsummer festival, so it couldn't be more different but as the Swedes like to embrace their roots and traditions I'm expecting great things.
For Midsummer we made wreaths to wear on our heads from flowers and foliage we picked in the hedgerow. As I'm about to write about making Christmas wreaths for my column in Vale Life, I was reminded of this. The best props often come from nature itself, at no cost, particularly if you live in the countryside.
Heres my god-daughter getting her wreath together.
We weren't alone, everyone throws themselves into these traditional festivals, this lady came in full Swedish national costume.
Young and old alike, the hand made garland is a must.
I will try to keep my eyes open for anywhere I can get props, either if we pass a Lopis or a charity shop. Lets hope that my host needs some things for the photo shoot because then we can call it "work" (guffaws loudly). Then, of course, I can do a Sunday Prop Shop with my Swedish finds !!
Locations are still being discussed but we normally go and stay at this beautiful old farmhouse with relatives.
Can you imagine how cute these traditional houses will look with a smattering of snow (please please please let it snow).
Our other regular location is this castle hotel, its called Gorvalns Slott and is just on the outskirts of Stockholm.
The rooms are all individually styled with amazing furniture and colour schemes. They are good customers of Van Asch and have the cushions dotted around all over the hotel on their sumptuous and decadent sofas.
In the corner of each room they have these gorgeous heating devices, its like a fancy chimney and was used to warm the house. I wish oh wish we had those here, they are always decorated so beautifully. Most are antiques now, I'm not sure they work anymore.
Heres another of these masonry stoves, they are more than just a chimney and actually recycle the heat in a very efficient manner before exiting the building. It's all very technical.
So in the words of the song "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" and put some wood in that corner stove while you are at it.