Food & Design: How to do Malmö on a budget

 

Everyone says Sweden is expensive. I knew it was going to be expensive. In the back of my mind I brushed it off, “Yeah, yeah – I know, I know!” After all, I’d been there on holiday, I’d seen the prices in supermarkets, I knew what I was talking about. That is, until I actually moved here and began living with the reality of it being as expensive as it is. 30% tax on your wage plus nothing costs less than a pound in supermarkets. The bargains aren’t as tempting, the staples aren’t as cheap and you’re surprised on a daily basis by the things you’d assume would be a similar price are actually three times the price!

This was my reality for the first week of living here while my partner and I found our feet. Everything we did was tinged with a sense of “can we really afford to keep up our old eating habits long term?” So much so that the both of us started losing sleep over it. So far, our Swedish adventure wasn’t working out the way we expected it to. After a week or so we knew that things would have to change but we weren’t prepared to totally give up on quality. Having lived on a budget before I knew we had to be canny about what we bought, where we bought it and when we bought it to make our SEK stretch further.

Two months on and here we are, making it work in Malmö! I’ve gathered some of the best tips and hints for basic survival, but also ways of maintaining those treats that keep you sane. Living here can work long term if you’re on a budget and a bit sneaky!  Here are some of the solid gold tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the past few months:

 

Food and Drink

Checking your local ICA Nära from 7-8pm for cheap sourdough, fikabröd & rolls should become part of your weekly (if not nightly) routine. Conveniently, ours is just around the corner but chances are wherever you’re living in Malmö you’ll be close to one too. You can pick up sourdough for 12kr, big baguettes for 5kr & rolls & pastries for 3kr a piece if you catch them at the right time.

Livs (grocery) stores are the way to go in Malmö. Cheap, good quality produce, good variety & they reduce their prices in the evening around about the same time as ICA. I’ve often got big bags of passionfruit, apricots & strawberries for 10kr & big sacks of potatoes for 25kr. Picking up a “ten bag” of fruit and veg has become a staple of our evenings!

Möllan market is like the beating heart of the city when it comes to food. With so much competition in the area you can be sure that prices are always as low as they can be. If you catch them just before closing you may end up picking up some mega bargains, but be warned you’ll have to compete with other people to get the best stuff!

 

 

If you’re looking for snacks in Malmö then you’re also in luck. Cheap falafel can be found practically on every street corner, but the cheapest storfalafel I’ve found is for 25kr at Chaplin Grill on Bodekullsgatan and Värnhem. Babylon Grill near Folkets Park also offer a great range of Vegan alternatives. There’s a lot of competition here too so you won’t be out of pocket wherever you go.

If you know where to go you can always get a cheeky gratis coffee when you’re out and about in Malmö. How about some free organic coffee, tea & hot chocolate at the design shop Bolia, with a free chocolate accompaniment? So you can have a cappuccino whilst you ‘windowshop’ all of the lovely interior design pieces. Think of this as flicking through a real life catalogue over a nice cuppa!

IKEA Malmö (like other IKEAs) offer free coffee & tea on weekdays for IKEA FAMILY card owners. Even in the most unlikely places you can get a cheap coffee a free påtar (second cup), like at the Form Design Center in the middle of town. Enjoy the stunning examples of cutting edge or classic Scandinavian design (for free) AND not feel guilty about it!

 

 

Out and about.

The JOJO (pronounced yoyo) SOMMER KORT is the best way of getting out and about in the summer. It’s only 640kr (£62 ish) and is available from June 15th to August 15th. It will take you all over of Skåne, working on busses & trains, so you can visit the beautiful features & quaint little towns of the whole Skåne region. Public transport in general is very good and the prices can be flexible. You’re encouraged to use the regular Jojo Kort or your phone with 10% discounts and the ability to pick and choose where you go (why pay for all of the city when you only go to half of it?).

Malmö city is ideally designed for biking. Picking up a second hand bike on Blocket is pretty straightforward but biking is always available for the whole year for 250kr, around (£25!) with Malmö City Bike. You just have to sign up to the service. You get the bike for an hour before having to put it in one of the many docking stations dotted around the city at key locations, where you can simply pick up another if you need to. Nothing in Malmö is more than an hour’s cycle ride away. They even have a handy app to show you where your nearest docking station is in realtime, showing you how many stations are free and ready to use.

 

 

Malmö is a hive of activity, especially in the summer when it seems there’s a festival or event every other week. Malmöfestivalen is a week long festival of culture, food, music and entertainment that sprawls across the city offering free performances from some big name Swedish acts.

In addition to that there are regularly free shows & events at Folkets Park where you can see a wide variety of things in a small area. The park draws together people of all ages as there isn’t a square inch of it not buzzing with something going on. There are plenty of free art exhibitions at Malmö Konsthall, Form Design Center & Moderna Museet Malmö. If art is your thing then you’ll find the quality and variety is high.

There’s also Malmö Gallerinatt & Malmö Art Walk, which happened on the eve of September 30th. They are events in which open spaces around Malmö from 6pm till 12am to showcase the city’s galleries and up-coming artists and designers. That night the city is overflowing with great exhibitions, talks and projects to become a part of; FOR FREE!

 

Shopping

Loppis hunting is a big thing and a great way to pick up some bargains. Literally translated as “flea”, loppis stores are the equivalent of second hand and charity shops. This being Sweden you can pick up some big design names like Höganäs, Iittala, Stelton and many more. Emmaus near Triangeln is like a second hand department store with a huge range of men’s, women’s and children’s wear, not to mention household items and books. You can also visit Humana second hand clothes shops. Loppis Lounge on Djaknegatan also offers free black coffee and biscuits for its customers. So while you’re on the hunt for bargains, perusing the shelves for some Scandinavian design gems, you can rest assured you’re not bleeding cash as you go.

 

 

Getting stuff done.

Need to do some DIY? Can’t afford to just drop 500SEK on a drill? Then ToolPool is the place for you. Situated in a handyman shop on Störa NyGatan, they offer a service where you sign up and are allowed to take any of their power tools/DIY equipment for 24hrs, free. It’s a great way of getting things done cheaply and is a perfectly Swedish solution to a potentially expensive problem.

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Malmö is a hotbed of startups and small companies eager to make money and get recognised. That means there’s plenty of talent and competition out there, but it’s great for getting the ball rolling with meeting people, creating new business or job searching, which can otherwise be a daunting prospect.

Sign up to Creative Mornings: Malmö, for free events. They are great places to network and offer free coffee. Minc Malmö StartupLabs offer the possibility of a free-of-charge workspace, with wifi & coffee included for up to 6 months. Even though the tickets for ‘The Conference’ business networking event are expensive, there are many side events, talks and workshops for free. Also, Boxspace Malmö, offer a quick and easy sign-up to their free day-pass; including wifi & coffee.

I hope my little guide has helped any budding travellers or people wanting to move to this great city!

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Food: Vegan Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød, (lit. butter and bread), or open faced sandwiches, are an iconically Danish dish, but much of their popularity is due to a recent renaissance thanks to Adam Aaman’s Deli and Takeaway. Before that, their heyday was during the 19th century when they were eaten in Copenhagen restaurants by men playing cards. These days they’ve become an art form in themselves, each sandwich carefully constructed like ‘Nordic sushi’.

Using my recipe for Vegan gravlax I decided to come up with some classic combos. Smørrebrød needs good bread base so I bought a seeded rye rugbrød from Brød in Cardiff. The smør (butter) element is just as important to the dish as the bread, so make sure you layer each slice with a generous spread of your favourite butter, Vegan in my case. Spread liberally, In Denmark they say you should ‘spread corner to corner’.

Here are three classic varieties.

For the laks you’ll need:

  • 4 slices of Vegan gravlax,
  • Sprig of dill
  • 4 slices of cucumber salad,
    • Half a cucumber, sliced finely
    • 4tbsp sugar
    • 4tbsp white wine vinegar
    • some mustard seeds; some black peppercorns
    • Handful of fresh dill, chopped finely
    • a few bay leaves and a splash of water.

To make the cucumber salad simply combine the ingredients in a small bowl and leave to do their thing for an hour or two at least. It’s best to leave them for longer so the cucumber has time to soften a bit. I make mine up and leave them in the fridge as they last for ages.

To assemble, simply combine artfully & garnish with a sprig of dill 😀

For the kartoffel, you’ll need:

  • 3 medium new potatoes, boiled, cooled and sliced into coins,
  • A dollop of vegan cream cheese,
  • A spoonful of seaweed caviar (available from IKEA),
  • Sprinkle of crispy onions,

For the cream cheese I used Oatly’s PåMackan that I brought back from my trip to Malmö. Sadly it’s a Scandi exclusive for the time being but any Vegan cream cheese would work. I personally like the one from Bute Island Foods.

Again, to assemble, simply layer artfully with the potatoes at the bottom.

For the Levepostej og rødbeder, you’ll need:

  • 2tbs of Vegan leverpostej (see below),
  • 3 pieces of crinkle cut pickled beetroot,
  • 1tbs of chopped parsley,
  • 3 rings of lingonberry pickled onions:
    • 1 red onion, sliced thinly on a mandolin,
    • 1tbs lingonberry cider vinegar (IKEA),
    • 1tbs lingonberry syrup (IKEA),
    • A splash of water,

Again, the pickled onions benefit from having been made in advance, but an hour or two will do. As for the leverpostej (liver pate), this was a bit harder to replicate. It’s a classic Danish ingredient but for a Vegan it requires a degree of creativity! I used the mushroom pate from Suma, which is very rich and delivers that meaty body that you need. To give it the classic pink hue I simply mixed in some pickled beet juice! Hey presto – a convincing alternative is born.

Enjoy your smørrebrød with a shot of cold snaps – oh, and don’t forget to use cutlery! (It’s a faux pas to pick them up with your hands in Denmark :P)

SKÅL!

Design: Styling with Pantone’s Color of the year 2017

This year’s ‘Pantone Color Of The Year’ is Greenery, a bright yellow-green shade that evokes nature, bright sunny walks and the shiny dew on morning grass.  As I own many succulents & plants Greenery really speaks to me for styling interiors.

With it being quite a bold, strong colour I believe you could put it to use with furniture, but they would have to be statement pieces and have a neutral background, for them to sing.

Pieces like the MADE.COM Kubrick armchair

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or the IKEA STOCKHOLM 3 seat sofa could work, if you’re wanting to create a big statement and splash out.

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I believe the strength of  this shade lies in styling it as accessories into your interior. These subtle yet bold ANVÄNDBAR vases from IKEA are just enough of the colour to emphasise the plants going in them and brings the outside in.anva%cc%88ndbar-vase-for-cuttings-set-of-3-green__0410111_pe573151_s4

With just a few plants, and even some accessories you can give some botanical life into your home, turning it into an urban jungle. Taking tips from the Urban Jungle Bloggers, I’ve styled my windowsill with these principals. I think the outcome is quite effective!

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I’ve used a mixture of my own plants & succulents with a few faux cacti in the form of the SERAX large vase by Marie Michielssen, SJÄLSLIGT set of ornaments by IKEA and some cacti forms by Flying Tiger Copenhagen. I’ve also used a variety of pots from the IKEA KARDEMUMMA, Glass bubble bowl vases, to a Scheurich pot I got at a charity shop for 50p.

There is a lot of scope to have with this colour, and it gives chance for people to bring more plants into their home, which I’m all game for.

Have fun and style Greenery into your interior!

Food: Gulrødspølse

Inspired by my many trips to Denmark, and their national fast food the rødpølse, I’ve made my own vegan version, which is tasty AF and a lot cheaper than sourcing the Danish hotdogs! You’ll often see a pølsevogn (or hotdog cart) on most street corners in Copenhagen!

The ristet hotdog is a rødpølse with many toppings. They are quite an experience to eat, trying to not drop it all on the floor is like a national challenge. Good luck, but it’s worth the challenge!

The recipe is similar to my Currywurst one, so feel free to make double the amount for two different Northern European dirty favourites!

Once again, I highly recommend prepping the carrots in advance, they’re dead simple to prepare but it makes all the difference when they’ve had time to marinate.

You’ll need:

  • Two medium sized carrots (per person)
  • 1tbs Smoked paprika,
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard,
  • 1-2 drops of liquid smoke,
  • 1tbs of cider vinegar,
  • 1tbs of light soy sauce,
  • 1tsp Garlic infused oil
  • 10ml water

Remoulade:

  • 3tbs vegan mayo,
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder,
  • 1 small gherkin, chopped,
  • handful of parsley, chopped,
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard,
  • 1tsp sugar,
  • 1tbs finely chopped onion
  • 2 chopped capers

To serve:

  • Ketchup (the Danes have a special hotdog ketchup, which I got from Scandi Kitchen but regular ketchup will also work)
  • Mustard
  • Handful of crispy fried onions
  • 1 Sandwich gherkin or 3-4 gherkin slices
  • 1tbs of chopped onion

Begin by topping and tailing the carrots and “carving” to make rounded ends, a bit like a wurst or hotdog style sausage. Peel the carrots and simmer in salted water on a medium heat until soft. Don’t over boil because they’ll fall apart and be of no use to anyone! You want the knife to slide through but not disintegrate when you lift them. When they’re done leave them to dry out and cool.

When they’re dry put them in a freezer bag or container to marinate with the paprika, cider vinegar, oil,  liquid smoke, mustard and soy sauce. Leave them to soak up the flavours for 3-4 hours or best, overnight. They’ll keep for a few days in the fridge if you’re making them well in advance.

Remoulade to the Danes is what brown sauce is to Brits or fish sauce is to the Thai, to make this curry infused mayonnaise sauce is rather easy. Simply, add all the ingredients and mix into a creamy, piquant sauce. Once mixed, Set aside.

To cook the hotdogs, simply take them out of the marinade and brown them in a pan, remembering to turn them. Once brown on all sides, they’re ready to load up!

Home your dog in a hotdog bun and top it with all of the toppings. Start with the ketchup, mustard and remoulade. Then the gherkins and the onions.

Serve with some fries or dill potatoes. Traditionally the Danes pair it with chocolate milk (even grown ups!) or a cold bottle of Danish beer like Tuborg.

Velbekommen!

 

Also- If you are in Copenhagen, the D.Ø.P pølsevogn do a cracking vegan hotdog!

 

Drink: Salmiakki black Martini

After discovering the amazingness that is the FRUGO ‘Ultra Black’ , Polish juice drink, in the world foods isle at my local Tesco I was inspired to make this tasty lil’ drink . With the tasty flavours of grape, dragonfruit and chokeberry, it perfectly compliments the flavours of Nordic salty liquorice. Which had me thinking, I could concoct a cocktail using the Finnish Salmiakki Koskenkorva that I brought back from holiday.

You’ll need:

  • 2 Shots of Salmiakki Koskenkorva (if you cant find it, black Sambucca can be used)
  • 1 Shot of  Dry Vermouth
  • 10ml FRUGO ‘Ultra Black’
  • Dash of blueberry syrup (I got mine from IKEA)
  • Ice

Combine all into a cocktail shaker and shake until all have thoroughly mixed. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a handful of frozen blueberries.

 

Perfect for those classy eternal Goths out there (like myself 😉 ) or those who love liquorice!

 

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FRUGO ‘Ultra Black’

 

 

 

Design: Styling Christmas

Foregoing the British festive decorative tradition of “more is more” in favour of the Scandinavian monochrome look, our Christmases might look tame in comparison with others. To others they may look sparse, cold or even un-Christmassy. But where an abundance of light and colour can overload the senses, a more selective approach to decorating at Christmas can yield equally cosy results. Here’s a quick look at how I’ve styled our home for Christmas.

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone reading this that Scandinavia is the primary source of my inspiration for the interior of my home: full stop. Monochrome interiors, stark whites, shades of grey and coal black touches here and there typify the genre of interior design. You’d think an abundance of black, white and grey would create a cold environment, but you’ve got to remember that this design ethos comes from cultures who are used to the cold and the darkness of winter. They even have words for cosiness that transcend what we take for granted in its meaning. In fact entire books have been written on the subject of hygge and mys that they’ve passed into the subconscious of coffee table discussion.

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There is no more hyggelig a time of year than Christmas and an  absence of abundant colour does not mean an absence of warmth. This year in fact I decided to incorporate the teal of our Made.com Jonah sofa and armchair (last year I had them temporarily upholstered in black for the Christmas period). Colour is unavoidable – there’s the inevitable green of whatever tree or greenery you’re introducing, but then there are the inevitable colours of your furniture. It’s all about arranging what you have to create the mood or atmosphere that you want.

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On the coffee table I decided to create a winter forest of candles with Kähler hammershøi candle holders, my white tree from Flying Tiger, the tree candles I got from Denmark last October, the numerous tea light holders I got from H&M home and the Ittala Kivi. Dotted among the “trees” is a little plywood Moomin from Lovi, a stag and some DIY nisse I picked up from Søstrene Grene. The composition is designed to echo the “forest” of Ittala Festivo candle holders sitting resplendent on the sideboard. When the whole thing is lit the effect is extremely hyggelig.

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Our tree is a simple five footer decorated with home-made Himmeli made from black and white paper straws, the idea for these came from Nalle’s house. We’ve also made baubles from black and white patterns printed on card and formed into shape with wire (also from Nalle’s house). A single set of 6 wooden baubles break up the pattern white one set of 100 lights bring light to the tree. Sitting above the tree is our silver star decoration that we got from Home Bargains (of all places!). Clearly intended as a free hanging decoration, the star makes a perfect tree topper to complete the look.

The trick when styling monochrome is to balance heavy and light tones. The easiest way of doing this is by combining tea lights such as glass votives like the Snowballs from Kosta Boda, with a repeated thematic focal point like the himmeli decorations on the tree, which then tie in with the geometric artwork on the walls like the print from Emerybloom, the Kubus candle holder or the Kähler Omaggio vase in the corner. Humour can be used tastefully throughout the arrangement too. As I mentioned in a previous article, the santa hat for the Kay Bojesen monkey was an absolute must while the presence of the white Hoptimist by designer Gustav Ehrenreich gives a breath of life to the stark colour palette. From the opposite side of the room from the tree, the piercing eyes of our Olle Eksell print gaze out across the room, while in the corner sits the Normann Copenhagen tray table, which I’ve mentioned about styling here.

The monochrome shades of the pillows on the sofa and armchair sit beautifully against the teal. I’ve used the combination of a simple grey throw and plain grey cushions from IKEA’s GURLI range, a cushion that we recently picked up from Copenhagen (only 60 Kr!) and my Fine Little Day Gran cushion which keys in with the other patterns, holding the arrangement together. You’ll often find when styling a space that one or two pieces go on to influence a look for a space. The armchair sports a cute mountain cushion from Lagerhaus and the cross cushion from Zana Products.

Monochrome doesn’t have to be oppressive or joyless. In fact I would strongly argue that it’s a smart and surprisingly dynamic avenue to pursue precisely because it runs counter to common consensus. The only drawback is that currently the UK doesn’t really offer much in the way of readily available monochrome ornaments or decorative pieces. Over here black is always paired with gold and silver with white and there the creativity ends. As such, much of my collection has been sourced from abroad. I hope you’ve found some form of inspiration to try something new next year. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and regularly begin sourcing pieces in advance. Be daring, take the plunge and go monochrome.

 

Design: Top 10 for Christmas 2016

 

This is my pick of design pieces and gift ideas that will give your interior some definite Scandi style this Christmas!

 

1.Kay Bojesen santa hat for small monkey

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Fun & beautifully designed, this would make an awesome gift for a design lover! Made from solid hand-painted beech, this little santa hat is perfect for getting your Kay Bojesen monkey (and other wooden animals!) into the festive mood!

Available here.

2. Moomin Winter 2016 mug by Arabia Finland

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This years mug features more scenes from Tove Jansson’s Moominland Midwinter (1957) and feature Hemulen, Sorry-oo, Moomin and the Snowhorse. It’s a fab gift for any Moomin lover, or Scandiphile and would look perfect, filled with hot cocoa to heat up in this cold period!

Available here.

3. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Sanna Annukka

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One of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tales and some of the source inspiration of Disney’s Frozen, this chilly tale is a perfect Christmas read, made even better by the new illustrations by Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Known for her collaborations for Marimekko, this is Annukka’s second HCA book, with her illustarted version of The Fir Tree, out 2012. The art is stunning and the deep blue cloth binding really gives you the chilly winter vibe, its simply amazing!

Available here.

4. IKEA VINTER 2016 decorations

 

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Usually the UK (in my opinion) lags behind in the Christmas decoration game, compared to Scandinavia, where you can get Traditional busy, red decorations and also sleek monochrome ones too. well, welldone IKEA for bringing these chic, paired back decs to GB!

-I love the origami styling that would look perfect with the Issey Miyake x Iittala collection!

Available here/ in store.

5.Moomin advent calendar

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This Advent calendar has 24 little Moomin figurines by Finnish company Martinex. I’m in love with it and I wish I had got one!!

Available here.

6.Sarah Edmonds Sami pattern tote

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Sarah is an illustrator based in Worthing and has illustrated for Humble by Nature, the books A Dylan Odyssey & Coming to England, Roald’s Cardiff map for Roald 100, maps for Tranås and exhibited in Fika, a Swedish eatery in shoreditch, London. She extensively travelled the Nordic countries, and was inspired from her travels through Lapland and Sapmi to create this tote. The zig-zag patterns come from Sami textiles and would look great stuffed full of books!

Available here.

7. IKEA STRÅLA LED candle bridge

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Usually I’m not the biggest fan of candle bridges, but once again IKEA are knocking it out of the park with this! The STRÅLA candle bridge looks sleek and very modernist with its stylish black powder-coated steel curves. It could perfectly suit a modern home and be a stand-out piece in a more Traditional home.

Available here / in store

8. Origami-Est topper

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Available here.

Origami-Est are a small company based in Kent, that make folded paper ornaments, lightshades and books/stationary. At least 10% of the proceeds are donated to Stop the Traffik, a charity helping the victims of traffiking, which is cool AF!

As well as all of that, Esther has released a Christmas collection of cards, ornaments and this tree topper. A Simple folded paper star, with a choice of coloured stars and ribbons, it is sure to look great on top of the tree, whether it be real or artificial!

9.Let’s Hygge print by Gillian Gamble

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Gillian Gamble is a talented artist/ illustrator based in County Durham, but grew up in Dundee, Scotland. Gillan nods to her home city in her prints of Dundee marmalade jars. She has illustrated two books The Listening Stone and I Love St Andrews, and has a variety of well executed art styles. Seen as ‘hygge’ one of 2016’s buzzwords, she’s decided to do a little print of a hyggelig scene. Simple & cute, it perfectly captures what hygge is about!

Perfect for cosying up the house in cold winter, or as a gift for the person you’d like to hygge with!

Available here

10.Young Double Dolls

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Handmade dolls from the British company, Young Double. Cute & stylish monochrome buddies, they are perfect to add a touch of stylish quick to your interior or a Perfect gift for some chic children. With 4 different screen printed characters to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect companion with these!

 

Available here.