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Coming Spring 2024

Almost twenty years ago I packed my bags and left the UK behind me, venturing into the land of forests and meatballs, a.k.a. Sweden. It is only now I can truly say that I have fully embraced the Nordic way of life. It wasn't an overnight transformation, but rather a gradual process of self-discovery and personal growth borne through necessity rather than desire. It took time to truly appreciate the wisdom behind the popular watchwords associated with Scandinavia, such as sisu, hygge, mys, haill, friluftsliv and Þetta reddast. 

These terms hold deep wisdom and meaning and collectively define Scandinavian culture. Hygge taught me the value of finding joy in the simple pleasures of life, savouring each moment, and the importance of nurturing relationships. It is the art of making life as beautiful and pleasant as possible. Sisu, with its Finnish origins, embodies resilience and unwavering determination in the face of challenges.


Haill, a Norwegian word, encapsulates a sense of celebration and cheerfulness and more directly can be used as a reference to sex. Apparently Haill before a fishing trip ensures a good catch! Mys encouraged me to embrace enjoyment and comfort in all aspects of life. From comfortable clothing (mysbyxa) to Friday evening treats, (fredagsmys), the word mys sums up the essence of Swedish values and beliefs. If unsure what may become of a situation, fear not. The optimistic, resilient Icelanders have that covered with their motto, Þetta reddast. It will all work out in the end.


But beyond these catchy terms, living in Scandinavia has opened my eyes to the beauty of friluftsliv, awarding me a deep appreciation for nature.  Through the unintentional practice of forest bathing and natural therapy, I have developed respect and love for the outdoors and it, in turn, has nurtured, supported, comforted and healed me. 


To claim that I have become a Nemophilist may be an exaggeration, though at times it feels that way. Having distanced myself from my previous life, where I worked twenty hours a day as a legal professional, and was the life and soul of a party, the change in me is unrecognisable.  Beyond the sensible shoes and weather-resistant outerwear, it has altered the way I perceive the world and prioritise my well-being. In retrospect, had I not embarked on this path,  the outcome may have been far bleaker

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Latest release:

Where the F**k is Blönduós?

Having survived a terrifying burglary, Emma had reached a point in life where she feared being awake and dreaded falling asleep. She grabbed her late mother’s notebooks, packed her car with warm clothes and a swimsuit that had seen better days, and caught a ferry to Iceland.

Surtsey was an unexpected eruption - just as my own birth was unplanned and something of an interruption. So captivated by the magic of Iceland, our mother returned home with a bar of Toblerone for each of us. There were no hugs or questions as to our welfare. My sisters and I had been alone for three weeks. I was almost 5 years old.

Inspired by several trips to Iceland including a six-month journey in wintertime, “Where the f**k is Blönduós?” is moving, honest, and entertaining. Why would a middle- aged woman choose to spend a winter alone in the far north of Iceland? It’s a fair question, though the answer isn’t quite so straightforward.

I dreamed of lying on a blanket gazing up into the night sky, holding my breath in anticipation of the colourful aurora that may soon dance overhead, without being asked, “Will you be long?”

By battling the elements, conquering her fears, and learning to knit, all under the watchful gaze of the small community, Emma made sense of the past, found peace with the present, and felt strong enough to deal with the future.

Book cover of Where the f***k is Blönduos? by Emma Strandberg


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Fully Booked

"It isn't called 'running' a bed and breakfast for nothing."

It isn’t called “running” a bed and breakfast for nothing. What do you do when you move to a foreign country and haven’t yet mastered the language and customs? Take it easy or find an old house in need of rebuilding and open a bed and breakfast? Never one to run from a challenge, that’s exactly what forty-something Emma Strandberg did in an idyllic seaside town on the west coast of Sweden – in the middle of a winter where temperatures dipped the mercury to minus twenty-two!


With feet of snow, few daylight hours and a very small budget, Emma battled constantly with the challenges thrown at her. It grew so cold the plaster and paint turned to slush, wood snapped and cracked in the old house and the frequent night climbs onto the roof resulted in bruises, cuts and a couple of broken bones. Having survived the renovation the real business of running a bed and breakfast began.

No sleep, a lack of privacy and the odd drunken threesome (by the guests!) would push her to her limit. Kindness, generosity and warmth shown by others saved her from defeat. With perseverance and determination, Emma succeeded in living her dream. Here you can share her extraordinary journey.


About Emma

I would like to say I write through a profound “calling”. The truth is I started writing at an early age to avoid PE. If I could get out of wearing an aertex shirt, gym shorts and trainers that were too big for me I’d do whatever I could! I took me many years to realise that writing is what “makes me tick”.  


No matter where in the world I find myself, the ritual of sitting down and writing makes me feel at home.  Travel has always been an important part of my life. My work has taken me worldwide including for extended periods in the Far East, Middle East, Europe, and Scandinavia. If possible I opt for slow modes of transport these days. Rivers fascinate me and I have cruised many including the Irrawaddy, Amazon, Ganges, and Nile. I observe people, places and the natural world and write about what inspires me. 

I live surrounded by nature on the west coast of Sweden.

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