Update: We are moving to Malmö!

My Facebook friend’s know and a few other people, so just in case you haven’t heard yet, I will be moving to Malmö in late July/ early August.

Tom has got a job teaching in nearby Lund, at Lund International school and as for myself & jobs, I have a few things up my sleeve 😉  Lund, btw is a stunning university town, home to one of Europe’s most prestigious of Uni’s, Lunds universitet. Only being roughly 10 minutes away from Malmö on the train, if you come visit Skåne, take some time to see Lund!

Jag kan inte vänta! (I can’t wait!)

I’m writing this morning, with news that the Brexit Bill put forward by PM Theresa May passed in The House of Lords last night, with no amendments to the original Bill; which doesn’t guarantee EU citizens rights living over here. It doesn’t guarantee for people who have set up their homes and families in the UK, who have paid their taxes. Instead, it will no doubt use EU citizens & their rights as bargaining chips when the negotiations start with the European Union and its 27 members. We will be effected by this, but It is better to try before the whole opportunity for young, working class people like myself to live & work within the EU fades into the ether.

The language isn’t much of a barrier, with Malmö being both in Sweden, where proficiency in English is impeccable, and it being a World city, I can get around with my English. However, this does not mean I’m not going to learn Swedish. Being interested in languages it’s a must. Having been learning the language on & off for years, now is the time to get my head down and learn it!

I have wanted to move to Norden for years and visiting Copenhagen/ Malmö 3 times in the last 12 months I had truly fallen in love with it! So before Brexit totally stops us, we are trying. We cannot do more than simply try.

rtx2b514 (1)

A reason I love Malmö is how multi-cultural it is! Supposedly the city is home to people from 170 countries of this world. Which is bloody fantastic! It is so important, in these times, seeing the rise of Rightwing populism and xenophobic rhetoric and attitudes, that we expose ourself to as many cultures as  we can. Hopefully then, people will humanise eachother which stops the main strategy of the current Right; to de-huminise and see people from different nationalities as ‘other’ and usually, therefore, lesser.

Being only across the bridge from Copenhagen (and a hell of a lot cheaper!) loads of infrastructure has crossed over. So, whilst Copenhagen is the top city for cyclists in the world, Malmö is also in the Top Ten.

Ever since the Öresundsbron/Øresundsbroen  (the setting for the Nordic Noir drama, The Bridge) opened in July, 2000, Malmö has benefitted from being Linked to it’s Danish sis. These days Malmö is a young, creative city, reportedly one of the most inventive cities in the world. So much is happening these days, so many startups! Like the Studio Malmö, or Media Evolution City.  Malmö even, recently hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013, following singer, Loreen taking the crown in Baku, Azerbaijan with her song ‘Euphoria’.

 

As a foodie, the city seems like heaven for me! There’s new places popping up all the time, providing great food/ drink. From the new gourmet/ artisan food market, Saluhall, Djäkne kaffe, a quality coffee shop & great place for fika, the HQ of one of the most innovative vegan brands in the world, Oatly to Wunderchef, a new innovative food delivery service, serving up home-cooked food.

Or for the restauranteur, there’s, Michelin starred, Bastard, to amazing concept canteen, Saltimporten. You can pretty much get any cuisine in the city, with it being so diverse. The shawarma you can get there, is one of the best I’ve ever tasted and as a Brit, thinking i’ll miss the unctuous cuisine of back home, well no fear, theres even a fish & chip shop in Malmö. I love it!

320d9bad51f3d5db3417e096c8de8663

And as a design lover, it’s simply amazing. Being only 30 mins from the Design Mecca that is Copenhagen, you are spoilt for choice in Malmö. There are plenty of design & interior shops, written about here. The city is home to Scandinavia’s tallest structure, The Turning Torso, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. There is also the Form Design Center, home to the famous and coveted Cocoa Ögon poster by Midcentury master, Olle Eksell. The city is home to my friend’s design brand, Emerybloom. Check them out if you’re looking for amazing prints for your interior! Malmö even has its own Moderna Museet, it’s like the Comparison between Malmö and Stockholm; Stockholm is bigger, Malmö is smaller, but both are as cool as eachother!

 

I cannot wait to move! If you haven’t noticed I’ve fallen completely in love with the city;

Jag älskar dig malmo! Ses Snart!

Advertisements

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.

img_8946

 

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.

img_8390

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.

IMG_8376.JPG

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: Emerybloom Christmas Shop

I’ve featured Emerybloom before in a previous post, but, in case you’re reading for the first time here’s a run down:

Emerybloom of Sweden are a small, online design company based in Malmö, Sweden comprising of Gareth Emery and Mysan Hedblom (hence the name). Established in 2014 they’ve gone from strength to strength over the past few years building on their original range of high quality geometric prints to include teas, totes, cards for different occasions and even beach towels! There are even a few Welsh inspired prints, a stylish nod to Gareth’s Swansea roots. Both Gareth and Mysan are Falmouth graduates who are artists in their own right but collaborate for Emerybloom.

The look of the work is stunning, that’s worth getting out there before saying anything else. On trend, crisp and sophisticated, the prints make a bold and elegant statement with their sharp lines and distinct use of colour and geometric patterns.

Their Christmas shop this year is full of new additions such as a new range of teas from Swedish brand Teministeriet in addition to new totes and a range of  Christmas cards.

Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 22.39.32.png

Their new collection of cards features their signature geometric style, whilst taking inspiration from typical seasonal Scandi symbols, whether from a simple handwritten ‘God Jul’ (Merry Christmas) or the Finnish (and pan-Scandinavian) himmeli Christmas ornament design.

Every year Emerybloom produce a limited run of a piece, the profits of which are donated to charity. This year their grey, fractal patterned Rudolph print sports the “God Jul” message at the bottom.

One of many things I love about the company is their attention to detail and the quality of the individual elements. To be fair, we are talking high-end execution here, but it’s nice to know that everything from the quality of the paper to the choice of environmentally friendly envelopes has been thought of.

Last year I styled their Rudolph print into the decor, which gives a sprinkle of traditional seasonal red whilst remaining stylish and paired-back.

IMG_4966.JPG

Seeing the himmeli cards and seeing as our Christmas décor is full of geometric, monochrome imagery (which definitely included himmeli) I had to get some. They came last week, I loved them so much I needed to have one framed – I’ve been waiting to show you guys how it looks, as I only picked it up on Saturday! It’s small, but bloody lush!

I’d recommend a nice long peruse their prints, bespoke prints and Christmas shop. If you want some in time for christmas then order by December 10th! If you’re looking for something new to base a look around, or perhaps looking for a smart focal point for a room then perhaps Emerybloom has something for you.

https://www.emerybloom.com

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-22-39-55

Design & Food: Our trip to Copenhagen part III (ii)

Late afternoon-ish we went back out for the next part of the journey, we were getting the train to Malmö to meet Tom’s childhood friend and his wife.

Buying a ticket to Malmö is fuss free and costs around twenty quid return.  We got on the very clean train (cleaner than anything back in the UK) and sat opposite each other looking at the window. Both of us humming the tune of Hollow Talk by Choir of Young Believers, the theme of the Scandi noir drama The Bridge/Broen/Bron with a smirk on our faces. The train itself doesn’t take long to get to the other side. The scenery of the sound was great don’t get me wrong, but I assume you can appreciate the spectacle a bit more if you cross with a car.

In a blink and we were at Malmö Central Station. When we stepped off the train there was a bit of a police or polis presence and, being the nerds that we are, were half expecting Saga Norén to be around the corner! We walked through the city, passing the Elite Hotel Savoy Malmö, a grand and exquisite 19th century building, you could imagine being in a Wes Anderson film.

First on the list was to change some money into Swedish Krona, which was quite easy as there was a Bureau de Change  around the corner. Expecting to change some of the Danish currency, weirdly it was a better deal changing from our GBP, so we did just that. Now we were ready to explore this amazing city.

We continued to the main square onto the stylish Södergatan where the streets are lined with chic shops and cafés. Shopping in Malmö has some of the familiarities of nearby Copenhagen, like Tiger (although over here its named TGR) but Malmö has its own range of Swedish shops that are simple and stylish and filled with things (sadly for me 😉 ) that are appealing to bring back home. Bolia for instance, is full of affordable Scandinavian design. Just walking into my favourite shop Granit is like a monochrome explosion. Everything in glass, concrete and black & white. I just had to stock up on glass bottles, in medicine bottle brown – mimicking ridiculously pricey Aesop products. To the left of Granit is Lagerhaus, like Granit- only cheaper. YAY!

Unlike Copenhagen, Malmö also has a Marimekko store and a MUJI – one of my favourite stores back home – well, when I visit London. We strolled onto Skomakaregatan in the Old Town, filled with small boutiques, artisan bakers and yet more cafés. Intrigued by a quirky little music shop, Folk å Rock. We went inside and I just got lost in the mountains of vinyl they stocked. Whilst Tom found his happy place, sipping a hot latte in the coffeeshop, downstairs.

 

IMG_4485.jpg

As I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping until the sun went down I sadly didn’t get to see one of Malmö’s most famous sights (and as an architecture fan, I’m kicking myself!). Over on Lilla Varvsgatan is the Turning Torso by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It is the tallest building of the Nordic countries at 190m. The building (as I briefly saw when I got off the train, and since on Google)  literally twists, its sleek silhouette looking majestic in the sky. Thankfully, I will be able to actually see the building when we return (in February).

It was at this point when Tom’s school friend, Gareth came to meet us. He is one half, along with his wife, of the Swedish/Welsh design duo EmeryBloom. After checking a few more vintage records we all went out to the now chilly, dark streets. After introductions we popped in an out of the design stores in The Old Town we met up with Gareth’s wife, the beautiful and talented photographer Mysan Hedblom. Deciding where to escape from the night chill, we initially thought of a new Mexican restaurant. When we found out they were full, it was off back to theirs, with a stop on the way to a pizza joint, of course 😉

Well, myself and Tom weren’t. Pizza in this place was 200 SEK- £20 :/ So on Gareth’s recommendation we went to the Falafel house round the corner. For a tenner each we picked up a huge Lebanese falafel wrap filled with salad, hummus and pickles, a drink and some baklava. With the smell wafting up from the falafel, I just couldn’t wait to eat it.

We stepped into the lobby of an unassuming 60s office block, complete with marble effect floors and stained wooden panel. From the lift we emerged on the roof –  Yes, their house was on the bloody roof. Along with its neighbours it was an amazing glass box, with sharp angles looking out onto a communal garden space. Basically the stuff I read about in Deezeen. Inside, the walls were filled with their own pieces of art. Great photography by Mysan with graphic design by Gareth. This was the Scandinavian interior I’m trying to recreate back home in a Swansea semi-detached. We got the candles on and wine out and tucked in. The falafel was so good, with the sharp bite coming from the pickles. We finished the evening with the baklava, some tea from Well Tea co and a heap of Ylvis videos on Youtube.

Soon, it was time to get the train back to Denmark. I’m glad that the Mexican restaurant was full, as we had a better evening over theirs.

Tack så mycket both!

Design: Christmas top 10

With Christmas around the corner it’s important that you get your place primed and ready for the holiday. Often, people fall victim to the surplus of kitsch that fills the high street and overload their interiors with seasonal items that leave a lot to be desired.

(Not saying that we all can’t do with a bit of kitsch, sometimes 😉 )

Here is my top 10 pieces of design that will make your interior pop this Christmas:

1. Kubus by Lassen

kubus4_black.jpg

Geometric, simple and timeless, this piece by architect Mogens Lassen was designed in 1962, for his colleagues and family, now available for all. Its sharp lines have made it the design classic that it is today. It would be great to use as a centrepiece at the Christmas dinner, or as an advent candle. It’s still produced in Denmark. Available here 

 2. Kay Bojesen Santa

01

A bit of fun! Designed by Kay Bojesen in the 1940s this little figure in solid beech will bring joy to every festive period with his little sack and his walking stick. He is sure to be a treasured family heirloom for generations to come.  Available here.

3. Advent candle by Normann Copenhagen

330390_Christmas_Candle_2015_1

Nothing says a Danish Christmas, or ‘Jul’ like an advent candle. Normann have brought the Scandinavian tradition right into the 21st century with their advent candle. Its use of the trademark  Scandinavian monochrome palate and minimalism that Nordic design is famous for. Designed by Anne Lehmann, this years candle features the numbers in rows and the ’24’ in an enlarged font on the bottom, so that you can see how many days are left till Christmas from every angle. Available here (but sold out from Normann Copenhagen’s website)

4. Rudolph print by Emerybloom

emerybloom_rudolph_70x100cm_2b0cf39f-8e0f-4cc0-bb33-8b346a46f6a9_2048x2048

This Christmas you can have a great, limited edition piece of design and help those in need too!

With this print  (a limited edition of 50)  from the Welsh/Swedish duo Emerybloom 100% of the profit made will be donated to charities helping refugee children this Christmas.

Order before 12th December from here, to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas!

5.  Moomin Hibernation mug by Arabia Finland

moominmug03llittlemyredfront

With a new Moomin mug out every winter, it would make the perfect gift idea. This collectable mug using the form of the Kartio mug, a design classic from Finnish Designer Kaj Franck, displays the original drawings by Tove Jansson at their best. Plus it’s adorable! Available here.

6. Sarjaton glasses by Iittala

b-iittala-951181

These crystal glasses, designed by Finnish designers Harri Koskinnen and Aleksi Koukka are a part of Iittala’s Sarjaton collection. Evoking elements from Finnish traditional crafts. Sarjaton, meaning ‘without series’ brought six designers from different fields together for this collection. The shapely curves of the glass, make it a pleasure to hold and the pattern on the glass reminds me of the Finnish forests – very apt for the festive period! Available here.

7. Angel mobile by  Flensted mobiles

angelmobile_1

The name Flensted is synonymous with great quality. Based on the Danish island of Funen, this company has been making mobiles since 1953.  This mobile is a great example of Scandinavian minimalism, combining a simple, monochrome silhouette with a traditional seasonal image, 6 angels playing their instruments.  I couldn’t believe it last year, when I managed to find this in my local charity shop for 64p! Available here.

8. Skandinavisk Christmas by Skandinavisk

MINI_CHRISTMAS_webshop_1024x1024

This candle set by the Anglo-Scandinavian brand, Skandinavisk combines their SKOG, SNÖ & JUL scented candles into a lovely festive triptych. Perfect if, like me,  you can’t decide which candle is your favourite- so have three! Available here.

9. Felt classic slipper by Pia Wallén

pia_wallen_slipper_grey_2.jpg

Designed in 1992, this unisex  wool slipper was inspired by the use of wool linings in boots across Scandinavia, to combat the bitter and cold winters. These slippers are a perfect minimalist addition to your wardrobe and just imagine wearing these keeping your feet toasty and warm on Christmas morning! Available here.

10. Cranberry & Frankincense large soy candle by Eastwick

east_wick_15..jpg

The London based brand, Eastwick  have brought a new addition to their premium range of soy candles. A mix of sweet cranberry and warm frankincense, along with notes of bergamot, orange and a touch of spiced apple, this candle is sure to get everyone in festive spirit. Limited edition, only available through winter. Available here.