I am still not entirely sure how we are supposed to pronounce Hygge apparently its Hoo-gah but it still doesn’t feel right to me, but however you want to say it, Hygge has definitely made an impact on us brits. This blog is going to be nothing different from every other millennial blogger who in the past couple of month has also stumbled across this book, (Pinterest you have a lot of duplicated content to answer for).
I actually bought this book a couple of months ago, but amazon was selling it at a ridiculously cheaper price than anywhere else and being the frugal person I am, I would rather wait three weeks for it to arrive than pay £4 extra to have it here in two days, besides I had other books I could read in the meantime.
What is Hygge?
It can’t really be translated into one word but Hygge is a feeling, it’s how the Danish stay happy during their winter months when they are getting very little hours of daylight. It’s that cosy, warm feeling that makes your soul happy to put it simply. I have a close friend who always decides to do things that are good for her soul and reading this book really emphasised the importance of such decisions for me.
Hygge instantly appealed to me, I am quite an introvert, don’t get me wrong I do love a good night out from time to time (once a year for a friends birthday, to be honest) but staying in with good wine, food and company, or a nice restaurant with some warm lighting and rich food with a nice spacious table where there is no rush to leave is so much more appealing to me than a night out will ever be.
So how do you go about adding Hygge into your life?
Create cosy spaces – Full of blankets, cushions and candles, the more the merrier. Choose a cosy corner or room in your house where you would feel happy curling up with a book and cup of tea.
Play games- Hygge is all about being in the moment, it doesn’t necessarily mean a whole digital detox but the best way to be present, interacting and social is to play board games. My favourite end to a nice evening is playing scrabble with my mum and sister we have endless laughs at each other and it really helps to ground me where I am. It stops me rushing around trying to tick things off, I just enjoy sitting there feeling cosy and trying hard to beat them. I always associate board games with Christmas which is why they probably fit so well with Hygge, it’s a time where everyone stops what they are doing and joins round the table as a family for hopefully some fun.
Cook wholesome foods – This was the hardest for me. When I am alone I tend to skip dinner or grab something quick like toast or crumpets. But really there is nothing better or more comforting than to come home to some delicious smelling food bubbling away in the slow cooker, or a cake just out of the oven.
Nature – It’s very Hygge to include nature into your life, long walks with a snuggly coat, big knitted scarf and gloves with a hot chocolate whilst you walk through the orange leaves on a crisp bright morning. Bring nature into your home, include big wicker baskets with blankets and slippers in, wooden furniture, sheep skin rugs and wool cushions, conkers and winter flowers.
Treat yourself to endless hot drinks – One that I don’t struggle with, cups of tea, big mugs of hot chocolate with lashings of whipped cream or those special hot chocolates with an added dash of baileys. To make it extra Hygge have friends over for drinks and cake in the evening and make spoilt hot chocolates covered in treats and big slices of homemade cake, instead of the usual dinner party.
Leave work on time – This point really struck a cord with me, I suffer from really bad anxiety which often means not switching off from work and a need to be busy all the time. I am really lucky that my work has a go home at 5pm ethos, it’s not a written rule but by 5.10 the building is a ghost town, I am so grateful for this as I know if I was at a company where there is pressure to stay later than needed I would. The Danish value the importance of family, and having dinner together and not just spending time with loved ones at the weekend, so the majority will be out early evening to spend time building and nurturing their relationships. They know the importance of Hygge to build a happy life.
Book swap – Sharing things is very Hygge, I always love the comfort I get from charity shops, I know its odd but I like giving things a new home, especially books, I try and buy as many of my books as possible from charity shops, they are so cheap. Book swapping is a great way of creating more Hygge in your life, sharing what you are interested and passionate about with friends and family. I love it when I give my mum a book to read or read one she gave me and we can talk about how much we loved them, or when a book we read a few years ago gets turned into a film we can go and see together.
Movie nights – When winter roles in I always start suggesting to my girls that we should have movie nights, I love being in comfy clothes, with a good film, chocolatey snacks and lots of blankets and of course some wine. I don’t think you can get more Hygge than that? Unless you add Love actually or Bridget Jones into the mix.
Open fires – In the winter I crave that cosy pub feeling, you know the ones you walk into and it smells old, and there is a roaring fire going and an extensive wine list and if you are lucky a good cheese board selection and you find yourself a little table in the corner and catch up with your friends or family. Sound familiar? It’s that Hygge factor we all crave, it’s that warm, cosy, glowy feeling you get from that atmosphere, it’s festive and simple, and always made so much better if you can get no signal in there and there is a pub dog asleep in the corner.
Warm lighting – I actually experienced how important this is a few weeks back, all of a sudden my light bulbs in the living room started dropping like flies, not really knowing much about light bulbs I went on amazon and purchased the cheapest lifelong bulbs I could find. Once they arrived, I fitted them all and when I turned them on they were bright white. Perfect for evening selfies but not what I wanted going into winter. The room felt clinical, not cosy so they were taken straight out. Lighting is everything when creating a Hyggelig room. Fewer ceiling lights and more lamps and candles the better. Carefully placed warm lamps will create perfect Hygge pools of light.
Switch off – All of the above is pretty hard to do with texts flashing, emails pinging and notifications to tell you one of the girls has just posted a photo on Instagram. So for once in a while try and switch it all off and just catch up with people. I have a Sonos speaker in the lounge and I love putting the Coffee and Chill Acoustic playlist from Spotify on and just relaxing with a face mask, book and a cup of tea on the sofa, whilst my dog sleeps in his bed next to me.
I would really recommend this book to everyone, I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from just taking a step back once in a while and spending sometime on themselves, friends and family. If anyone has any ways they add Hygge in their lives, I would love to hear.