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Happy New Year / Skiing In Åre


Happy new year! I hope you had a relaxing time over the holidays! I am finally back at my desk and feeling soooo slow (third coffee slow!) - which I guess is a good sign as it's meant I really managed to switch off over these past few weeks! But the good news is, I've got some really inspiring Scandi home tours and design news to share with you this week!

But before I launch into my usual Scandi design flow, I'd love to share a few pictures I snapped with my phone from beautiful Åre - I was so mesmerised by our visit and hope you might feel inspired to visit this incredible part of the world one day!

We usually head North for new year (what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to the cold and dark!) - and this time, we decided to pay our first visit to the Swedish ski resort of Åre. Known for its downhill and cross-country skiing, the resort is located in Jämtland county which is around half way up Sweden and 250 km south of the Arctic Circle. 

They say fortune favours the brave - and I can say it was pretty chilly up there (the coldest day was minus 9 degrees celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit) without the wind chill factor - although friends have told me they've weathered minus 30 (-22 Fahrenheit) from the top. The days were also short (sunrise at 8.45 am and sunset at 2.30pm). But the pay off was a dawn light that cast a magical spell over the frozen fells and valleys.

Jämtland county is best known for it's moose, but there are a great many other animals who roam the frozen fells. For example, Northern Jämtland has the most densely populated brown bear habitat in the world (mercifully in hibernation right now!), and other wildlife such as lynx, wolverines, arctic foxes and golden eagles frequently roam the area. Although we didn't spot some of these more rare species - we did share the fells with a magnificent herd of reindeer! 


If you're an avid skier - or simply love to explore Scandinavia - I can highly recommend this stunning ski resort! Wrap up warm, stop for plenty of hot chocolates and stay somewhere with a roaring fire and wood burning sauna and you'll be just fine!

Could you imagine skiing here? If so, you can find more info about it here. I haven't really thought too much about it, but would it be interesting for me to share a complete guide to this ski resort - or perhaps all ski resorts in Scandinavia? 

Have you ever visited somewhere that you've felt is quite extreme with incredible wilderness? If so, I'd love to hear about it! 

Right folks, that's that out of my system! I am so looking forward to cracking on with some beautiful Scandinavian design inspiration tomorrow. It's great to be back! 

Niki

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City Guide: 20 Things to Enjoy In Malmö In Wintertime


 In paid partnership with @malmötown. All words, pictures and recommendations are my own. 

I moved to Malmö, southern Sweden in 2004 and I'm so proud to call this city my home. Many choose to visit in spring and summer when the days are long and the weather is mild - but actually, Malmö makes a great weekend getaway in wintertime too! Think cosy cafes and restaurants, 'mysig' (cosy) Christmas markets, blowing out the cobwebs with a blustery walk along the city beach and warming the cockles in a sauna. Here are 20 of my favourite things to do in Malmö in wintertime:



1. Enjoy a steaming glögg (spiced mulled wine) or hot chocolate surrounded by sheepskins and blankets on picturesque square Lilla torg.





2. Visit one of the Christmas markets for arts and crafts, local Swedish delicacies and winter warmers (mid November - December)! 


3. Take in the pretty Christmas lights on Lilla torg and Gustav Adolfs torg (November - January)! 

4. Celebrate Lucia on 13th December - Experience one of the many candlelit Lucia processions in Malmö - it's one of the most important events in the Swedish calendar and centred around 'Lucia' the bearer of light in the winter darkness. 

5. Stroll around some of the city's residential areas by night - including Gamla Staden and Västra Hamnen and feel inspired by the 'Adventsljustake' (advent candles) and paper star lanterns that light up the windows (November - January). 

6. Blow away the cobwebs with a walk along Ribersborgsstranden (the city beach) for amazing views of the Öresund Bridge (famous from the TV series 'The bridge'). Some years the sea freezes over come January and February, it's a sight to behold! 

7. Enjoy a sauna and a dip in the sea at Ribbersborg Kallbadhus (peeping into the left of the picture above)  - no bathers required! Sea frozen over? No problem, they'll cut a hole in the ice for you!



8. Ice-skate on the lakes at Ribbersborg. 

Note: always consult the local authority website to check the ice is safe to enter and always carry the necessary safety equipment. 

9. Or glide around one of the free ice rinks at Vinterdröm (winter dream) in Folkets Park (ice-skates available to hire), before tucking into a warm drink and pizza at local boho favourite Far I Hatten

10. Visit one of the many city museums and art galleries including Malmö museer, Moderna Museet, Form Design Center and Malmö Konsthall

11. Sample 'surströmming' (fermented herring) - a pungent Swedish delicacy, and other 'delights' at the Disgusting Food Museum






12. Shop for practical yet stylish winter clothing such as thermals and fur-lined boots as well as sports and outdoor gear at Naturkompaniet, Peak PerformanceStadium and XXL - or pick-up traditional knits (above) on Lilla torg. 

13. Shop for beautiful design and Scandinavian Christmas decorations at Granit, Designtorget, Svenssons, Grandpa, Lagerhaus, and Åhlens

14. Pick up vintage and sustainable pieces - and enjoy lunch at AB Småland.

15. Join locals at Malmö Saluhall - a fantastic indoor food market, filled with stalls serving delicacies from all over the world. 

16. Take some time out with a coffee and good book at Atrium, or if you're feeling active book a round of boules and brunch at Boule Bar.

17. Recharge your batteries over an afternoon 'fika' (coffee and cake) at Konditori Katarina or Noir Vin & Kaffekultur

18. Book a traditional Julbord (traditional Swedish Christmas buffet) at Årstiderna or Rådhuskällaren.   (November / December). 

19. Dine at Aster - featured above (one of Malmö's new best kept secrets - excellent food, very cosy - hard to find, difficult to book - but, oh so worth it!!), Ruths (great for brunch or supper) or Quan (wonderful atmosphere, excellent food). Book well in advance! 

20. Enjoy a night cap on the sofa at MJs or a cocktail at the top of Malmö Live with incredible views over the city.


Need somewhere to stay? Book a room at Story Hotel (above) or Clarion Malmö Live for views over the city. Or MJs and Duxiana for fab design. 

Staying a little longer and want to explore the surrounding area? We love downhill and cross country skiing at Vallåsen (around 1-2 hours away), taking a hike and enjoying a barbecue in Bokskogen beech forest or going to see the wild seals in the Måkläppan nature reserve on the Falsterbo peninsular.

However you choose to spend your time, I'm sure you'll leave Malmö with rosy cheeks and lots of new Scandinavian experiences under your belt! 

I really hope to see you in my wonderful, adopted hometown soon! 

Niki

PS Are you a local or visited Malmö in the past? Feel free to share your own experiences and any tips on activities to enjoy in winter below! 

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A Heavenly Stay On Sweden’s West Coast

// Paid partnership with Carpe Diem Beds, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love

Have you been able to travel recently? This time last week I made my way up to Fiskebäckskil on the West coast of Sweden - and although it wasn't far away, boy did it feel like luxury! I consider the Gothenburg archipelagos one of Sweden's best key secrets. Characterised by a rugged coastline dotted with hundreds of islands and skerries (see my island hopping guide!), the natural beauty of this part of the world has inspired many a poet, artist and design idea. And it's the latter which brought me here this Autumn. 

Around 120 kilometres from Gothenburg (and a short rib boat ride from where I was staying) you'll find the tiny, picturesque island of Stora Kornö. Accessible by boat, the harbour was once a thriving fishing port, with fishermen and other locals residing in one of the 52 houses. Today, no one lives here year-round. Instead, it's a popular summer destination for those who own cottages, sailors (like Per and I) and day trippers. Locals also flock to the island in the Autumn to celebrate the start of lobster season, and as we pulled up in the rib, many had gathered in the harbour ready to lay their pots. 

But we were here for a different reason: to walk in the footsteps of the brilliant Carpe Diem Beds founder, chiropractor Börje Thuleskär!

Story has it that Börje was relaxing on a bed of heather on the cliffs on the Southwestern shore, feeling happy and relaxed - and most importantly, supremely comfortable. He'd been disappointed by his inability to find a comfortable bed and marvelled at how the heather moulded to his body and gave him an incredible feeling of weightlessness. He immediately struck upon the idea of building his own bed - and the idea for Carpe Diem Beds was born. 


Today, the Swedish brand offers a range of luxury made-to-order, supremely comfortable beds (I'm not just saying that, I've had one for years and slept like a baby ever since!). Hand-built in nearby Lysekil, each bed is named after a local island and individually signed by the crafstperson - high quality Swedish design at it's finest! 

Back on the island of Skaftö and relaxing in my room at Gullmarsstrand Hotel, I marvelled at how a local business, has grown into a globally recognised brand, and sold in over 20 countries. You'll likely know someone who owns one of their beds - or might have been lucky enough to sleep in one at a design hotel as far and wide as Mauritious and the USA - or even the magnificent Ice Hotel (a dream of mine - have you ever been?). 

But this time, I didn't need to travel far. 

My room was heavenly! Sheer curtains bellowed in the fresh Autumn breeze and I could make out the church spire of Lysekil across the sound. Centre stage was the magnificent Vindö (AKA 'The Flying Bed') - the Carpe Diem Bed pièce de résistance, featuring several vibration massage programs, an automatic neck and lumbar support as well as adjustable head and foot rests! 

And best of all, I had it completely to myself. It was the perfect place to unwind, catch up on some much needed sleep surrounded by luxurious comfort and stay in bed on a Tuesday, with a coffee and a good book! How heavenly! 


All in all, a blissful few days and so hard to tear myself away from the wonderful rawness of the nature at this time of the year - and the cosiness and comfort of my room! Thank you Carpe Diem Beds and Gullmarsstrand Hotel

I only wish I could have stayed for lobster season. 

Next year!

If you're planning on visiting Sweden at some point, make sure you come to this part of the country - it's staggeringly beautiful! In the meantime, keep a look out for my post in the coming weeks about how to turn your own bedroom into a lap of luxury for the winter. I mean, if we're going to hibernate, we might as well do it in style, right?

Niki

This post is brought to you in paid collaboration with Carpe Diem Beds. All words are my own and I only ever recommend brands I love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the Scandinavian businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible. 

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City Guide: 48 Hours in Helsingborg, Sweden

In paid collaboration with Visit Helsingborg. Thank you to Visit Helsingborg for making this guide possible. All words and pictures are my own and I genuinely love this city and the places I mention. 

I'm often asked which other Swedish city I would live in. The answer is Helsingborg. Not only is it just up the coast (around 50 km North of Malmö), it's also Per's hometown and where his Mother still lives today.  Located on the shores of the Öresund Strait opposite Helsingør in Denmark, Helsingborg is Sweden's eighth largest city (with a population of 150,000) making it small enough to feel cosy and intimate - yet large enough to feel full of energy. From boutique shops, and cultural events to lush gardens and a vineyard - there's plenty to do over the space of a weekend! 

With my very own local guide in Per and some great tips from Evelina at Visit Helsingborg, it was easy to wile away a weekend in this wonderful town. Here's my guide: 

Where to stay: 
V Hotel: I love a small boutique hotel, and V Hotel was wonderful! Bang in the centre of town, it's been recently refurnished to a high standard with every room offering something unique. It's cosy, personal and  the breakfast was excellent! 
Elite Hotel Mollberg: Located on Stortorget (the main square) in Helsingborg, Elite Hotel Mollberg is situated in a historic building dating back too the 14th century and is full of character and charm. 
Clarion Sea U: This recently opened large, luxurious hotel invites guests to enjoy a gym, rooftop pool, gym and a restaurant and bar overlooking the sea.  

Getting there: 
Train: Helsingborg has excellent rail connections with Copenhagen Airport, Malmö and Gothenburg. 
Bus: There's a regular bus service between major cities including Stockholm, Malmö, Copenhagen and Oslo. 
Car: Take the E4 from Stockholm or E6 from Malmö. 
Boat: It's a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsingør, Denmark with ferries departing every 15 minutes. 
Plane: Ängelholm-Helsingborg, Malmö Sturup and Copenhagen are all within easy reach. 

Getting around: Everything in the city is within an easy stroll, however if you'd like to travel to areas a little further afield, an e-bike is a great option (available from the Travel Shop). There's also a well connected bus network. 

Day 1: Design shopping, lunch by the sea and a visit to Fredriksdal


Shopping: There's nothing like shopping in a different city for a day, don't you think? And Helsingborg is filled with boutique shops. Wander along Kullagatan, the main pedestrian street where most you'll find most of the major city shops, but take your time to wonder up the smaller lanes too - there are some hidden gems to be found!

Design / homeware boutiques: The city boasts a few really wonderful interior design shops, often selling items you won't find elsewhere. 

Pop into Världsbutiken fair trade store for gifts and say 'hej' to my Mother-in-law, who volunteers here several days a week. And then head to Frånö Antik Bod for Swedish antiques. 


If you look carefully on Drottninggatan you'll come across the well hidden shop front of By Mouritzen - where a treasure trove of unique homeware awaits. I picked up curled candles, vowing to return for bigger items. 
Lunch stop



There are SO MANY lunch options in the city. If you'd like to stay bang in the centre, tuck into Italian at Olsons Skafferi - a cosy restaurant opposite Sankta Maria church on picturesque Maria Torget (square).

Locals also love Etoile - a relaxed French bistro which reportedly serves the best cappuccino in town. It's a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and a little birdie tells me, a favourite of local hero, former footballer Henrik 'Henke' Larsson! 

Alternatively, if it's beautiful weather, head down to the harbour and stroll North along the sea front promenade - enjoying views of the sandy beach and Denmark just over the sound until you come to the popular beach bar: Fria Bad & Bar. 

The lively and relaxed seasonal diner has a fab location overlooking the beach. Tuck into burgers, pizzas and all kinds of sea food between May and September. It's perfect for people watching, or simply enjoying the view over a cool beer, glass of rosé or house favourite - Aperol Spritz! It's a great place to hang out at sunset too! Or, if you're up for a boogie, it turns into a nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer. 


Energy renewed, head to Kärnan - a medieval tower with great views - before strolling along Landborg promenade to my favourite shop Butik Linnea! 

Note: if you'd like more of a walk, continue along the promenade through lush greenery and over hills with great views off the city! 


If you love plants, pots, interiors and cool Swedish and Danish clothing brands and a good cafe - you'll be in shop heaven! I could have stayed for hours but alas, Per was waiting and we had a tight schedule to keep - so I vowed to return to Butik Linnea another time and make an afternoon of it. What a perfect excuse to come back. 

Fredriksdal

Located on the higher plain of Helsingborg, Fredriksdal is one of the largest open-air museums in Sweden and not to be missed! Truth be told, it was BAKING that day but we still got to experience the botanical gardens (including the magnificent rose garden), historical vegetable and herb gardens, historical buildings and the well preserved town quarter which is now a museum - all of which we loved! 

I was particularly taken by the Grafiska Museet - the largest working graphic museum in the Nordics (the shop is great too!) and the Trädgårdscafé which sells the best cakes! 

If you visit Fredriksdal, keep an eye on the daily schedules and calendar for guided walks, forest bathing and various talks. I'm looking forward to returning on a cooler day! 

Back in the centre of town, Dunkers Kulturhus features an excellent exhibitions calendar and is child friendly too! 

Dine out at Sillen & Makrillen

It’s almost impossible to dine closer to the sea than at my favourite Helsingborg restaurant Sillen & Makrillen. Located right over the water, it offers dreamy views of the Öresund strait. Tuck into a variety of seasonal dishes (I loved my white asparagus with locally foraged mushrooms) and a variety of fish dishes fresh from the sea. Yum! 

PS this place is also great in winter when the sea shows it's rough and wild side! 

Other restaurants worthy of a mention include Vass Restaurang & Bar and KOL & Cocktails

Day 2: Explore the surrounding area: 

On the second day, we decided to explore Helsingborg's surroundings - there is so much to see and do that you could spend several days taking it all in. We got around using e-bikes from the Travel Shop which are so much fun but not for the faint hearted! We were licking along, winding our way down county lanes and up steep hills without breaking into a bead of sweat and it was over 30 degrees celsius! A word of warning -  wear a helmet, take your time getting used to it and be careful in town!

Our first stop was Ödåkra Spritfabriken which is around 11km from the city centre. Built in 1897, the historical building served as a spirit distillery for a century and was recently taken over by multi-artist Andreas Wargenbrant who has transformed it into a creative space for arts, fashion, homeware and food. 

Enjoy browsing the shops (which include florist, antique and retro, clothing and homeware stores, then tuck into lunch at Italian restaurant Pappa Piada. It's famous for its piada - a thin Italian flatbread typically prepared in the Romagna region of Italy - but I have to say, the calamari was the best I've had! Afterwards, enjoy an artisanal beer at brewery Ødakra Brygghus

Wine tasting at Lottenlund Estate

Having tasted the local beer, it would have been rude not to sample the wine too. After all, did you know that Southern Sweden is pipped to gradually become a force to be reckoned with on the global wine scene? We whizzed down the country lanes to Lottenlund Estate vineyard to find out more. 

Make sure you book a tour in advance with the knowledgeable founder Tina Berthelsen. Inspired by a trip to Tuscany, Tina and her partner planted 30,000 vines in 2010, and today Lottenlund Estate produces white, rosé and red wine - all of which are available to taste. The Solaris grape is a fairly sour, so the wine is best paired with the right food - something which local chefs are extremely adept! 

Sofiero
On the way back to Helsingborg, stop in at Sofiero. The old royal summer residence features a magnificent palace and a beautiful park with views over the Öresund strait. Keep an eye out for seasonal events including light shows, Christmas markets, the rhododendron festival and summer dahlias as well as concerts and other special events. 

Wallåkra Stenkärlsfabrik
Fancy trying your hand at pottery? My daughters and I absolutely love Wallåkra Stenskärlsfabrik. Located a short 15 minute direct train ride from Helsingborg city centre, it's a perfect place to spend an afternoon. 

Book yourself in for a session on a pottery wheel and make your own creations using clay from the grounds before browsing the shop and enjoying a 'fika' (coffee and cake) in the cafe (the food in the restaurant is also excellent). Finish off by following the stream through the woods for an afternoon stroll in the steps of dinosaurs some 180 million years before!  


Phew, this guide turned out to be longer than I thought - and there's a lot to take in, I know. But I hope it will inspire you to visit Helsingborg one day! Please do share it with friends who might also feel inspired! 

If you're looking to combine Helsingborg with other places on your Scandinavian tour, it's well worth taking the 20-minute ferry-ride to Helsingør to explore the picturesque Danish town and magnificent Kronborg castle (home to Hamlet). Copenhagen and Malmö are also nearby. Four cities, two countries - one trip! 

I've tried to cover as much as possible in this guide, but there are so many other things to do in Helsingborg and the surrounding areas. If you have more tips to share - please fire away in the comment section below! 

A huge thank you to Evelina from Visit Helsingborg who shared her local knowledge with us and helped to book some of the places on our itinerary. It was a truly memorable weekend and we can't wait to come back with the girls (not least to visit 'Farmor' (Granny)!). 

Niki

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