Scandi. Short for Scandinavian, it’s become a catch-all term for the achingly cool world of sheepskins, blonde wood, coffee and cinnamon buns. And I’m all in.
So, imagine how delighted I was when I found out that my DNA is actually 13% Scandinavian? It was thanks to one of those do-it-yourself Ancestry testing kits. And it was a life-affirming moment, let me tell you. Never mind, the boring bits about England, Wales and Ireland – because, wow, I’m part-scandi.
I’m excited, because who doesn’t want to be a bit more scandi? They seem to have life sorted. Countless surveys have proven the Scandinavian countries amongst the happiest in the world. Maybe it’s in the DNA, or maybe they’re just clever?
Not lucky enough to be descended from marauding Vikings? Don’t worry, you can still learn from them. There’s even a little collection of hard-to-pronounce words to help you. Come on, let’s decipher them together….
Let’s start with lykke.
Lykke (pronounced luu-kah) is the Danish word for happiness and good fortune. A big part of this is about reciprocal happiness. Lykke is about being a kind and generous person. You’re creating your little fire of happiness that will not only warm you, but everyone around you. So, next time you invite friends round – invite someone new along too. Smile and say hello to those strangers you see every day on your way to work. Spread the happiness.
Lagome, aka getting the balance right
Lagome is the Swedish concept of “just enough”. It’s about moderation – whether it’s in the office, at home or during your weekly shop. In Britain we’re notorious for having a very poor work/life balance. We stay far later in the office than our Scandi counterparts, and when we get home we spend too much time staring at our phone screens. This year, why not try to achieve a better balance? Cut down on that late-night email scrolling, and make an effort to be present in the moment. Spend more time doing the simple things that make you happy – like talking a walk with friends or making a proper cup of coffee – rather than throwing cash away on quick fixes you think will make you more content.
Take a refresher course in hygge
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is the Danish concept of cosiness. I wrote about at length earlier in the year, but it’s still as relevant now as ever. Life can be dreary at times, and we all need a bit of comfort. Hygge is about making the best of these situations – battening down the hatches and creating a safe, happy place to weather the storm. This might be lighting your candles and burrowing into your favourite blanket – or eating Heinz tomato soup when you’ve got a cold. Whatever makes you feel content and cosy, that’s your hygge moment.
Now, if you want to be even more scandi try one of these…
Read The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. One Englishwoman’s tale of moving to Denmark. Read it in a weekend and you’ll laugh out loud and feel like an expert on scandi life.
Make some cinnamon buns… Because if you want to be more scandi you need to learn to make something like this. It’s a great way to while away a Sunday afternoon. I like Nigella’s recipe, which you can find here.
Go to IKEA… and buy a sheepskin rug and a new cushion. It’ll definitely make you feel more hygge. Although remember the concept of lagome and leave while your sanity is still intact.