8 Ways to Pep up Your Outdoor Space, Scandi style

Looking at the ten-day forecast here in Malmö, Sweden I can see the mercury slowly starting to rise - woohoo! This spring, shall we say, is extra special - meaning we're willing to don all kinds of clothing if it means seeing friends and family! But there's no reason we can't gather in style and comfort too! Today I'm putting Scandinavian outdoor spaces under the microscope so we can glean some wonderful ideas to ensure we're as comfy as possible and surrounded by beauty! Here are eight ideas to steal: 

1. Light it up: There's not much use in socialising outdoors if we can't see who we're talking to - and outdoor string lighting* gives that lovely warm glow, and a romantic touch to any backyard. And here's the best part: even if we're not outdoors, lighting up the greenery helps the indoors to feel larger; giving the impression that the living space is extended, and draws the inside in! You might need to add a wooden post or metal pole in order to help hang them at the right height. 

2. Go natural: our Scandi friends love to keep things as natural as possible - especially in the garden! Think rattan, wood and bamboo for a warm, relaxed look. In recent years, there's been a huge increase in all-weather bamboo furniture too! 


3. The parasol: Admittedly, in Sweden being blinded by the sun is a bit of a luxury, and a moment we long for year-round! But you can never underestimate the power of the sun - and a parasol, sail or pagoda is essential for blocking out the midday rays. Not only will coverings keep you cool in the heat, but there'll also keep you feeling cosy and dry in the rain - prolonging the hours you get to spend alfresco. Our Nordic friends usually opt for white with wood poles, but these colourful parasols have become really popular lately among the hipsters. I'm suddenly thinking I might need to do a separate parasol post, there are so many fab ones out there - could that be of interest? 

4. The bench: It's all very well creating social areas where everyone can gather, but what happens if you simply want to be alone, gather your thoughts or admire the results from the long hours you spent toiling the soil? It's always a good idea to treat your garden like any indoor living space: organise it so that it caters for different activities / needs! There are so many great garden benches out there - from contemporary (as seen above) to the more traditional. 

5. Divide it up: Go a step further and carve out separate zones using walls, windows, hedges or anything else that helps to create a little privacy for showers, sunbathing areas, quiet reading spots etc. The wall with a window above is perfect for creating an intimate dining area while also offering a view of the garden. PS the dining set reminds me so much of the one my parents had when I was young!


6. Mix it up: don't be afraid to throw different looks together. Rattan, wood, concrete - the more varied, the more relaxed! 

7. Get comfy: one of the biggest mistakes people make with outdoor spaces in my mind is not making them comfortable enough. Since garden furniture needs to withstand the weather, it's often made from rock hard materials. Make sure you invest in cushions for your chairs and outdoor sofa (even if you do need to bring them indoors each evening!) - or why not add a daybed or hammock (this boho hammock* is similar) so you can really chill out and enjoy an afternoon snooze! 

8. Lanterns: What would a Scandinavian living space be without a candle or three? Since one little gust of wind can snuff out the glow in seconds, lanterns are your best friend, and I firmly believe it's a case of the more the merrier. Place them on the table, on the ground (invest in two different sizes so they look good paired up) and hang them from the branches of a tree for a hyggeligt evening alfresco! 

There are so many lovely ideas here! It's got me thinking about prepping my own mini outdoor space for the season.

What type of outdoor space do you have (if any)? I'd love to hear all about it, and so keen to hear any tips and tricks you might have! 

For more outdoor space inspiration check-out: 


Here's to a glass of rosé, alfresco! 

Niki


*This post contains some affiliate links

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7 Winter Warmer Essentials For Outdoor Gatherings

I love to be comfortable and warm, how about you? So, when someone suggests a meet-up in their garden and the temperatures hover around the minus, it doesn't always sound enticing! But such is life right now. And do you know what? The more I meet with Swedish friends alfresco, the more I realise it can be a cosy and warm affair. So, what's the trick? Read on to find out how our Scandi friends are keeping warm outside this winter!

1. Lighting


As with all things Scandi, nothing sets the tone quite like lighting. Forget harsh, bright outdoor lighting - it's all about creating a warm and inviting glow. These outdoor ReUse string lights are handmade in the Pernille Bülow workshop on the Danish island of Bornholm. I'm such a big fan since each mouth-blown bubble is made from waste from the pharmaceutical industry. If you've got a larger space, several chains can be linked together (like in my back garden) - for an enchanting, warm and inviting touch after sunset.

2. Firepit 

Our ancestors have been gathering around a hearth to stay warm, cook and socialise since time began. It's in our genes. And I'm sure you'll agree, nothing beats the hyggeligt feeling of dancing flames, and the warm glow of a camp ire. Fortunately, times have moved on since Boy Scouts and Brownies (I never did manage to light that fire from two sticks, did you?) and there's a huge selection of fire pits available for every size garden! The 'fire basket' in my dear friend Ullis' garden is from Swedish brand Röshult

3. Lanterns



Light up every corner of your garden with pretty lanterns. I love the warm glow from the candles, and they emit a little heat too.  

4. Sheepskin

During my first winter in Sweden many moons ago, I was mesmerised by the sheepskin - it was everywhere, draped over the back of chairs and even used to lined children's pushchairs and prams. The reason? Wool is amazing - it's non-allergic, dirt repellent and an incredible insulator - helping to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. A perfect addition to the winter garden! 

5. Cushions

Roll out the cushions for extra comfy seating - they'll help to keep you warm and cosy too! I particularly love linen since it's a natural, breathable fabric. 

6. Blankets

Another cosy essential: the blanket! I find wool or fleece the best alternatives. Invest in a batch or ask everyone to bring their own - and wrap up warm! 

7. Hot water bottle

For me, this is the real clincher that will make a big difference to your enjoyment of the night: the trusty hot water bottle! Fill it with warm water, tuck it under your coat and you'll be as toasty as can be. Mine (seen here) was a present from my mother over 25 years ago and still going strong. I also love this full size knit one** and these best-selling funky lambs wool ones** (all from small businesses!). 

Thank you for a toasty evening in your little back garden Ullis! I'll be back with my blanket and hot water bottle before you know it!

Find out more about Danish ReUse string lighting from Pernille Bülow here (delivery and shipping info here). 

And feel free to add your own tips on keeping warm outside this winter in the comment section below, I'd love to hear them! 

Here's to winter evenings alfresco!

Niki

*This post is a paid partnership with Pernille Bülow. All words and images are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too! Thank you for supporting the small Nordic businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.

** affiliate links

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Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Cosy Haven This Autumn / Winter



Baby, it's cold outside. At least in Sweden! Usually, this would be a cue to move indoors, but there's nothing normal about 2020, right? This autumn it's all about catching up with close friends and family al fresco. Which means it's time to up the backyard / balcony ante! The good news is, the Scandinavians have been pros at this for years. Visit a café or restaurant in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and you'll find every chair in the outdoor area has been prepped with a fleece blanket. And they don't stop there. Sheepskins, outdoors rugs, string lights, lanterns, candles and fire pits are all pre-requisites to a cosy evening al fresco - no matter the weather! I started to up my backyard game a few weeks back, but I've realised there's a whole lot more I can do. Are you also looking to turn your outdoor space into a cosy haven? Here's a little inspiration to get you started.


Early Autumn nights call for candles, lanterns, a beautiful set of string lights and maybe even the warmth of an open flame. All this, not only to illuminate your outdoor space but also to create a relaxing ambience and the kind of comfort we crave right now! 

















Lastly, round up some extra chunky blankets and put them within easy reach for you and your guests to grab. You can never have too many! 


Just add woolly jumpers, a hat and a steaming mug of glögg and you're all good to go! 

What are your plans for staying connected this Autumn (or Spring if you're in the southern hemisphere)? 

I'm thinking lots of Zoom calls, but we also might just fire up the barbecue this weekend for halloween!

Niki

Thank you so much to Ana Degenaar for helping to collateral the lovely pictures for this blog post! 

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Cosy Danish Outdoor Lights - Handmade Using Recycled Glass!

Partnership*
Determined to make this autumn and winter as cosy as possible, I've added some new lights to our little backyard. After all, once the sun sets, it becomes very dark, very early, very quickly, and there's nothing like the warm glow of lights to lift your spirits! These beautiful ReUse light chains are from Pernille Bülow - a small atelier on the Danish island of Bornholm.  Regular readers will know that Pernille Bülow is a big favourite of mine and I have SO many beautiful handmade pieces from this atelier around my home (including SKY lamps and Odin tableware).  But there's something EXTRA special about these outdoor ReUse light chains, and the clue is in the name. Read on to discover more! 

True to Pernille Bulow style, each of the 9 pendants are mouth blown and handmade in the workshop in Svaneke, Bornholm (if you're ever on the island, you must pay a visit - I love the shop!). This means that each glass light is ever so slightly unique - one of the wonderful hallmarks of handmade pieces. 

I used two sets in our little back yard to create a little extra glow (the chains are three metres long and attachable, so you can easily string together as many sets of lights as you wish which is really handy).

Best of all? The ReUse collection is made of waste from Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company that has large amounts of excess borosilicate glass from their diabetes drug production. Rather than going to waste, Pernille Bülow remelts and moulds the glass into beautiful objects, including these ReUse light chains and a pendant lamp

The light chain also come with 9 2 W energy optimised LED bulbs which are CE marked. 

In order to really put them to the test, I invited a few friends over from the neighbourhood for an autumn evening alfresco - (any excuse!).  

It was a bit of a 'knytkalas' - where everyone (including my dear friend Ullis - above - and interior designer Jessica Ward - below) brought whatever they had in their fridge and wine cabinet! 

We had such a mysig (cosy) evening under the warm glow of the lights - even if coats were a must! Brrrr!

Roll on more autumn evenings al fresco! And even when it's time to move indoors, we'll still enjoy the twinkle through the window! 

If you'd love these lights for your outdoor space, the ReUse light chain is available to pre-order here  - and will be available from mid-November. There's a list of countries Pernille Bülow ships to here

I'm curious - can you still sit outside in the evenings in your country? 

Wishing you a great day! 

Niki

*This post is a paid partnership with Pernille Bülow. All words and images are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too! Thank you for supporting the small Nordic businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.  

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Beautiful Danish Glassware and My Favourite Summer Drink!


After a tour of the Swedish West coast (travel guide to follow soon!), it's been wonderful to be back at our summer cottage for a few days. I spent a lovely afternoon with my friend Tove, catching up over a glass of herb infused lemonade. It was one of those afternoons which turned into evening... which turned into night (and may have eventually involved some Prosecco!). I'd invited Tove to come over and help me shoot a set of beautiful mouth blown glassware for Pernille Bülow (the glass workshop on the Danish island of Bornholm where the stunning SKY lamps are also made). And we decided to put the pretty setting and smokey ODIN glassware to good use in the process! Here are a few snapshots - and more details about the glassware, the lemonade and a few other pieces! 

I picked up the chairs at a nearby 'loppis' (flea market) - such a find! The questions is, do I re-paint them or leave them in their naturally dilapidated state? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

On the table you can catch a glimpse of the handmade ODIN jug and drinking glass in grey, which have been designed in the Pernille Bülow atelier and handmade abroad. As with all their designs, I love how the ODIN glassware has a simple yet strong expression, and perfect for everyday use as well as special events (like catching up with friends!).  

My daughter Allie and I made the mint, dill and basil infused lemonade in the morning. The syrup is super simple to make, tastes really refreshing, and if you make a big batch can last all summer long! Oh and it's perfect for pepping up 'stronger' drinks - just sayin'! Here's the recipe: 

Mint, Dill and Basil Infused Lemonade Squash

Ingredients:

2.5 dl water
300 g sugar
2 tbsp fresh dill  
5 g fresh basil
5 g fresh mint
3.75 dl lemon juice

Method
Combine the sugar and water in a pan, place on medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Rip up the mint and basil leaves and add to the pan. Add the dill stems. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture in a container in the fridge for 60 minutes. Sieve the mixture to remove herbs. 

To serve: combine the syrup and lemon juice with 18 dl of water and serve on ice with a sprig of mint. 


Tove and I found the jug works perfectly as a vase too! The thistles and ferns are from our cottage garden.

As the sun sank lower in the sky we brought out an ODIN pillar candleholder and tea light holder in grey. There are also two lovely bowls in the range - the small bowl in grey which we used for crabapples and a large bowl



Such a memorable afternoon. I love it when a plan comes together!

You can find out more information about Pernille Bülow ODIN glassware here - and also take a peek at the SKY lamps which I've featured in my home here, here and here.

Thank you to Tove for a great afternoon, and also to my wonderful neighbors for the pretty setting!

Niki

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Pernille Bülow. However, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too! 

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An Afternoon Tea In My Backyard - Fit For Royalty!

 Scandinavian brand story*:
An afternoon tea fit for royalty. That's how it felt in my little back yard a couple of weeks back. And I owe that to Georg Jensen. Last spring, the Danish brand announced an extension of one of its most recognisable tabletop collections designed by the Swedish designer Sigvard Bernadotte (1907 - 2002). And I couldn't be more excited! Formerly a Prince, the forward thinking and free spirited Sigvard Bernadotte, traded his aristocratic title to become part of Sweden's design royalty. His collaboration with Georg Jensen began in 1930 at the start of the functionalist movement and the bold simplicity of Bernadotte's silver designs were a huge over night success. In 2002, Georg Jensen reissued many of the items in stainless steel making them more accessible to the humble likes of you and I! Just add coffee, milk, and buns. OK, I did have a little prosecco later on in the day too...!

If this is a royal collection, then the Bernadotte Thermo jug is surely the queen - it's a true Scandinavian design icon. I love how it keeps your drinks hot (or cold) for up to six hours too - a perfect excuse to sit around all day! 

Another favorite: the Bernadotte dish on a stand. I used it for bread, but it also makes a beautiful fruit bowl! 

I was excited to see that in 2019, Georg Jensen added several new pieces to the line, including a series of vases, serving plates and platters, cutlery pieces and other small items - all of which respect the design heritage of the Bernadotte line. 

There's something wonderful about using milk jug (as oppose to just chucking the entire carton on the table we so often do at breakfast time) - and this stainless steel and mirror polished one is the crème de la crème (see what I did there?!). I love the shape and weight! It's also perfect for other things like salad dressings. 




What a wonderful afternoon! I'll be dreaming about this come winter!

If you love iconic Scandinavian design as much as I do and curious about the Bernadotte line and other Georg Jensen pieces I've used for my table setting, here's a quick guide: 
GET THE LOOK

1. Bernadotte Thermo Jug
2. Bernadotte Dish on A Stand
3. Bernadotte Creamer / Milk Jug
4. Bernadotte Bottle Opener
5. Bernadotte Etagère
6. Bernadotte Tea and Coffee Spoons
7. Cobra Lunch Plate
8. Cobra Porcelain Cup
9. Cobra Glass Set
10. Bernadotte Medium Vase

Do you have a favourite piece?

Wishing you a wonderful start to the week!

Niki

Photography: My Scandinavian Home
Styling: Helen Sturesson

PS I'll be back on Wednesday with an inspiring and beautiful Swedish home tour - never been seen before! See you then!

*This post is brought to you in partnership with Georg Jensen, who I am honoured to collaborate with. Thank you for supporting the wonderful businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible. 

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