I didn’t grow up with my father. We didn’t find out about each other’s existence until I was 13, and it would be another year before we actually met, and then another before we fully got to know each other. We have a marvellous relationship today, we speak several times a week and I often ask him for advice. There’s little censorship in our relationship and I tell him way more than most tell their parents. In short, having a dad is much better than I ever thought it would be.

But apart from a two-month stint, we never lived together. The only father I’ve lived with is my partner, H. Most things I’ve learnt about parenting (even though I’m not a parent myself) I’ve learnt from him. It is wild to me how he makes parenting seem easy when actually, it’s really, bloody hard. Although he is the busiest person I know, he somehow always finds the time to manage a household with three equally busy and ambitious kids. Through his parenting, he’s teaching me about patience, unconditional love, kindness and sincerity. I never thought I would date, let alone live with someone with three (!! THREE!) children, but it is a blessing in so many unpredictable ways.

Which is why I loved celebrating Father’s Day this past Sunday. I started out with no father in my life, and somehow ended up with two phenomenal ones. Wow.

2

I turned 30 in September and there was no 30-year crisis in sight. Not just because I happen to share my life with someone who is 12 years older, or because I live in an actual, detached house with three children and a cat. I didn’t exactly think that that’s what my life would look like when I turned 30 (or ever), but it’s making me feel both very young and very old in a weird and simultaneous way. I think the reason why I didn’t have a crisis is that I lived my 20s to the fullest. I lived in seven different countries, studied at four universities, pursued three different career tracks, and I have enough wild stories to write many, many novels. I really don’t think there’s anything I could’ve done to max out my twenties more than I did. I entered my 30s feeling just a bit exhausted, and very happy that I’ve finally settled and found my place. It’s been a long time coming.

But, although I didn’t have a 30-year crisis, I did have a birthday party crisis. I wasn’t even sure whether I would have one. I’ve never hosted a sit-down dinner before and I had a lot of questions that made it feel quite overwhelming. Would anyone come? (Yes) Should I have a toastmaster? (Yes) What do people expect? (Booze and food) Do I propose a dress code? (No) How much booze should we get? (More than you need) Should we have a seating plan? (Yes) Will X get offended if they get seated next to Y? (No) And so on.

In the end, I invited 30 of my closest friends and it is some of the most fun I’ve ever had. We had a chef come in and do a tailored menu which was a roaring success. I didn’t want to see the menu before the party, and the only instructions I gave him was that it had to be vegetarian and the guiding principles for the menu were ”unexpected” and ”fun”. He served us five courses which included plums from our garden, veggies from his allotment, and cheeses and spices from his travels to places like Iran and Hörby. I enjoy good food, but I’m rarely floored by it. This was an exception.

We started the evening with a little toast before doing tipsrunda, the Sandy Edition™. There were many people attending who didn’t know each other so I’d put together a quiz about me and experiences I’ve shared with people at the party. To get a clue or three, I’d also put together a little pamphlet with bios of everyone attending, and — of course — hints to the answers. This was a nice little ice breaker, a great way to do a house tour, and, more than anything, I really enjoyed writing both the quiz and the bios.

Once the dinner kicked off people started finding the five disposable cameras that were scattered across the dining table. I thought this would be a fun and cheap way to document the evening. It turns out that it wasn’t particularly cheap and many of the photos are sort of rubbish, BUT there are some real gems in there regardless. And it’s interesting to see what the Instagram generation looks like in analogue. The only thing I regret is not handing out cameras for the quiz, and keeping one for when we opened the presents at 5am in the morning… There were many tears. Anyway, let’s take a look!

The big sit-down dinner! H’s 14-year-old daughter and two of her best friends waitressed the whole evening and did a remarkably good job. They were so impressive that they actually got an unexpected pay raise at the end of the evening he he.

As I mentioned, I was a bit nervous about the seating plan but it worked out wonderfully in the end. It was so much fun to see friends from different parts of my life come together over shared interests, even though they’ve never seen each other before. Here’s Robin, one of my best friends from sixth form (gymnasiet) and Claire, one of my best friends from university. They’re both civil servants, Robin in Malmö and Claire in London, they’ve both studied Swahili to varying degrees, and they’re my two favourite discussion buddies. It was a given to put them next to each other.

I tried to sit next to as many people as possible and a great way of doing that is stealing somebody else’s seat when they go to the loo. That way you can chat to and catch up with as many guests as possible. here I am next to Jacob and Ivy.

I chose to have my party in English. All the writing was in English, the welcome toast was in English, and the chef presented the food in English. There were only two people attending who didn’t understand Swedish, but it was important to me that everyone felt equally included and understood as much as possible. That’s also part of the reason why we didn’t have the traditional snapsvisor — other than the fact that I hate snaps — but instead I’d printed the chorus of some of my favourite songs, including Toxic, Jenny from the Block, and Larger than Life. It was great.

Isabelle and Ebba. Isabelle is my first internet buddy — I found her blog when I was 15 and that is how we got to know each other. I eventually invited her to London to come and visit, and a few years later we shared a house in Uganda. Ebba and I got to know each other through my sixth form buddy Jacob, her boyfriend, and today she’s one of my best friends. Ebba and Isabelle, by the way, WON the Sandy Quiz. They titled their team ”Internet Stalker” hehe.

My dad was there. He set up his first restaurant back in the 1950s and he loves nothing more than a good piece of meat, so I was extremely pleased when he went out to the kitchen to tell the chef that he was very impressed with the food ”even though it’s vegetarian”. My dad just turned 80 and I only got to know him when I was 14. Our circumstances mean that our relationship is far from given, so having him there meant a lot to me.

I gave a little impromptu speech and realised that I didn’t know most of the people there when I moved to Malmö just three years ago. H, for instance! It made me a wee bit emotional. As did the other speeches.

And after many speeches, some tears, and even a song that H had written and performed in my honour (I know!), it was time to get the dance floor out!

And the hotshots! I also did my first of two outfit changes ha ha because yes, apparently that’s who I am.

Vicky and Micke kept looking like they’d only just met — which, by the way, is the best look — as opposed to having been together for four years.

The same goes for Jasmin and Per, only they’ve been together for twelve (!) and they have two toddlers.

Ebba and Robin played table tennis…

…and kept the dance floor warm.

Every time someone left I kept saying ”ALREADY???” and then I looked at the time: ”oh it’s 2.00/3.00/3.30” lol. That’s how you know you’re having a great time.

On top of the two desserts that the chef served, we had also ordered a glorious cake which no one had room for after the five-course meal. We tried a tiny slice and eventually I brought it to the office on Monday, more or less untouched.

Perhaps my favourite photo from the evening. Look at those faces!

Eventually it was 4.30am and there were just three of my best friends left when one of them said: ”shouldn’t we open the gifts?”. And so we did. I cried, as I do, and I went to bed feeling quite overwhelmed.

I was both hungover and tired the next day. But I was also very, very happy. And I still feel the love and gratitude that I felt at my birthday party. It was worth all of it.

11

Louise and Harry, two of many expat friends I’ve made since moving to Malmö, threw a Brexit Halloween party last week with the words ”Brexit: all tricks, no treats — come help us crash out of the EU”. Rarely have I come across such an apt summary of the shambles that is Brexit. Louise and Harry, like myself, moved to Malmö in 2016, which is also the year of the Brexit referendum. I was quite nervous about the referendum, and, as we now know, for good reason. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time. The party invitations went out when the Brexit deadline was October 31 (having already been postponed twice). As we all know, the deadline has once again been postponed and is now January 31. Quite the shambles — but at least the Brexit party wasn’t!

Perhaps the scariest pumpkin yet.

Louise went as the ghost of Europe (I mean this is almost too sad to be funny, but it’s nevertheless a pretty suitable costume) and Vicky went as Jacob Rees-Mogg, a particularly scary ultra-conservative member of the Tory party. Among other things, he has voted to repeal the UK Human Rights Act not once but twice, he voted against legalising abortion in Northern Ireland, he voted against legalising same-sex marriage, AND he was casually lying down (!) in parliament during a recent debate of Brexit (as portrayed by Vicky in above shot). Not a person I’d want at a dinner party, or any party.

Representatives from the immigration services of New Zeeland were there and made everyone go through a particularly difficult immigration test. Again, almost too sad to be funny…

Which is why it was great that some people had actually funny costumes. H went as the flag of the EU (hooray!) and Jasmin and Per went as Posh Spice and Becks.

And me? I went as Larry the Cat, the cat and Chief Mouser that lives at 10 Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister. Larry has lived at Number 10 since 2011 and has served under three different Prime Ministers. I love the story of Larry. He is a rescue cat (much like my own cat, Katten), his upkeep is funded by Number 10 staff, and some numbers indicate that Larry’s popularity has resulted in a surge of 15% more people adopting cats. He has his own Twitter account and whoever runs it is bloody hilarious. I think if there’s anything the people of Britain deserve right now, it’s Larry the Cat. With some love sprinkled on top.

7

I went to Beyond Us’ opening dinner in central Malmö last Thursday and it was pretty insane. I get to attend a lot of *stuff* through work, whether they’re nice dinners, parties, conferences etc, but this was something else. It’s probably because I work in tech as opposed to lifestyle, but I’ve rarely felt so pampered going to an event before.

Beyond Us is a new concept store in Malmö. It’s located right by the canal and is a ”mini shopping centre” (but way, way better than a shopping centre). It hosts several brands, and it also has a café, a coworking space, Sweden’s trendiest post office, and a gym area. AND a ball pond for the kids and the fun adults.

Spoonery, one of my favourite Malmö eats, did the food and DJ A Sisters did the music. Christin, Sanna and JWHF organised the whole event and did a stellar job of pulling it together (they even had a tattoo artist on site!).

Kajsa, one of the bloggers here at JWHF, launched her Style for Rent concept which is also part of Beyond Us, meaning that we can all look as fabulous as Kajsa from now on. I’ve bought quite a few ridiculously expensive dresses recently and the funny thing is that after they’ve been worn twice or three times, they feel sort of… Done? So I am very excited to see if I can rent some of Kajsa’s couture instead of buying my own from now on.

Never not Instagramming (sorry not sorry)

It was such a great night and I’m so glad to have been invited. There have been quite a few new places opening in Malmö since I moved here and I think Saluhallen and Beyond Us are two of the biggest and most significant ones. Beyond Us felt pretty New York-y, but in a Malmö way — which in my opinion is the best kind of way.

Thank you Beyond Us for having me, and thank you Jenny for all the amazing photos (she has taken every single one in this blog post)! And speaking of which, Beyond Us is actually almost like a little mini JWHF but irl? Christin, Sanna and JWHF did the opening event, Jasmin is working at Beyond Us doing marketing/operations/much-of-everything, Jenny’s prints are exhibited (and for sale!), and Kajsa has her couture rental there. And I try to go as much as possible for fika, so there you go.

13

When I first announced that I was joining JWHF I asked on Instagram if anyone wanted to request any topics. I received so many lovely notes, suggested topics, and questions that I’ve decided to run a little series where I go through them, bit by bit. Here’s a question from the wonderful Ellina:

How did your attitude towards relationships change over the past years? Eg if you compare yourself in a relationship with someone 5-7 years ago, and now with your current partner. Just curious if your behaviour has changed in any way, or the way you think about ”love relationships” in general. And also, what would you say to yourself 5-7 years ago, and what would you do differently in a relationship?

There are so many things to say about this. I am fortunate to have been in numerous wonderful romantic relationships throughout my life (and don’t worry, I’ve had some awful ones as well). But even though many of them were lovely and wonderful in many ways, it never seemed to work out. This can be put down to a number of reasonable factors — a mismatch in goals and aspirations, growing in different directions, or simply falling out of love are all viable and probably quite common reasons for why people break up and relationships end. I’ve experienced some of that. I’ve also experienced rivalry and envy, and this is something different. It was so counterintuitive and almost unbelievable that it took me quite some time to identify what felt wrong (even though it happened in more than one relationship). A healthy relationship comes from many things, like mutual love, patience, admiration, respect, gratitude, and a willingness to learn and grow together, even when it’s hard. Rivalry and envy do not fit in that space. Quite the opposite, since it undermines all of it. So when I first encountered rivalry and/or envy, I thought that maybe I was mistaken. And that maybe I was too sensitive.

This was wrong and wrong again. What really happened was that I didn’t have the emotional maturity and the skills to recognise when someone was trying to undermine me and make me feel insecure. As a result, I tried to give more of myself to compensate and to prove myself smart, capable, and worthy. This, in turn, resulted in a lack of clear boundaries, a lack of self-respect and self-worth. Simply put, it was a shitshow. It would be easy to point blame here, but the truth is that the shitshow would never have happened if I had known how to manage my mind and if I had clear boundaries. I was expecting my partner to make me happy and I could only be happy if my partner thought I was smart, capable, and worthy.

There are two things here. First, your partner can never make you happy. Yes, they can write little love letters and they can buy you flowers and that might make you think thoughts that make you feel happy. But it’s the thoughts you have that make you feel happy, not the gesture itself. That doesn’t mean that your partner can treat you like shit and that we can manage our mind to not let it impact us. That’s where boundaries come into play. Secondly, do not date people who do not think you are smart, capable, worthy. Because again, boundaries.

Looking at the relationships I had before pursuing emotional adulthood I mainly see two confused people trying to be happy, and expecting the other person to make them happy. It doesn’t work. I’m also not surprised that this is how many people pursue romantic relationships. It’s what we see in films and popular culture, and it’s how I saw adults pursue love when I grew up. That also never ended well though, so I’m not sure why I let that guide me when I was younger.

My behaviour in terms of relationships has changed massively over the past few years. I recognise that only I can make myself happy, and I try to never shift that responsibility over to my partner. I also know that I can’t bear the responsibility of my partner’s happiness. I know my boundaries better than ever before and I speak up if they’re ever crossed. If I bring up a problem or if my partner brings up a problem, I try with every inch of my body to not let that spin into a bigger discussion, to shift focus, or to place blame, but to really listen and understand.

All the thought work I’ve done over the past few years is yielding phenomenal results. It’s really bloody hard, and a teeny weeny part of me wishes I could have all the phenomenal results without the hard work, but I tried that for several years and I know that it doesn’t work. There’s no alternative. But I also think that being in an emotionally mature relationship requires both parties to have a lot of patience and perseverance. There are no limits for how grateful I am to be with someone who wants to grow with me, on good days and bad. To be quite honest, I think it’s like a little miracle.

Here are some things that have helped shape how I think about love and romantic relationships:
The subtle art of not giving a fuck, by Mark Manson
The Manual, by The Life Coach School
The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran

4

Hello and happy Monday! I don’t categorically *LOVE MONDAYS* the way some people claim they do, but I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by amazing people at work and that means that every Monday I’m really looking forward to seeing them. And today was a bit special since I headed to Stockholm to attend an interview with one of my Stockholm-based colleagues. Here’s what it looked like:

Breakfast on the train. Here’s a lifehack for you: if you travel 1st class on the train on SJ (Swedish Railway) you get breakfast in the morning, rock steady wifi and unlimited access to fruit, tea, coffee, and chocolate. And it rarely costs much more than a standard ticket.

Unfortunately 1st class doesn’t help again motion sickness which hit me like a wall about 40 minutes into the journey and then lasted for another four hours. Wow. I asked on Instagram if motion sickness gets worse with age and about 20 people concurred. This was especially shit as my train journeys to Stockholm normally consist of four hours of uninterrupted work. Oh well. Next time. And at least once I arrived I got to have lunch with the glorious Ivy. Ivy hired me to work in her old restaurant at the beginning of the decade. Since then she has become one of my best friends and one of my greatest shoulders to lean on.

After a speedy pit-stop lunch I hurried over to Computer Sweden’s offices where my colleague, aka Mapillary’s VP of Data Acquisition, was interviewed for a piece they’re writing about Mapillary. There are so many exciting things happening at work this quarter and I can’t wait for everything to go live with a bit of a BANG.

We just about finished the interview before I ran into the first café I could find to do two hours of back-to-back meetings.

Popped into Arket to see if I could find some knitwear after failing to find any in town this past weekend. I had extremely low levels of faith but I managed to find something! I think knitwear is really difficult. I only found one piece I liked last winter and I’ve worn it to the point where it wouldn’t be acceptable to use in public anymore. Shame, because I really liked it.

Went back to the hotel room for my evening calls. Many of my colleagues and our suppliers are based in the US so evening calls aren’t that uncommon. I know this probably sounds like a joke to many people, but I genuinely don’t mind. Quite the opposite, actually. I consider myself very, very lucky to get to work with such genius minds and I love working with the US market. It’s very different from working with the Swedish market, or the UK market which is where I used to work.

Once I’d wrapped up my calls I went to the gym, and here comes lifehack #2! If you bring your gym clothes for your work trip you will be very disappointed with yourself if you don’t go to the gym. As a wise marketer once said: just do it.

And then it’s now! Finishing off today with an apple and the latest episode of Vår tid är nu.

Great day. Love this little life.

10

I remember exactly where I was the first time I stumbled upon The Life Coach School podcast. I was in Bali, getting a pedicure, and even though it sounds great I was pretty miserable. I wasn’t happy with where I was in life and I couldn’t see a way forward. Many things happened during my two weeks in Bali. My current boss reached out and asked if I’d potentially be interested in joining the mindblowing company I’m now working at (more about that in another post) and, although I didn’t know it at the time, that in itself turned out to be very life-changing. Encountering the Life Coach School podcast was another life-changing event. I realise it sounds pretty melodramatic, but the impact it’s had on how I organise my thoughts, how I pursue my relationships, and how I tend to my mental health is difficult to understate.

I didn’t exactly dive deep into The Life Coach School when I first found it. I listened to a single episode, thought ”huh, that’s interesting”, and only picked it back up a few weeks later. I listened to another episode, then a third, then a fourth… The school of thought they’re pursuing made a great deal of sense to me and I had several aha moments in the first few months of listening to the podcast. I started identifying my victim mentality and how I—in spite of thinking that I was very emotionally mature—put my happiness down to circumstance and the behaviour of other(!) people. I now know that there are many things you can control in life, including your thoughts and feelings, but circumstance and other people’s behaviour is not it.

The Life Coach School, The Model, and how it’s helped me to do better
The foundation of The Life Coach School is The Model. It’s a five-step model that goes like this:

1. Circumstance
Circumstances are completely neutral. No circumstance is ever good or bad, it just is. Circumstances are facts, things that can be proven in a court of law.

2. Thoughts
We have thoughts about circumstances, and it’s our thoughts that make us perceive or decide that a circumstance is positive or negative, constructive or destructive. Thoughts are sentences in your head, and what’s great is that you can choose your thoughts. As human beings, we have the wonderful ability to think about our thoughts and decide whether we want the thoughts we’re thinking.

3. Feelings
Feelings are sensations in our body that come as a direct result of our thoughts. This is non-negotiable in The Model. Every feeling you have comes from a thought. It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling happy, sad, disappointed, ecstatic, mellow—that feeling comes from a thought that you’re thinking, deliberately or not.

4. Actions
All your actions come from a feeling. This is what you do or don’t do, the actions you take or don’t take.

5. Results
Every result we have in life comes directly from our actions or, indeed, our inactions.

So, it goes like this: Circumstances are neutral -> We have thoughts about circumstances -> Our thoughts determine our feelings -> Our feelings determine our actions -> Our actions drive our results. You can use this model for every ”problem” or circumstance you have in life to help you to think, feel, and act more constructively. Now! It’s easy to point at disasters and say, for instance, ”well my partner left me and I’m feeling pretty upset about that, if I could choose my feelings I would surely just not feel upset”. That’s not what The Model is suggesting. It is suggesting that you can look at the thoughts you have that cause your distress and choose whether you want to think that it is sad that your partner left you. Let’s look at two different models around our partner leaving us and how we want that to determine our future.

Unintentional Model:
C: My partner broke up with me
T: This is horrible and I will never feel this sort of love again
F: Sadness, despondency
A: Withdrawal, inaction
R: Loneliness

Instead, an intentional model might look like this:
C: My partner broke up with me
T: This means it wasn’t the right fit
F: Relief
A: Go out and meet new people
R: Make new friends/lovers/etc

The circumstance is completely neutral and remains the same—but how we think about it changes our results in remarkable ways. What’s great about the model is that regardless of the circumstance, you can ask yourself ”How do I want to feel? What do I need to think to feel that? Is that thought available to me right now?”. It might not be—the thought you need might not be believable to you yet. And then you need what is called a bridge thought. A bridge thought is a thought that is available to you now, that will train your mind to believe the thought you need to get the feeling you want. Let’s go back to the partner leaving us. The C-line is still that ”My partner left me”. If you want the thought ”I will find my love one day” and that isn’t believable to you yet, you need to find a thought that is. Perhaps ”I know that others have gone through breakups and then found love” could work. That could then transition to ”Other people have found love after a breakup, and it could happen to me too”, etc etera.

I have done many, many models to work through everything from insignificant bickering with my love to significant childhood traumas. It has helped me to separate out facts (circumstances), which I cannot control, to my thoughts and feelings about the facts, which only I can control. It has helped me to identify thoughts I wasn’t even aware that I was thinking (a great way of doing this is doing a Thought Download—take a piece of paper and write down all the thoughts you have about a certain situation/circumstance). It has helped me to redefine success and failure and made me realise that I can choose whether I want to think that something is a success or a failure.

The Model and the belief that I can control how I think, feel, and act, and thus the results in my life, has become the core of my belief system. This doesn’t mean that life is amazing all the time, or that I feel great all the time. There are many more things to say about this, like the idea that life is always 50% great and 50% not great and it will always be that way and it’s your thoughts that decide how you will experience the 50%-not-great-part, but I think this is enough for one post. Frida asked me to list my favourite Life Coach School podcast episodes and, if this is entirely new to you, I would recommend you to listen to the following (on 1.5 speed!):

If you think any of this sounds even vaguely interesting, give The Life Coach School podcast a listen. It might not be for you, but it might also change many, many things for the better.

Me, that week in Bali
11

Continuing on from this post.

So! Following a bit of Netflix on Saturday afternoon I got ready for a wild night out on town, which in my case constitutes a night at the cinema. Vicky and I went to Bio Spegeln, Malmö’s finest cinema, to watch Joker. It was pretty predictable and a bit uncanny, which, to be fair, is probably exactly what they were going for.

Malmö’s finest cinema. Try out Bar Deco if you get the chance, Malmös own Art Deco-style cinema where you can have a bit of food and drinks while watching the film.

We then went straight to L’Enoteca to try their non-alcoholic bubble tea. It’s a fizzy drink that reminds you of sparkling wine, but instead it’s made of… Tea? Pretty odd, but also quite fun. I go through periods of not drinking any alcohol and that’s where I am right now. When I trained for a half marathon two years ago I didn’t drink for three months and loved it, but I remember thinking it was quite dull whenever bars and restaurants didn’t have any fun virgin drinks with a bit of a punch. I usually end up getting a ginger beer of sorts with a lot of ground black pepper.

Bubble tea at L’Enoteca.

SUNDAY
There is this insane thing about living in a house and it is that all of a sudden you also have a garden. I was obsessed with fresh flowers before I moved into the house, but since then it’s just seemed a bit silly to buy flowers when there are lots of colourful *stuff* in the garden. But having a garden also means that you need to tend to it and we’re not amazing at that to be honest. Oh well. At least on Sunday we spent a good few hours putting leaves in piles and pulling ivy from the trees.

We went to my mum-in-law’s for an extraordinary meal in the evening. I always feel raw on Sundays and spending time with family makes me feel even rawer. I can get pretty emotional with gratitude and the simplest thing, like sharing a meal, just fills me with so much love. That’s not necessarily the case in the middle of the week when I’m trying to meet deadlines, take calls with the US in the evenings, maintain some sort of exercise routine, hang out with the kids, tend to my social life etc etc blah blah. You know. But Sundays are breathing space. And they always fill me with so much gratitude and humility. H actually asked me if I think we should say grace before dinner, and although I’m not religious I am very aware of how lucky we are to get to live such a wonderful life. So yes, I do think it would be appropriate for us to say grace.

And that’s it! That was my very Malmö weekend, and my first weekend off work in three weeks. It did wonders for my sanity levels and left me feeling recharged for the crazy week we’re currently in… But more about that later.

13

I started getting quite antsy towards the end of my London years. My party days were long gone and I no longer woke up hungover on Saturdays and Sundays. Instead, I wanted to do Real Things™, like go to a museum, or try a new restaurant, or visit Kew Gardens. I did many of these things, but the problem was that it always took at least an hour and a half one way to get anywhere. And yes, this is in spite of me living in Stoke Newington, a trendy part of London which is located in Zone 2 (and, in other words, not very far out at all). Planning a day around food, public transport, and day versus evening activities (because if you’ve left the house once, you don’t have time to go back and then out again) became such a headache that I usually just stayed in East London. I even remember asking a Swedish friend who lived in North London if they wanted to come over for dinner on a Saturday evening, and he said that ”that sounds great but you know the time it takes for me to get to yours is the same amount of time it takes to travel from Malmö to Kristianstad”. Wow. I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, and it sort of blew my mind.

So, fast forward to Malmö. Quelle surprise, everything takes less time here. My office is located on the other side of the city and it takes me 20 minutes to cycle there in the morning. To illustrate exactly how much stuff you can get done in the space of a weekend, I thought I’d share my past weekend with you—it was a very Malmö weekend. And in fact, so much happened that I’ll split it into two posts. What a little treat!

FRIDAY
Actually, we can sort of skip Friday since I went to my Dad’s in Helsingborg for dinner. But still, it took me 50(!) minutes to get from Malmö to Helsingborg. That feels like forever now, but compared to London it’s nothing.

SATURDAY
Woke up early, as I always do on the weekend, and had a quick breakfast with H (H is my big love, best friend, and all the rest of it) before cycling to Kallis, otherwise known as paradise on earth. I’m on the fence writing about Kallis, because that’s how much I love it and it’s already sort of crowded. Kallis is a nudist (gender-separated of course, let’s not get too excited/freaked out) bath and sauna house located on the sea. It’s open all year and it’s a wonderful Malmö institution. Those of you who follow me on Instagram have seen it several times on my feed.

My big love, Kallis.

In any case, I went to Kallis to meet up with Gabi. Gabi has worked with make-up for years on end and when she asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday I asked if she could teach me how to do my make-up. Yes, it’s true, I’m a 30-year-old very impatient woman who’s yet to learn how to do her makeup. Thankfully Gabi obliged and Saturday was the big day! After a two-hour-long sauna/swimming session we went back to mine where this happened:

A simple meal, inspired by the Malmö chef and food author Tuvessonskan. Make sure you get her latest book!

A simple yet extraordinary lunch, made by yours truly. Everyone knows that it’s important to be well-fed before learning anything new, including things like make-up. Then there was a whole lot of make-up-y things happening. Key takeaways: always use a primer, add see-through powder for the T-zone to remove any sweaty looks, find a great eyebrow pencil to help define your eyebrows (this is in addition to your eyebrow mascara). Thank you Gabi, for this glorious look of mine!

I know it looks like I’m not wearing much make-up, but it took 12 products to look this natural.

At this point, past breakfast, swimming, lunch, and our 1-1 make-up session, it was still just 3pm and there were three hours left until my next appointment (because yes, in Malmö you can make three social appointments in one day without going mad). So I did what any sane woman would do, I grabbed some chocolate and turned on Netflix.

I watched Unbelievable, which is a very suitable name for this based-on-real-events mini-series about a young woman who was raped by a serial rapist before falling victim to a remarkably broken justice system. Well worth watching.

And then I got ready for a wild night out on town. But I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow, when I’ll publish PT II.

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I’ve been thinking of writing little love letters to my Malmö life for a long time. Writing about thoughts and experiences, regardless of how big or small, makes a huge difference to me in time perception. I had a blog way back when and those years of my life are still the ones I remember the most vividly. I suspect it’s because I not only experienced things, but I also took the time to relive them by writing them down. And I’ve relived them again and again by reading all those blog posts again and again. Although I had a great time blogging about my experiences, my experiences in and of themselves were pretty harrowing and they’re not the years I want to remember the most vividly.

But these years since moving to Malmö might be.

I moved to Malmö in 2016 in what felt like a wild move. I’d spent the past almost ten years having London as my base, but in that time I’d also spent significant chunks of time in places like Wales, Uganda, South Africa, Berlin, France, and more. Still, London was my base and whenever I lived somewhere else, I always longed back. Something happened in 2016 though, and I’m not just talking about the Brexit referendum. Life in London was changing. It had been a few years since my friends and I graduated from university, people started leaving (I even wrote a blog post about this), the hustle and bustle became more of a nuisance than a thrill, and, quite frankly, I’d had enough avocado toast to last me a lifetime. It was no longer obvious why I paid so much more to live in London. So when the opportunity to move back to Sweden came, in a strange case of many stars aligning, I grabbed it.

Malmö has been one of the greatest blessings in my life (and this comes from someone who is known to count her blessings very regularly). The Swedish work/life balance has something to do with it for sure, but it’s not just that. It’s the proximity to the sea. It’s the fact that it has all the good stuff that a big city has, but none of the bad. It’s the food scene. It’s the size of the city. More than anything else, it’s the people. The barriers are lower and the opportunities are nearer, which I never would’ve thought. I’ve had a glorious time since moving to Malmö, and for the first time ever, I can’t see myself moving anywhere else. I even moved to New York last year which is something I’d dreamed about for years. I spent three months in New York and I could not wait to get back to Malmö. If that isn’t a testimony to how wonderful this city is, I’m not sure what is.

And for those of you who don’t know me, HELLO! I am so eager to get to know you. My name is Sandy, I’m 30 years old and I work in startup PR with the US and the UK as primary target markets. I live in a big house in Malmö with my partner and his three children, and I love them all dearly but you won’t see much of them here. I am Swedish, but in the name of accessibility, I will write in English. Don’t worry, I won’t just write about Malmö. I will also write about work, thought management, books I’ve read, thoughts I’ve thought, and I’m sure lots more.

JWHF feels like the ultimate platform for my little love letters, and I am so happy to be here! In a strange way, it almost feels like coming home. So, hello! This will be FUN.

A little snapshot from my 30th birthday, at my favourite happy place (our house), with my favourite people. It was as though I’d managed to put Malmö and all it is to me in a little box.

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