Scandi Inspiration for a Slow Summer
When in doubt, I always look to Scandinavia for inspiration. Interiors, fashion, design, idyllic road trips - my Instagram saves and Pinterest boards are filled with all things Nordic, inspiring me everyday. I haven't actually explored that much of the Nordic lands (Copenhagen, Malmo, Oslo and Iceland, so far) but I spend a disproportionate amount of time daydreaming about fantasy holidays and lakeside cabins. Back in November I shared the Scandinavian traditions that keep me cosy through the winter months (cosy! It's currently 27 degrees and cosy sounds like a dirty word!) so I thought I'd do the same for summer. So here are my plans and goals for the summer, with a little Nordic twist.
I'm a huge fan of leaping (ok, more like slowly descending) into open water when the weather is hot. So far this year I've swam in the sea and a tranquil pool in the woods, and I'm planning on heading to Britain's highest beach tomorrow evening for a refreshing way to cool off from this heatwave. I've been wild swimming in the sea, lakes and rivers for several years now, and find it so much more satisfying than floating around in an indoor pool. There's just something about submerging yourself in cold water on a hot day, surrounded by nature, that is very alluring. The Nordic folk are particularly good at this; Icelanders seeking out their nearest hot springs, Swedes diving into freshwater lakes or swimming in the archipelago, and Copenhagen locals even swimming in the city's harbour.
Eating al fresco
One thing that I always notice when I'm scrolling through my favourite Scandi feeds on Instagram is that everyone seems to enjoy beautifully styled outdoor meals. Picnics in fields, rustic al fresco dinner parties and blankets draped over jetties, legs swinging into lakes as you dine. It makes me want to gather a group of friends, spend hours in the kitchen, then create the ultimate dinner setting outside. I may not yet have experienced the perfectly styled outdoor meal of my dreams (although plans are in the pipeline!) but I have been eating my breakfast and tea outside almost every day. We've hosted pizza parties on the steps leading up to our front door, and sip wine sat on the patio. I swear every bite/sip tastes better outside.
Not specifically inspired by Scandinavians, besides the obvious point of spending as much time as possible outdoors, but I've recently taken to sitting in our garden with my laptop or notebook, and I'm feeling so much more inspired for it. There's just something about the fresh air that clears your head, sparks creativity and helps to relieve any creative blocks that you might be experiencing. Those living in the Nordic countries know how important it is to spend time outdoors, so I think they'd approve of stepping away from the kitchen table in favour of your front step or garden chair.
Nordic folk, especially those Norwegians with their friluftsliv, like to spend as much time outdoors as possible, especially during the summer months when the days are long. I totally get this, especially since our move away from the city. All I want to do is be outdoors and I'm enjoying the freedom of wandering into the woods and meadows behind my house whenever I feel the need for a little stroll. I'm especially loving my golden hour walks with the dog, discovering new paths and taking photographs along the way. Why wouldn't I head outdoors and walk when I'm surrounded by beautiful countryside? Even if you're based in a town or city, you can still take an evening stroll, however. Head to your nearest park, canal or woodland and enjoy a little fresh air.
Bringing the outside in
It's no secret that I love plants, and I've recently gone a bit crazy at the local garden centre buying plenty of new greenery for our new home. Plants just make a house feel more homely, and add a much needed splash of colour and texture to your rooms - not to mention the health benefits! Houseplants have now become a big trend all around the globe, but the Scandinavians have been doing this for years. They've always known the benefit of bringing the outdoors into your home - whether that's a freshly picked bunch of flowers in a vase on your dining table, a cheese plant adding interest to an unused corner, or a gaggle of herbs and chili plants growing on your window sill.
This one is accidental, as we've just moved into our new house and we're having to prioritise our purchases, but I'm actually learning to enjoy not having curtains or blinds in our home. Our two downstairs rooms have large windows at both ends of the room, meaning that the house is flooded by light all day long, and the views out of our front windows look like postcards. I can't get used to having such an incredible view and keep standing at the window or the front door gazing at how the light hits the hills or watching the sky change colour at sunset. Even if we had curtains, I wouldn't draw them. Yes, it's a bit annoying waking up with the dawn, but it's actually quite nice to wake up early when the weather is so glorious. Due to the lack of light for half the year, many Scandinavian homes shun curtains, using thin drapes or wooden shutters if they cover their windows at all. They make the most of the natural light that they get and utilise the views outside their windows, often framing beautiful landscapes. Try taking your curtains away in the downstairs rooms of your house (unless your house is on a busy street) and soak up the light.