The Nordic nations have more than one common trait, but there is one trait that tops it all; Second-Hand-Shopping. You might think, well that is nothing new to me, I’ve purchased a second hand car last Autumn and last year I went to a garage sale that my neighbour held and a year before that I bought an antique comb with Mozart’s face on the handle from the city of Salzburg. But you are wrong! You can’t even comprehend how deep the culture of second hand buying is rooted in the hearts of the Scandinavian people. It is more natural for us to buy a second hand good than a first hand one. The rule is that unless a product is not easily found in a second hand hub, then we buy it off the shelves.  

The Swedish and second hand buy

Sweden has a website called Blocket where you can browse through the nations’ unwanted products. Denmark has Gul og Gratis and Norway has Finn. It doesn’t end there but those links will give you a glimpse of what the second hand market looks like in Scandinavia. If you are a Swede and you don’t have the Blocket application on your phone or tablet, then you might as well not call yourself a Swede.

At first you might think we are cheap, or rather odd, but eventually you will learn that there is so much good that comes out of this act that makes it remarkable. I would like to think that we are re-using goods and hence contributing to saving the planet. We are minimising waste, spending less, helping individuals rather than conglomerates, preserving our heritage, promoting nostalgia, learning to trust one another, finding unusual stuff that you would never find in a seasonal shopping spree and all and all, having a ton of fun. I know, I know….. It all sounds too good to be true! There are those very few occasions where you buy a product and find out that it wasn’t as functioning as it should have been, or the stain wasn’t as removable as you had thought it was, but overall the benefits definitely outweigh the few mishaps.

I sometimes wonder, how much longer would the Earth survive if everyone had the same view on second hand shopping as we did.


swedish and second hand buy.

swedish and second hand buy. 

swedish and second hand buy.

There are no laws in this regard, which I think there should be. Too much perfume is a definitive harassment case. Why? Because you are deliberately disturbing another being. You may ask how much is too much? After a lot of experimenting I can say that there is a quantifiable measure to live by. Two puffs ladies and gentlemen, two puffs and not a puff more. Also not on your clothes, but on your skin. Perfumes are made to be sprayed on skin.

Culture of perfume

Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932) The Perfume Maker  Oil on panel

Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932) The Perfume Maker
Oil on panel

I have noticed culture plays a big part in regards to the social norm of perfume-puffing. In the middle-east the moto is the more the merrier, whilst in Scandinavia, less is considered more. There are those locations in the world that are more metropolitan such as London or NYC where you will meet all sorts of people with different preferences.

Empathic perfume consumption

If this topic seems trivial to you then you are not a sufferer of this nuisance. If you are one of those who gets concurrent migraines, or your sense of smell is stronger than others, you have asthma or you have relevant allergic reactions then you know why this is an important subject and why is this a matter that needs consideration.

If there are no laws to protect a minority, it is not the end of the world. We can start with empathy and work our way from there. Empathy is the foundation of justice.

Just a few days before the Christmas holidays, I passed by some sales people who were handing out Gold-cream samples. Yes, you read it correctly. Gold Cream. After listening to the sales person babbling on about how gold rejuvenates skin, I decided to do a little research of my own. I found out that there are no solid studies that provide accurate data about gold having positive effects on skin. If anything there are more studies that discard the idea altogether.


Medical Daily has an article with the title “Gold Skin Products Cause Wrinkles and Speed Aging Process”. In this article it explains how there are contradictory assumptions on this matter. I am not going to bore you with facts and figures that you can easily find out by Googling yourself, but what I am going to do is tell you another side of this story.

How far are we willing to go to look younger?

nutrition-walnutsPaying 100s of Euors for a facial crème is mad, don’t you agree? The history of human-over-consumption is nothing new, but isn’t there a limit? what are healthcare departments for? Do they just check a product by its ingredients? If you ask me, one of the ingredients should be humanity. Every label must have a percentage on how humane the product is. We need to justify our purchases at some point. Swarovski bedazzled cars, £1.2m Champagne (Goût de Diamants) bottles, Castles made for two people, million dollar haircuts, and now gold crèmes. When are we going to put our foot down and realize that there are starving children out there who need our help.


Many designers, two brands, one country.

Denmark is known for it’s delicious pastries, but there is one more thing that I personally associate very closely to Denmark and that is their Furniture industry. The Danish have style. Two of my favorite furniture brands are from Denmark, Bolia and BoConcept. We have to acknowledge that there are major similarities between the two brands, but there are those little differences that makes one of them better than the other one.

  1. Bolia’s furniture has better quality. This is spoken from personal experience. Having had furniture from both companies, my BoConcept extendable dining table is now all ruined (after only one year). Why? The MDF material is very sensitive therefore the thin coating on the top doesn’t suffice to keep it unharmed by water. For instance when I wipe the table with a a damp cloth the top colored layer is detached from the MDF.
  2. Delivery Time– BoConcept delivery was postponed due to late shipment of their product. The delivery was delayed to 6 weeks later than the scheduled time.
  3. Ignorance- My Volani highboard with drop down door from BoConcept which arrived 6 weeks late, had one of the doors screwed one centimeter below where it should’ve been attached, hence making the appearance of the furniture uneven.
  4. Design – I have to say design wise, both brands compete closely. For me, BoConcept designs are more fit for smaller houses (Compact Living) whereas Bolia’s furniture usually require a lot of space.
  5. Price – Bolia has very good offers on their sofas lately so it is really worth it. For me BoConcept is priced mostly based on design rather than quality.

Having pointed out the above, the winner is Bolia for sure! Comment if you have something to add or disagree with my points. As I said before, these are just from personal experiences.

What comes in to your mind when the word Nordic pops up? Most people think of snow, cold weather, puffy jackets, Alaskan landscape, blonde beauties, people in sporty outfits, hiking, the outdoors and knitted sweaters. To prove my point you could just Google the word Nordic and see what sort of images come up.

But what does it truly mean?

To me it is more about abstract nouns. When I think about the word “Nordic” these are the words that come into my mind: individuality, equality, feminism, loneliness, simplicity and practicality. Once one experiences the Nordic lifestyle, it is merely inevitable to overlook these concepts. Join us on this blog to learn more about the Nordic lifestyle.


Swedish-Iranian Singer, Laleh Pourkarim is one of the most well known pop artists of the Scandinavian region as of today. Her hit single, “Some die young” remained number one in Norway for eight weeks straight. She sings both in Swedish and English, which makes her more recognisable on an international level. Outside Scandinavia, Laleh may be more known as an alternative singer than a pop singer.  You can check out her website to get a better feel of her music: