This month I'm going to be indulging in some serious hygge, both here on the blog and in real life! Hygge is the word for a Danish concept of cosiness and togetherness. Not being Danish, I hadn't come across the concept of hygge until a few years ago, but it fits in very well with the things I enjoy in life, especially in winter - warm socks and cosy blankets, hot drinks and comfort food, a pile of books to enjoy, comfy cushions, and, more importantly, getting a sense of contentment from the little things in life.
As someone who has always enjoyed a Friday night at home better than one out clubbing, I can definitely relate to the idea of hygge! And now the concept's become fashionable, I don't have to feel embarrassed about admitting that I am going to have a quiet weekend relaxing! We rush around so much in life these days, and sometimes it's good to take things at a slower pace.
The Danish have a word hyggekrog, which means a cosy, cushioned reading nook. But I've also found another great word recently, hibernaculum, which is the place an animal goes to hibernate. So I think of my settee piled with blankets and cushions as my hibernaculum.
Although I've always had a few candles around my living room, this is the first year that I've been using them almost every evening, and, in fact, one large candle that I've had for all the years I've lived here is now finally coming to the end of its life!
Often at this time of year I feel like going to bed as soon as it gets dark. But now that I have embraced the idea of hygge, and surrounded myself with candles, I find I'm not going to bed at a ridiculously early hour.
Another thing I've really been indulging in this year is hot chocolate, and I've been trying to mix it up by making some different variations. So far my favourite has been adding some red wine - sounds weird, but it makes the hot chocolate so rich! I've also been adding some Baileys or Amaretto on other occasions, using different mugs and cups to make each cup of hot chocolate an individual and special experience, and adding chocolate curls or chocolate sauce on top of the obligatory whipped cream! I've even been doing a bit of baking too.
Here are some of my ideas for adding some hygge to your life!
1. Wear the cosiest socks you can - whether you make, buy, or receive them as a gift (my mum knitted me these ones).
2. Wrap up in a scarf, hat and gloves, and take a cup of your favourite hot drink out to the garden so you can admire the frost.
3. Add some mood lighting with candles, fairy lights, or small lamps.
4. Make a pile of inspiring books next to your sofa or bed, so that you can pick them up whenever the mood strikes.
5. Make a cosy area to sit with lots of cushions, blankets (I just got this amazing M&S one and it's the softest thing ever!), and a footstool.
6. Get (or make) some nice postcards and some stamps, and sit and write them to some friends.
7. Go on a walk and pick up some pine cones, acorns, stones etc, then display these in a bowl.
8. Do some crochet - it's easy to do while huddling under a blanket or hanging out with friends or family, and the repetitiveness can be quite hypnotic and relaxing.
9. Get a book about baking out of the library and try making some bread.
10. Get the slow cooker on the go and cook something warm and satisfying.
11. Switch off from social media and read a book or listen to some music.
12. Have a Scandinavian-style brunch of open sandwiches.
13. Get your favourite childhood cuddly toy out of the attic and keep it by you on the sofa to cuddle.
14. Buy some lovely pastries and eat them from your favourite plate.
15. Have a long and relaxing bath, especially if you usually take showers.
16. Create your own hyggekrog or hibernaculum with lots of blankets and cushions.
17. Wear your favourite knitted jumper and embrace your inner Sarah Lund.
18. Use neutral colours and lots of textures in your decor.
19. Read books that encourage you to appreciate the little things in life.
20. Allow yourself an afternoon or early evening nap, without feeling guilty about all the other things you should be doing. Just remember to blow out the candles first!