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Lisen Sundgren at the Gothenburg Book Fair

September 27, 2010

My past weekend was spent at the book fair of Gothenburg (that’s in Sweden, for those who didn’t know). It was my first bigger book fair – the Helsinki one is nothing in comparison – and the experience was chaotic and confusing, but fantastic.

An unexpected surprise was to see that Lisen Sundgren would be interviewed at the fair. Lisen is the author of two books on how to make your own skin care products: Lisens örtspa and the more recent Lisens indiska spa. Unfortunately I think netiher can be found in English yet, as far as I’m aware (though Lisens örtspa is translated to Finnish: Ihana kotikylpylä). These books have been great inspiration to me, and especially Lisens örtspa, which really got me interested in making my own homemade beauty products. So I was really excited to hear what she had to say.

Lisen Sundgren performed at the health section of the fair with only a 20 minute long program, which turned out to be less than 15 minutes long. So there wasn’t really much time to get into things, and I had hoped to hear a bit more about her personally, how she had started out and why she thought it important to make your own products and not use store-bought products. The interview focused mostly on how to take care of yourself internally and spiritually, which is interesting in its own ways, but can easily get a bit … wishy-washy. And it’s not like we’ve heard all that before (I bet half of the other talks at the health stage were on the same topic).

Having that said, she did say a lot of interesting things during the short interview. Lisen has traveled a lot to India, and is very interested in the ayurvedic lifestyle, which also can be seen in her second book about indian home spa. Some things that are important to leading a healthy life, according to Lisen and ayurveda, are routines. One should go to sleep at the same time and wake up about the same time (7 a.m. is the best time to get up, urgh), and eat ones meals at the same times each day. This makes a lot of sense, but especially the eating part can be rather difficult at least for me who sometimes come home quite late.

The most interesting, however, was when she talked about daily life, and making your daily life worth living in. According to Lisen, homemade spas shouldn’t (only) be something you plan weeks in beforehand to arrange with your friends, it should be something that you do as a part of your routine. Taking a bath in the morning with some essential oils or herbs, maybe also a fruit mask once a week, will make your day less stressful and you’ll be more prepared for whatever struggles a day might bring. And even though going away to see other countries now and then is nice enough, it shouldn’t be to escape your normal life. With her own words: Create an everyday life that you want to live in, not one that your trying to escape.

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