What would you save in a fire?

What Would You Save in a Fire?

That’s one of the favorite hypothetical questions of minimalist bloggers, don’t you find? What, amongst your hundreds or even thousands of possessions, would you actually save in a fire? Well, when two policemen pounded on our door at 4.30 am on Tuesday and told us to immediately evacuate our home all I could manage was to put on my coat and boots, grab The Poodle under my arm, and get the fuck out of there. It wasn’t our building that was on fire but one of the neighboring ones, but seeing as we live in one of the oldest areas of town where several hundred-plus-year-old wooden buildings stand wall-to-wall they weren’t taking any chances. By 5 in the morning more than 70 people were standing outside on the street, watching the fire and wondering whether we would have a home to return to by evening. I hadn’t even managed to grab my phone on the way out.

Communicationally challenged

Thankfully The Boyfriend had his phone and I managed to contact both my mom and my sister. I tried to contact my colleagues to let them know I was okay, but I didn’t know their numbers from memory and many of them were unlisted so I couldn’t look them up. Note to self: memorize the number of our reception desk for the next time I’m suddenly evacuated in my pajamas. I finally managed to reach a friend on Twitter, but by that time several hours had already passed. In the end we were unharmed, and so was our building. Everything turned out fine, and we got to return home nearly 7 hours after being evacuated.

Anyway, as I stood there and watched the firefighters put out the fire I ran through the following mental checklist:

  • The Boyfriend and The Poodle are safe: check.
  • Photos on Flickr: check.
  • Files in the cloud: check.
  • Insurance in order: check.

So what would I save?

And that was it. I didn’t manage to bring a single physical object with me out the door, and I didn’t care. Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t care if our house burned down – that would be ridiculous, not to say horribly offensive to the poor people whose building was actually destroyed. I would be devastated and heartbroken, and I can’t even imagine what they are going through. But in that moment I was just relieved to be right where I was with my loved ones nearby. Couches and TVs and clothes can be re-purchased. Boyfriends and pets? Not so much.

(That said, you better be damn sure I’m documenting all my belongings for insurance purposes as soon as I can, because next time we might not be as lucky)

So that was my week: a fire scare that very nearly made me put my money where my minimalist-loving mouth is, and a reminder to never own anything that you wouldn’t be willing to leave behind at a moment’s notice at four o’clock in the morning. And to always have your insurance, smoke detectors and fire escapes in order.

Guest post: Kanutten’s beauty routine

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!Hello boys and girls! It’s me again! Maja decided to take the day off so once again I will be your guest blogger for the day. You might already know me from posts such as Kanutten’s Travel Routine and Kanutten’s 5 Piece French Wardrobe, but today I have an extra special treat (did someone say treat?!) in store for you, my most guarded of secrets: my beauty routine.

I know, I can hear your gasps through the screen. I am going to tell you how to achieve my perfectly poofy tail, my beachy undone curls and my flawlessly manicured pieds. Just keep on reading!

Step 1

I hang out unsuspectingly on the couch until I am suddenly and completely without warning grabbed and lifted up into somebody’s arms. Now, this is something that frequently happens so don’t panic just yet: there’s no need to actually panic until your humans remove your collar. The removal of the collar means one thing and one thing only: bath time. Red alert, red alert, this is not a drill! This is where you should start casually hiding and/or begging for mercy. As you can see in the below picture, I often go for the latter and it is always completely futile.

Bath time happens about every two weeks, and is followed by a full grooming-slash-makeover every four weeks. I’m not good at keeping time, so I never know which one it is. My life is full of surprises.

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Step 2

This is where I am carried into the shower. This is a humiliating but necessary step, as Maja often thinks I smell like pee or feet (or a mixture of the two) when it has been two weeks since my last bath time. I do two rounds of shampoo and one round of conditioner to make sure my fur is squeaky clean.

By the way, this picture is the one I chose to illustrate bath time. Maja, however, had other plans…

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Bitch made a collage. I hate her.

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Step 3

This is where I get wrapped up in a towel and make sure to look pathetically adorable. This will encourage sympathy, and in turn, encourage Maja to give me treats. Also, Maja forgot to put on makeup that day even though she knew she would be taking photographs. Haha, sucker. Look at those sad-ass brows.

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Step 4

Blow dry! Blow-drying me is a two person job: one person holds the dryer and one person wields the hair brush. I like this part, except when they want to comb my legs and my belly. That I do not like. I start to wiggle and twitch and make whiny little diva noises.

After my bath and blow-dry I am always given treats. Then I’m let outside to have a tinkle. Bath time leaves me very excited and if they forget to take me out I will pee on the couch. Or on the floor. Wherever, really. What can I say: I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it.

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Step 5

Face grooming. Maja always starts by cutting the hair on my head and ears, as that is done with scissors and scissors aren’t scary. The tiny blue clippers, however – those are scary. I hate them. But I stand on my towel like a boss and face the ordeal with only minor wiggling and whining. Did I tell you I used to be a beauty queen show dog before these people adopted me? I lost a tooth in a very innocent fight (so innocent! And that bitch totally had it coming!) and all of a sudden I couldn’t do shows anymore because I was no longer perfect. Fuck unattainable beauty standards, y’all. We’re all beautiful. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah: My beauty queen past means I’m a pro at standing still.

P.S: She also uses the tiny blue clippers on my paws and… tushie. So humiliating. I like to protest against the grooming of my derrière by sitting down on the clippers, which strangely enough hurts nobody but myself. Go figure.

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Step 6

Body grooming. God, I feel so naked. Maja used to really take her time with this part and cut my fur in a fancy poofy shape using scissors, but these days she has a giant clipper which she sets to 10mm before she just goes to town. I swear, you’d think she was clipping a sheep! I love it though, because the vibrations from the clippers double as a full body massage. I close my eyes and pretend I’m at a light and modern spa (instead of on top of a crappy old towel on a table in front of the TV while we watch QI).

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Step 7

Manicure. Oh god, whatever you do, don’t make eye contact with that thing! I hate that thing!

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!Fine fine, I guess a little trim of the fingernails might be in order. Careful with the cuticles. And don’t make eye contact. A little paw twitching is also important, just to let people know who’s really in charge.

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Voilá

Then you’re done! I promise you, after this 1 hour and 30 minutes of grooming and pampering you will feel like a completely new poodle. You will also get more treats and be let out to tinkle again to make sure you don’t pee on the carpet. Fun times! Aren’t I pretty?

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

Bonus: You will have completely wrecked whatever your groomer was wearing that day. Score.

Kanutten the apricot toy poodle shows you her full 90 minute beauty routine, including bath-time, grooming and a manicure. Bonus: a totes adorbs towel-snap!

I hope this was interesting to you, and that I have inspired you to further improve your own beauty routines!

So you want to be a scandinavian?

How to dress for a Scandinavian winter

About a month ago I got the following message on Facebook from an English friend of mine:

“We are probably moving to Stockholm/Uppsala in the next few months and I thought maybe you could give me some tips on how to dress for Nordic weather. What should I buy before I leave and what are the most important pieces of clothing and accessories that I will need to see me through the long winters. My wardrobe is pitifully in need of updating after spending the last 10 years living as a student so I really need to get buying some new pieces, so any recommendations about how to start putting together a nice wardrobe would be very handy too!”

Furthermore she had this to day about English weather:

“We very rarely get snow here at all, like maybe once a year at most. Its just rains incessantly. And the problem with British people is that we don’t know what to do about cold or snow or rain or sun so we just keep wearing the same clothes and moan about it more.”

And of course I would love to help! I complain about our winters a lot, but I sure do know how to get through them without being wet or cold.

 

First of all: Find out what the climate is like where you are going, because there is no such thing as one Nordic climate. Where I live it doesn’t get very cold all that often, but it rains for 2/3 of the year and our summers are a joke. In other places it might not be that rainy but instead be cold as hell. Do your research and save yourself a few sartorial headaches!

Socks

Let’s start at the bottom first, shall we? If you Brits really are as hopeless as you say you are then I bet you only own cotton socks. Cotton socks are fine, but when it gets cold you really want wool. Now, I know what you are thinking: Maja, you are crazy, wool socks are thick and bulky and can’t really fit inside my shoes! Wrong my shivering Brit! Buy yourself a couple of pairs of thin wool socks for those extra frosty days. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. That doesn’t mean I’m against the thick bulky ones, but I find they are best used inside the house (or worn inside boots that you accidentally bought too large).

How to dress for a Scandinavian winter

Shoes

For a Scandinavian winter you really need proper boots. Do not buy synthetic leather – your feet will get sweaty and disgusting and they will smell and you will hate your life. Trust me, you want leather. Get a pair that is lined for all-around toastiness: I have a pair of fleece lined Doc Marten’s, but other people swear by brands like Sorel. You could also get unlined boots, but in that case you should make sure you can fit those extra thick wool socks inside them. Also, don’t get Uggs. Just don’t. They are bad for your feet and they are not made for rain and snow. You probably need a pair of wellies as well, but trust me, they will not double as winter boots.

How to dress for a Scandinavian winter

Base layer

So you’ve got your wool socks and you are hopefully wearing underwear. Congratulations! You don’t need any special underwear to become a Scandinavian, but you do need something between your underwear and your everyday clothes, namely either wool mix or thermal tights and tops. These will be your best friends. You will wear them under sweatpants when walking the dog, you will wear them underneath your lighter and not-quite-winter-appropriate tops once it gets colder, you will wear them when hiking, you will wear them ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes you might slip into the bathroom at work and peel this layer off because it is too warm inside. This is why we layer: it’s not a fashion statement, it is a necessity. Just remember to keep the layers many and thin instead of few and bulky, okay? This makes it easier to adjust from street to office.

How to dress for a Scandinavian winterMid layers

I can’t speak for the whole of Scandinavia here, but with the exception of shorts, summer skirts and thin summer tops, you will mostly wear the same clothes all year round (see: layering). That wool sweater you wore to death in January? You might need to break that sucker out one July evening when your newfound Scandi-friend wants to take you crab fishing. Your jeans will be worn all year round (so please don’t buy the ones with large rips in them, because you’ll effectively have less jeans in rotation come winter). Sometimes it will be 12 degrees and raining in August. Sometimes it will be 12 degrees and raining in December. You never know. It happens. Learn to love your clothes, because they will always be in the loop. Skirts can be worn with 20 denier nylon tights in summer or double wool tights in winter. T-shirts can be worn with long-sleeved wool tops underneath and a plaid shirt on top.

 

A word of caution: Spring and fall will be a confusing time for you. You will be freezing in the morning and boiling by lunch, courtesy of the huge floor-to-ceiling windows that we love to equip our office buildings with. Layers are your friend. Say it with me: Layers are your friend. Peel them off and go on your merry way.

How to dress for a Scandinavian winter

Outerwear

Okay. We have established that you need good socks, proper winter boots, some light wool/thermal tops and tights and that you need to be prepared to wear the same damn clothes for most of the year, so now it is time to pick out your winter outerwear.

First of all: A warm coat or parka. Screw jackets, get a coat or parka. Something that will keep your butt and upper thighs warm. A coat will need to have a high wool content (preferably 70% or higher) and be practical for your needs. I don’t know whether you need to look dressy or if you need to be waterproof and practical, but define your need and keep it in mind when you go shopping. There’s no need to waste cash on a beautifully flared Disney princess coat if you spend 45 minutes walking to work in the rain every morning, and there’s no need getting an arctic-proof Canada Goose parka if you drive everywhere (although I’m sure someone will argue me on that one). Most of us need both a practical and a stylish option during the colder months, so you might find that you need to own both a Disney coat and the kind of parka that could survive the tundra. You know this better than I do. Either way, you will be wearing this garment for a huge chunk of the year so pick a good one! And for goodness’ sake, if you’re buying a parka make sure it is waterproof. Non-waterproof parkas are pointless.

Second of all: hats, gloves and scarves. They’re not mere accessories, oh no. They are necessities in their own right. The wool content rule also applies here, i.e the higher the better. I’m a simple girl: I own three wool scarves, a gray and a black beanie, and two pairs of knitted fingerless gloves plus a pair of lined leather gloves. They are my workhorses and I would be an icicle without them.

Before I continue I will leave you with an honorable mention: The wool Buff. It can be a headband, it can be a scarf, and it takes up no space at all. Invaluable if you like to be in activity outdoors, or if you would like to keep your ears warm without ruining your hairdo. I always wear one when I go hiking or running in the winter.

How to dress for a Scandinavian winter

Other things to keep in mind

  • Rain gear might be a good idea. This depends on where you will be moving, but a rain jacket and rain pants might very well prove themselves invaluable. I wear my rain pants so often it makes me want to weep. Remember: snow is water, too!
  • Do you run? Fleece-lined running tights, baby.
  • Need a new everyday bag? Save yourself the headache and make it a waterproof one.
  • Embrace unsexy sleepwear. Wool socks, sweatpants and a longsleeved tee is perfectly acceptable in the winter. No shame.
  • Buy a hardcore lip balm and hand cream. And a good moisturizer. And a hair mask.
  • Remember to treat those leather boots! They will keep you dry and warm through rain and slush and ice, so buy a good leather conditioner and give them a pampering every 4 weeks or so in the roughest months.
  • Buy a Moomin mug. They check your luggage for Moomin mugs on the border and they won’t let you move here unless you have one.

And that was it: you are now prepared and ready to become a full-fledged Scandinavian.