ASIDE FROM Daddy daycare (Pappi playtime?), living the Scandi dream for kids means swapping an indoor existence for an outdoor one. And I don’t just mean frolicking about on lakeside beaches when it’s sunny. No, Nordic babies toughen up from birth by taking all of their naps outside, even in winter. If Pappi wants to warm up with a coffee, he leaves the sprog in buggy outside the café. This continues at nursery where toddlers play and nap outside in anything down to minus 10C.
The trick is in the clothing, for as the old Russian saying goes: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.” To be fair, this meant in “olden times”, to coin Louis’s phrase, children pretty much sat out winter, snoozing their way through the long, dark days in countryside cabins because their home knitwear wasn’t up to the task. But it was all change in the 1970s when Polarn O Pyret, the iconic stripy Swedish kidswear brand, hit the scene with its durable, weatherproof overalls and trousers.
This made the Nordic feminist revolution a happy triumvirate of working women, warm children, and proliferating nurseries, which expanded rapidly from the early 1970s to give mums somewhere to dump their kids. Indeed, Polarn’s MD, Maria Oqvist, told me the main reason the company churned out so much outerwear was so Scandi mothers could earn a crust happy in the knowledge that their children were snug. Not to mention stylishly clothed.
Given our camping plans and northern European summer weather, I figured I’d need to waterproof both boys before setting off. As it’s annoyingly cheaper to buy Scandi in London than shop locally this meant a trip to the Polarn concession in House of Fraser rather than a fun shop in situ. Having the right gear somewhat eased the pain of driving into winter as we clocked up the kilometers north. But I somehow still managed a walk in a Roros blizzard, in JUNE, with both small people woefully underdressed because I’d forgotten to pile on the layers. You can take a mum out of London......