Friluftsliv, Hygge, Fika – and how to bring the Scandinavian tricks to living comfortably into your Summer living vibe

OK, so what the hell am I actually talking about?! Well, take yourself back to the introduction of the Scandi word Hygge to our lives. We didn’t know what it meant but 2e were here for it. It’s the feeling of cosiness, comfort and contentment all in one. We loved it, we went mad for it. Suddenly we all wanted a reading nook painted in neutral colours where we could curl up on a Sunday reading our favourite novel in a comfy chair with a hand knitted blanky over our knees and cradling a handmade pottery mug of hot cocoa. To be fair, we’re still pretty mad for it.

Now let me introduce you to the 2021 trend to make it’s way to our shores… friluftsliv, pronounced free-lufts-live.  Roughly translating to ‘open air living’. It’s about getting outdoors, embracing nature and enjoying your surroundings outside. And it’s gonna be BIG this year.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all had an absolute bloody mare of a last year (cheers Rona) and with some of us just coming through lockdown being faced with only being able to socialise outdoors, it’s time we really started making the most of it. So whether you are looking at reaching out and meeting friends and family at long last, or if you are just looking for ways to enjoy your own company that doesn’t involve staring at the same 4 walls inside your flat, here are some ways to bring more friluftsliv into your life….

Just Walk!

Just go for a walk. Grab a comfy pair of shoes, wear some layers so that you can adjust to the weather and just get outside and walk. Take a bottle of water and a snack. Don’t plan a route, just go where your feet take you and see where you end up. You may find somewhere you didn’t even know existed before! I’ve found many a random park by just taking a different road to my normal route somewhere.

You can plan this around your normal day, if you usually get a bus somewhere walk instead, ot just get off a couple of stops earlier than normal for example. There’s nothing to say that your walk can’t have purpose…walk to the shop and back!

Pack up a Picnic!

Plan a picnic. This can be with friends or alone, obviously depending on how many people are going will depend on the food, but make it special, nobody wants a limp marmite sandwich and a packet of hula hoops on a picnic!                                 Bring a lovely blanket, if you have space in a car take some cushions and/or chairs/stools. Set up an area for food, make a comfy seating area and enjoy the natural surroundings-think quiet beach with the sound of the waves (watch out for rogue seagulls!), or a lovely grassy patch next to a running stream, where you can listen to the birds and watch the butterflies.

Stay in, but go out!

Fancy staying at Home? Get out into that garden! Tidy, neaten, plant and decorate. Get your outdoors looking and feeling like a place where you want to spend your time. Plant flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Set up a bird feeding station. Get some ladybird and bee houses. Create an area of sanctuary-for me this is my pergola in the bottom corner of my very average sized garden. I am currently training some plants up the fence which (hopefully) will make a lovely scented canopy later in the year. I cleared the decking, covered in some leftover artificial grass I had, added some foam floor tiles and bought a cheap macrame effect swing from ebay. I added some potted plants and have put up a few baskets and I’ve just bought some solar lights to add. Now let me tell you, a warm summer evening, a glass of wine, a good book, and the birds chirruping to each other before they go to bed is utter, relaxing bliss. Find what works for you and create your own little area of calm.

In the same style, get your garden social-ready. Create an outdoor bar area, buy/build a bbq. Get a fire pit – you can’t beat some late evening smores! Make it a place you want to get out into every evening when you get in from work and invite friends over to at the weekends.

Have breakfast outside in the morning. Even if it’s just a cup of coffee and a slice of toast, having it outside will boost you up ready for the day ahead. Don’t have a garden? Open a window wide and park a chair next to it, pull aside any curtains etc that may be blocking you from seeing out, if it’s chilly just grab a blanket. Still not practical? Decorate an area with a nature theme, so you feel like the outdoors is in with you! Prints of nature scenes, lush green leafy plants (real or fake), dried flowers, wooden accents, neutral colours, textured fabrics, a daylight bulb in your light/lamp socket (do not underestimate how much this can change the feel of a room for you!)

Become one with Nature!

Hug a tree. Yep, seriously. Go on an adventure in the woods and get touchy feely with your surroundings. The science says that becoming one with a twiggy giant releases the hormone oxytocin bringing with it a feeling of calm and emotional bonding. (Just don’t do this if you live in Vegas! 🏜)

Channel your inner Bob Ross!

Draw/sketch/doodle. You don’t need to be an artist to get joy out of putting pen to paper. Treat yourself to a new notebook, some nice pens and half an hour of peace and quiet. Just get onto the page whatever comes to mind. Nobody has to see your little works of art, they are just for you, so don’t worry about ‘skills’ and don’t be hard on yourself! Sketch your surroundings, doodle your thoughts, paint a landscape. Whatever you fancy!

Wilderness calls!

Hike! Pack up your kit and plan out a full on adventure in the hills. Make sure you’ve covered the essentials, go safely, and  take a camera to catch those amazing views! If you want the full monty experience of the wilderness then camp out overnight!

Once Upon A Time ….

Journal it. Whether you already have a journal or you decide to start one up, get into the routine of getting some scribbles down at the end of the day. Scrapbook your outdoor adventures, record your notes on the books you’ve read, doodle, add photos, plan and make lists. Go down the basic lines on a page approach or go balls deep with a full on decorative display about your day/week/month etc. There are countless types of journals out there to choose from, but you can just use a standard notebook if you’re not willing to invest before you know you’re into it! Make your pages stand out with hand doodled works of art, learn to do some basic calligraphy, or buy some stickers to do the work for you! (Nudge nudge wink wink over to my ETSY Shop!)

Pause Breathe Relax

Take some time for Fika. Pronounced Fee-ka, this is something we are all guilty of not getting enough of. Fika is making time for a coffee break, with the intention of getting some quality time to reflect, relax and then go and get some shit done. How often have you worked through your lunch break, grazing on a crappy Boots meal deal throughout the day because you’re “just so busy”? And how do you feel at the end of the day? Probably frazzled, miserable and feeling like you didn’t actually get everything done. Taking a proper time out to have a break makes you able to focus on the tasks ahead and recharge that brainbox. What’s even better? Taking that break outside-a quick walk in the park/round the block/hanging out in your newly styled garden nook! Your body and mind will thank you later!

All the Scandi Style…

Friluftsliv + Hygge = outdoors comfort. Combine both of these beauties and bring the outside in and the inside out!

Adorn your rooms with natural colours and wooden furniture and accents. Use neutral tones and sumptuous fabrics. Place lush, green leafy plants throughout your house, bring cosy cushions and blankets into the garden. Enjoy evenings by candle light and fire pitts. Whether you are looking for friluftsliv or hygge, or a bit of both, it’s easy to integrate some into your day.

Take a look at my new collection on my ETSY page for charleymadethat, where I have designed and created a range of items under the theme Pause Breathe Relax including notebooks and journals, mugs, trays and bookmarks. Plus I have a range of stickers that I am also launching to help with journalling, decor and organisation!

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