Review – Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced LivingLagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I feel like I was perhaps unfairly influenced whilst reading this, as it was so soon after finishing The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People , as there are many similarities to both the content and the style of the books.
Lagom has many of the same ideas or lifestyle philosophies of the Lykke and it’s predecessor The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well and is published in the same format, a rather small and compact yet beautiful hardback book with a focus on sleek design accompanied by stunning photos.
However I found that Lagom had a lack of.. focus or flow throughout the book, and whilst it too had lovely pictures of homes that were ‘just enough’ and not too showy, that minimalist yet cosy feel of IKEA, there were also several design flaws – mostly dark text on dark backgrounds. As someone with perfect eyesight I struggled reading parts of the book due to this – however this is down really to the publisher rather than the author, I would really have thought that in 2018, accessibility would be an essential component to a professionally published book?

Plus points were really interesting information about community living and facts about the focus on home life/worklife balance and things like shared parental leave. There’s also several recipes that may get used particularly at Christmas.
Overall I gave it a 3/5 because I liked it but didn’t love it, however if you’re a Scandophile like me then it’s probably worth laying your hands on.

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Bout of Books Day 3-4

So my week of reading is not going quite as planned, I’ve been really busy as well as trying to fight off a stinking cold that is threatening to ruin my long standing plans to run a 10K this weekend. But I managed to find time to do the day 3 challenge for Bout of Books “5 Favourites” and with that I present 5 of my favourite book covers. I would say that a good cover design is definitely something that will make a book stand out – particularly when in a physical store (especially if the cover is embossed and made of a nice feeling paper), although buying online can be a visual game as well I guess.


Don DeLillo – is one of the newer, sexy Penguin Modern Classics covers that come in silver and white. I have loads of these actually, but this is a favourite because of the stereotypical images of Americana on the front. Top right is Tom Perrotta’s the Abstinence Teacher, not entirely sure what it was about this, perhaps the white border that complements the white trim of the shorts so well?

Road to nowhere – this was a Goodreads giveaway win, I’ve taken so many photos myself of this nature, roads with vanishing points, empty expanses. Also the cover is made with this really unusual matt paper, it feels very nice to hold, I think I liked the cover more than the story. The final two I bought together, they were on display at Daunt books in London, which many other lovely designed books. the Camus one is almost booklet ish, being around 30 pages in total, the Baudelaire cover attacked me because of the letterpress style type face, and the cover is slightly embossed, I have no idea whether it was traditionally printed by letterpress or whether it’s printed modernly to look vintage in style, either way I love it, unfortunately though the cover does not have any sort of protective film and therefore porous which means it’s already getting grubby from being in bag to and from work!

Day 4 of the readathon I didn’t get too much done again, I have my Critical Reading class on Thursday nights, so I spent my day checking out some poetry for a mini assignment. I went with Maya Angelou’s Women Work as we had to say what made the poem poetic, thinking about structure and language. I don’t really know much poetry thanks to school not managing to make it engaging (sorry, War Poetry was not interesting to this girl at 14), so it’s only in the last year (after going to a poetry reading) that I’ve had an interest. I feel like a complete novice as I don’t really know what a lot of the terms mean and keep having to look things up, but at least I’m learning something.

Art in Salford at Christmas

I know, I know, it’s only the middle of November, but with the Christmas Markets in Manchester open and Zippy Claus sat proudly outside the town hall it means that time of year is well and truly upon us. I’ve noticed that as we’ve settled firmly into the recession there has been a marked return to handmade, individual items and an increase of interest in various arts & craft style fairs. It seems I get a couple of emails about various events selling art/craft/design/prints along side regular vintage fairs each month. With, it seems quality prevailing and you only have to spend 10 minutes (well if you can get away that fast) on Etsy or Folksy to see that there’s a thriving market for people who want something unique or limited, something a bit different.

Christmas Markets

So as I mentioned it’s the middle of November and I’ve already had no less than 3 invites to Christmas fairs/sales in Salford, all within spitting distance of each other. First up is The Casket Works Open Studios event atCow Lane, Salford, M5 4NB on this weekend Friday 23rd (6-9pm) & Saturday 24th November (11am-5pm). Featuring Hot Bed Press with their annual Under The Bed Sale of prints between £3 – £50, and the launch of this years 20:20 Print Exchange, Cow Lane Studios and Suite Studios, there’s bound to be something to tickle your fancy, I hear there might even be a mince pie and some vino too…
Next up is Islington Mill‘s annual Christmas At The Mill Thursday 29th November from 4-9pm, just across the way from The Casket Works,  on James Street, Salford M3 5HW. “The Mill’s residents will be offering range of beautiful, limited edition pieces, from ceramics and jewellery, to photography and printmaking. As well as the wide range of crafts on sale, there will also be a feast of festive favourite for you to enjoy. Mulled wine, homemade soup and mince pies are all on the menu, plus enchanting sounds from members of the BBC Philharmonic. Making Christmas at The Mill the perfect winter evening warmer”.
I really enjoyed the Mill’s Christmas Fair last year, sampling some tasty food as well as picking up some awesome Pantone flavoured Christmas cards made by Raw.

Christmas By Colour – by Raw

Last but not least Salford Museum & Gallery, on Salford Crescent right next to the University is having a Victorian Christmas with Father Christmas, a craft fair full of handmade gifts,  Music, craft activities to name a few – Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd December 1-4pm. Their cafe also has some very, very fine cakes to sample if you get the chance.

Intro to Illustrator

So tonight was the night of my Introduction to Graphic Design, the night we cracked open the secret chest that holds the mysteries of Illustrator. Illustrator is really different to use compared to Photoshop, and most of my friends who use it have described as a steep learning curve. After failing to grasp the basics with ‘Illustrator for dummies’ to hand, and obviously proving to the world, what a real dummy I was, I managed to get a friend round to show me the basics. This made me go ‘oh’ as I realised what it was that I was doing wrong with points and nodes and handles. The ‘oooh’ as I was shown all these ‘simple but fancy’ things that made stuff look cool. However, me being me (the professional procrastinator) had a play myself but then didn’t really progress past that. So when my local college announced a free course that included Illustrator, to be held at a school even more locally – I jumped at the chance.

Quackers Mate

So here you have it – my first attempt at drawing, practicing and messing around in a 2 hour lesson.

Ok so I’m no Leonardo yet, but just you wait…

Night School

Only a quickie post tonight, as I’ve been at night school – an introduction to graphic design course being run in conjunction with Salford College and Oasis Academy, Media City. For 10 weeks every Monday evening I’m attempting to learn about layers, layer masks and other such stuff in an attempt to improve my skills. We’ve spent the first 3 weeks using Photoshop, so I thought I’d post my effort up here – it’s a composite using images from the internet that describe you (i did my best to find creative commons images, harder than you would imagine).

Next week comes the harder, but more exciting part – getting to grips with Illustrator, which was my main reason for doing the course in the first place.