How has motherhood changed you? Or not? Personally, it took me sometime to find the right balance transitioning into my role as a mother. I try to remain true to myself, but it’s clear that whatever I do, I have to respect the needs of my daughter. Yes, I’m a mom, but I’m still me. Recently, I met fellow blogger Stina Auer who is also transitioning into motherhood.
Meet Stina, the voice behind “A Woman, a Life, a Blog.”
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 32 years old and have lived most of my life in Sweden (Stockholm). But I travel a lot to our second condo in Zurich because of the fact that my man is from Switzerland and still works there during the week. We have a wonderful little son who is now seven months old. He is the biggest love of my life. At home in Stockholm, we also have a ten-year-old dog. I specialize in medical injections for aesthetic use and work for a clinic in Stockholm. On top of that, I work on small projects in photography, fashion and writing.
I see myself as a very creative person who loves fashion and working with the intellectual side of the brain that stands for exploration and development, whether it’s about home decoration or new projects in life. I’m also an entrepreneur who combines the wonderful possibility of being on a long maternity leave with things that fascinate me and make life worth living.
We travel a lot and that is one of the greatest pleasures in my life, to be able to get inspiration from all around the world and also get a little lost and be able to explore, stay open minded and grateful. I am very close to my family, which, apart from my dear man, includes my mother, father and sister. I have my dearest friends in Stockholm, close to where we live. Most of them have kids too nowadays or are pregnant.
How did your blog “A woman, a life, a blog” come about and what’s the inspiration for the name?
I’ve been blogging for almost eight years now. It started small and private, but as time passed by and I got more and more readers, I realized that I didn’t want to be as private anymore. Now I’m sometimes personal, but seldom private. I see my blog as a creative corner that gives me the possibility to publish my photos and write something that I would like to share every day. It’s an amazing experience, if you ask me, to have so many great readers scattered around the world giving feedback daily and writing comments. It gives me the encouragement to make my blog better and inspire even more.
The name came from the simple fact that I am a Woman who lives a Life and has a Blog. I wanted something mature but still sounded feminine. Three years back in time, that was the name that fell into place. I also have the domain name www.stina.co, which makes it easier to remember.
You’re from Stockholm, how would you define Swedish fashion and style?
Swedish fashion history is quite special because it more or less didn’t exist 12 years ago. We had nothing of interest on the subject in Stockholm and the trendiest brand was by far Ralph Lauren, which says a lot. But then Gucci and Louis Vuitton came and suddenly the Swedish people got more aware of designer brands. For some reason, we (the Stockholm citizens) also started to travel much more to cities that are symbolic with fashion like Paris, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, New York, Berlin, etc., and that certainly influenced us. The fashion stores in Stockholm suddenly boomed and really good Swedish designers also turned up or became more noticeable.
Sweden and Stockholm are two separate environments I do have to say: the capital is where you will see and feel this enormous fashion sense nowadays. Many are into fashion and take what to wear very seriously, including the brands, both international luxury brands and Swedish/Scandinavian designers. We have a well-renowned Fashion Week, which is starting to become serious in the world of fashion internationally. In addition, we have some really famous fashion bloggers and street style photographers who help spread Swedish fashion around the world even more.
The most common impression about Stockholm when someone from abroad comes here for the first time, is very often how most people look very good and are quite tall. You can also feel the interest for fashion on a day-to-day basis in the streets from both men and women, young and old. Of course, this is how it is in the city center and not as much in the suburbs and so on, but it always is fun to see foreigners react when they come here. Most men also tend to think that Swedish men dress far too feminine and are too aware of their appearances.
If I were to give an opinion about my city regarding fashion, I would like the people to become even more individual, to dare to have their own style instead of dressing like everyone else because it is said to look good. That is the biggest problem I see, that people are behaving too much like flock animals and wear what everyone else is wearing. Sometimes, it’s just ridiculous! I mean, I can go on a street and see 10 women more or less in the exact same outfit from the boots to the jacket, the bag and the hairdo. That’s just sad and very uninspiring in my eyes. But otherwise, I love the fact that Stockholm is a city where you feel the fashion and the effort every day.
Can you share with us some insider secrets on what to see and do in Stockholm … also for free?
Well, the best time to go to Stockholm is by far in spring, summer or autumn. I would say from April/May to October. If you go during wintertime, be sure to expect some very cold temperatures, snow and early dusk.
Reserve a typical Swedish lunch and tradition meal at one of the hippest lunch places on a Saturday. I would recommend Sturehof where you should order Köttbullar and that’s it. You should most definitely have cocktails at Gondolen, which is the place that stands for the most wonderful view of Stockholm’s watery landscape, with lots of small islands in what we called the Archipelago. As for a nice and lovely dinner, I would either suggest Lydmar or Le Rouge in the old town. For a little Sunday pleasure, book afternoon tea in advance at the Grand Hotel where there’s breathtaking view over the sea and the royal palace.
If you have kids, I would suggest taking them to Astrid Lindgren’s world (the author of Pippi Longstockings and millions of other beautiful child stories) and the amusement park Gröna Lund, which I personally love. If you’re into photography as I am, visit Fotografiska, which runs different exhibitions that are generally excellent. There are also plenty of other museums to visit and most of them are for free.
If the weather allows, go to Djurgården, which is a green area where you can stroll alongside a big, calm river that leads to the sea. It’s a lovely walk and you’ll see what the typical Swedish people do during the weekend. I would also suggest to take a bus or train out to Drottningholm, which is a beautiful garden next to the enormous palace where our royal family lives most of the time. You can eat Våfflor in the park, which is a special tradition served with jam and whipped cream.
If you are looking for some shopping, I would first recommend Nathalie Schuterman’s store located in Birgerjarlsgatan and then Stockholm Market on Riddargatan. If you want the best department store, then head to NK (Nordiska Kompaniet) in Hamngatan. You’ll find everything of interest for the whole family there.
I would also take the opportunity to use one of the bigger boats and travel to one of the many islands like Fjäderholmarna, Waxholm or something that fits you better or sounds interesting.
You’re an avid traveler, how do you pack, especially with your little son?
Certainly less then I used to! It’s hard enough to travel with the big bag to transport the pram in and all the other things that you need to keep handy when travelling with a baby/child. One extra luggage piece exclusively for Alexis is not possible; we therefore share the same suitcase most of the time. And that means I need to remove some of the shoes and stuff that I normally take quantities of! But I do tend to wear exactly what I wore before having kids, yet more ballerinas if I know that I am going to end up carrying him a lot. But my 7 cm Louboutins also still work perfectly.
My main concern these days is comfort. Before, I would more often allow myself to wear something that was not as comfortable just because it was stunning. Nowadays, I need the material, the cut, etc. to be nice and feel soft against my body. Alexis drools a lot, but dry cleaners and washing machines allow me to wear whatever anyhow.
I also tend to wear jeans with a cashmere cardigan/sweater during daytime, a good quality coat and some high heels or Chanel flats if the temperature allows me to. In addition, I use a pretty Chanel bag that I can wear across my body to free my hands and often have a lovely shawl. I like colours and good materials and collect accessories, which is the most fun part of getting dressed.
What’s your typical travel outfit?
The one I mentioned above. I wear more or less what I would wear everyday when I travel, but I make sure to have a warm cardigan or shawl for times when the air conditioning is a little too strong in the airplane.
Lastly, what tips can you give those traveling with young children?
Have patience! As a couple, try to be tolerant and help each other instead of starting to argue in a stressful situation. Alexis has already flown four times in seven months. He has sometimes been a dream kid and, other times, it was a nightmare when he just refused to sleep and cried all the time. Then, as parents, you need to be more understanding towards each other and kind. Just accept the situation and don’t mind what everyone else on the plane would think. We have all been kids and parents do their best when traveling with little ones. When flying, I always try to smile at parents with more difficult kids because I know that a little warm smile will help them keep calm instead of becoming stressed. Else, I bring toys, food and always make Alexis wear darker clothes when we fly so the food stains don’t show that much. And as soon as the child takes a nap, open a lovely, fresh magazine, lie back in the chair and have a cup of tea. Breathe!
I would like to thank Stina for this interview. I’ll definitely not miss out on her tips the next time I visit Stockholm.
Until my next post … take care!
* Pictures courtesy of Stina Auer