Why we are moving to Panama

At a family wedding in Glencarse, Scotland, captured by the wonderful Wedding Photographer Zoe!

At a family wedding in Glencarse, Scotland, captured by the wonderful Wedding Photographer Zoe!

You might have heard by now. We’re moving to Panama. Actually, Vini has already been there for about a month. I stayed behind to sort out things with the apartment. I sold most of our belongings, keeping only a couple bags and boxes of things and winter clothes. I’m moving this Friday, the 5th, and we’ll be there for minimum a year, maybe longer. So many things are running through my mind every day, I’m exhausted constantly because of all the decision-making, organizing and other things that need to happen. Moving abroad is absolutely as exciting as it sounds, but it can also be super tiring. Like I’ve touched on before on this blog, but perhaps mostly in stories on my Instagram account, my life is absolutely not as glamorous as it may look or sound. And I just want to remind you that a lot of hard work goes into everything that I do. Nothing has come easily, nor has it come for free.

Sadly, this move means saying goodbye to my job in Copenhagen, my dear friends in Malmö, and by extension also in Stockholm and the rest of Europe. We’ve said our goodbyes to family members as well, and now we’re waiting for them all to come visit us in Panama City. I’ve also sold my 70-80 house plants, which was a sad but extremely successful event a month ago.

But why Panama? Well, that’s easy. Vini got a job offer and [we] said yes. People keep asking me what I’ll do there. My answer is still the same: I’m not really sure. But I do know there are lots and lots of opportunities and I’m excited to explore them all! I’m hoping I’ll find a group of people who love plants and a group that might go for jungle hikes now and then, and I’ll definitely kill some time by learning Spanish properly. And who knows, maybe I’ll open a perfume shop or start my own niche brand? What I do know with 100% certainty is that I’ll be with the person that means the most to me, my husband and partner in life.

I promise I’ll write more about life in Panama when I’ve landed. Amongst many things, I’m curious to see what their gay culture has to offer. If you know anything about Panama that you think might interest me, send me a message! And see you on the other side [of a very long flight]!

My favorite places in Malmö and Copenhagen

My husband Vini and I receive visitors in our apartment in Malmö quite often. Sometimes family members, sometimes friends, all traveling from near and far. They are always in the mood for exploring Malmö and Copenhagen and so we usually take them to our favorite spots, and if there’s still time after that, we try to find something new that we don’t know of already. Here are some of our best spots for food, ice cream, parks and more. If you’re looking to do something else, you may find a lot of different options on the Pingle app. They have inspirational articles about what you can do in both cities, and they even let you create activities related to these, for you to meet and hang out with new people! 



  • Pildammsparken
    This park is the best one in Malmö, because it really is for everyone. There are playground spaces for families and kids and there is a luxurious restaurant (Bloom in the Park) for the foodies. For those who like to work out, there’s an outdoor gym, stairs to run up and down, or you can go for a jog around the lake. It’s also great for picnics, long walks and other activities. 
  • Mineral
    After getting to know the lovely owners of this vegetarian restaurant/wine bar, we can’t seem to stop ourselves from going, again and again and again. It has simply become the best hangout place in Malmö for us. We go pretty much once a week, sometime even more than that. The food is delicious and the company is always great. Let me know if you’re ever around and up for a drink, we’ll just hit Mineral together! 
  • Köld
    There’s ice cream, and then there’s ice cream. Köld makes the best ice cream in Malmö. I’d even say they make some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I’ve written about them for local newspapers a couple of times because of this fact, and I don’t see their success stopping anytime soon. It’s a bit of a shame they’re located in such a boring and dark food court, in an even more boring mall. But the original flavors and the fun banter with the ice cream maker definitely makes up for it. This place is great for anyone who loves ice cream, they even make lots of vegan flavors!
  • Västra hamnen
    In the summer, this is the hot spot for swimming and sun bathing. Lots of beautiful people and a great view towards the bridge and Copenhagen. When it’s not swimming season, we go here to show our visitors the interesting and unique architecture, as well as shop at the incredibly well stocked supermarket ICA Maxi. Take the bus home, cause you won’t be able to carry all the groceries, not even on your bike.   


  • Ma’ed
    If you’re into Ethiopian food, you’ve definitely come to the right place. And if you’ve never tried it, what are you waiting for?! Ma’ed makes delicious injera, a traditional sort of pancake that you eat with meats and veggies (vegetarian options also available of course). Perfect for sharing in couples or larger groups. 
  • Nice Cream
    Vegan ice cream all around! From the cute panda logo to the delicious flavours, everything at Nice Cream feels well thought out and cared for. You’ll have to go back several times to try all the flavors, they’re too good not to try all of them. 
  • Plant KBH
    The tiny little cactus store previously known as Kaktus KBH has re-emerged from the dirt and has become two beautiful shops filled with green jungle plants and pretty pots. Check out the one in Nordhavn for some bigger plants, and the one in Nørrebro for smaller houseplants. Plant lovers will be absolutely mesmerized with both stores.  
  • Søndermarken
    Basically the equivalent of Pildammsparken in Malmö. Walk your dog, go for a run, a picnic or maybe just read a book under a tree. Søndermarken is a lovely get-away from the somewhat touristy and busy shopping streets of Copenhagen. 

All of these places are great for visiting and exploring together with friends. But since we’re in Scandinavia, sometimes friends can be hard to find, or maybe they just don’t have time to meet when you’re feeling like going on an adventure. So a good idea is to get on Pingle and find some new like-minded people to do these and other activities with. You’ll also find me on there from time to time!

Pingle for iPhone
Pingle for Android

I am not an influencer

I’m pretty sure most of you have noticed I’m not posting as frequently on my personal Instagram account @olle_e anymore. For the past two years, I’ve become a so called “micro influencer” and all of what that entails. Feed curation. Fresh fashion. Free products. Holiday pictures forever. Perfect meals and flatlays. Legs for days. But it’s definitely not as glamorous and luxurious as many seem to think. And most important of all, it doesn’t feel like me.

It all started when I moved to Brazil. There, Instagram was a place for me to find friends that shared my interest in photography. I met so many people who shot interesting and creative stuff for their accounts. I was mesmerized and I felt like I had found my place. Many of my new friends had only a couple of hundred followers, and I think I had around 1k back then. As we hung out, created hashtags and photo projects, and shot new fun photos every week, those numbers quickly began to rise for all of us. By the end of my year in São Paulo, I reached 10k. 

Companies started getting in touch, wanting me to shoot and post photos of their products. Obviously, I was quite happy getting that attention, and getting products for posts. Many of the products were things I wanted or needed anyway. But soon, making my feed attractive for companies and followers became a full time job. I worried about things such as:

  • If my next post can get more likes than the last one
  • If the company will approve of my aesthetic vision of their product
  • If I could post a picture with the same t-shirt for a second or third time, or if that would be too basic...

I had a lot of products and companies wanting my attention. My worries and the creative stress of having to constantly come up with new ideas for companies could quickly be seen in my feed. The quality of my content decreased and, as a result, the engagement and likes also dropped at a pretty fast pace. My inbox was full of emails from upset ‘Social Media Coordinators,’ asking when I’d post a picture with their watch, or if I’d received that perfume they’d sent me 6 weeks earlier.

Who was I doing all of this for? Sure, about 1 out of 5 companies paid a small amount to hire me, and that’s part of what I lived off for a while. But I also paid a high price. I compromised my integrity, my creativity, my time and the interest my followers had in me. 

Nothing on my account was giving me inspiration, joy or fulfilment. And although I was still using Instagram a lot, I simply stopped posting for weeks at a time. And this went on for months, until I realized I have to stop working with products that sell an idea of an unobtainable and unrealistic lifestyle.

I am not writing this to challenge people who are influencers or who aspire to be. I’m sharing a personal crisis that has led me to question myself and the use of my voice on the platform. All of these thoughts have been going around and around in my head for months. I haven’t been able to put anything into words until now.  

So I’ll try to revamp my Instagram account. My goal is to get back to basics and reconnect with what’s important to me. Apart from sharing photos of things I truly enjoy, I would also like to post about subjects that I’ve become more interested in for the past year or two, like the LGBTQ+ community and body ideals. I’m hoping I can post more life and truth, and if any brands appear, they’ll be brands with values that I identify myself with. I need to embark on this journey of self therapy or whatever you want to call it, and hopefully people will be able to relate.

It’s time to get real. 

Remembering São Paulo


I've put up a map of central São Paulo in our living room. I wanted it there as a reminder, of how far I've come, and how much I've changed. I lived in Brazil all of 2015 and a couple of months in 2016. In that time I made friends for life, got to know my partner's family, learned a completely new language and developed so much of my photography that it almost changed my visual identity entirely. And it's where I started loving tropical plants and foliage. But Brazil was also difficult for me. I couldn't find work outside of my online freelance bubble and I had a hard time integrating. I didn't feel like a part of Brazilian society, I was called a gringo everywhere I went and I couldn't tell the million pop culture references apart. This is probably not very different from what most people who move to the other side of the world experience and feel like, but nonetheless it was a special time in my life, good times and bad, and I wanted to remind myself of that. Seeing that piece of land on the wall feels really good, and I think of the people I know who are still there. I can almost see their houses on that map! 

If you're also looking to decorate your home with a customisable map from Mapiful, use my discount code "upleafting" to get 10% off. Valid until 31st of July. 

Older, but none the wiser


Today is my 30th birthday. I thought my life would be different somehow. That old cliché of having it all. That old story of figuring things out. Having a steady income. Owning your own apartment/house. Kids. A dog. You name it, I thought I’d have it. 

Yes, I’m happily married and I couldn’t live without my amazing husband by my side. But do I have any of those other things? Not really. I don’t want to complain, I’m quite happy where I am at the moment. I just expected to have more, to be more and to feel more. 

And one thing I really thought I would be able to do when I turn 30 is have a big party. Maybe I never really dreamed of doing that, but it’s something I thought I would do, just because it’s the big three-O. But after 9 months in Malmö, I don’t have a big enough group of friends to have a party at all. Don’t get me wrong, the few people I know in Malmö are amazing, but naturally I also miss my older friends from Stockholm. Those people are part of my family, they are the people I knew as I became an adult. They were with me through hardships and happy moments. And so I expected to celebrate my 30th together with them. Stockholm was my home for so many years after all. And it still feels like home, even if it might take a while before I return to live there again, if ever. 

So, since there won’t be a party, Vini and I are going to Malta today. And we’ll be there over the weekend to explore and celebrate my birthday, just us. We’ve never been, and I’ve been dying to go! I’ve decided I won’t open Facebook from now until Monday, when we get back. So thanks in advance to everyone who wishes me a happy birthday this Friday, I won’t be replying but know I’ll see your messages at some point. I might however, open Instagram and post a photo or two. It’ll be hard not to! ;)

Is a beard just a beard?

I've had a beard for most of my adult life. I've only had a really long beard once or twice, and I wasn't very fond of it. I didn't understand it back then, but most likely I didn't enjoy it because I didn't know how to care for it. I've settled with a scruffy face nowadays, and I used to only just trim it once a week or so, and not care much more than that. But when I was in Italy a month ago, I went to an amazingly talented barber at Acqua di Parma and he taught me a little bit about beard care. 

Apparently, moisturizing is important! And a face mask now and then doesn't hurt. As well as face wash and hydrating creams. Well actually I knew that, but I never really cared. I thought my skin and beard looked fine without all of that. After the barber treatment in Milano however, my life is completely changed. Now I'm using so many different products, and I've also started combing my beard, even when it's short. I put more effort into details as well, with shaving the upper and lower lines of the beard. It does look a whole lot better afterwards, and my skin feels great! I'm a different person, no kidding. The only thing missing now is a beard brush. 

The products I use right now are: 

Which products do you use for your beard? Let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Insta!