How to Hygge
Everyone is talking about it, but what to do?
With the nights drawing in and a definite chill in the air, isn’t it time you learnt how to Hygge?
We've just come back from a short trip to visit some of our Danish suppliers and and asked them about it. As you might expect they find it quite funny that we British have suddenly started to embrace (and commercialise) a word they have grown up with, but nonetheless they helped us to understand the true concept.
The Danish word hygge is tricky to translate into English, but in its simplest form, the concept refers to giving and experiencing comfort and joy - feeling an extreme state of cosiness and contentedness. Turns out we've been well and truly helping you hygge for years without really bringing it together in the way that hygge does.
So if you - like me - think this sounds just perfect for the dark, cold months ahead, get comfortable on the sofa with a cup of tea and read on to find out how you can bring a sense of hygge to your own home this winter.
1. Set the scene
Harsh, bright light and noise just won’t do if you want to immerse yourself in the concept of hygge. Close the curtains, switch off the television and light some candles.
The Danes understand the power of candlelight for creating a welcoming, relaxing atmosphere whether you are home alone or expecting guests.
Don’t stick to the traditional candles on the mantelpiece - arrange them by your front door as a welcome to guests, place them on mirrrored discs on your staircase and even light your bathroom and cloakroom with them.
Remember to leave large diameter candles to burn properly (right to the edge) the first time you light them, otherwise your candle will not be efficient.
2. Embrace the cosiness
Wearing your comfiest clothes - would it be wrong to suggest your PJs? - settle down on the sofa under a soft, luxurious blanket with a good book and some cocoa, or - if you want to embrace hygge the English way - a good hot cup of tea!
Our soft knitted throws are actually made by Danish company Cane-Line, one of the suppliers we visited.
Those of you lucky enough to have an open fire will understand the nostalgic comfort which comes from watching the roaring, crackling flames and feeling the soothing heat.
3. Be sociable without social media!
Forget about your phone, the television and keeping up with social media for the evening - be sociable!
Serve steaming bowls of fish stew or winter soup, with hunks of crusty bread; bake gingerbread to fill your home with a delicious Christmassy scent; toast marshmallows on a fork and play soft, but uplifting music to relax and unwind.
Take your music wherever you go to with some wireless bluetooth speakers but don't forget to disable the phone if playing from that source otherwise your hygge moment might get well and truly disrupted!
4. Slow down
Linger over your meal; take time to enjoy the company of your guests - listening to understand rather than simply to respond; if you’re alone, take some time out to breath deeply and listen to your thoughts and your body.
We are big fans of the slow food movement for the same reason. We surely must do something to slow down the pace at which we live our lives. Even for a night.
The best advice is to do less and find pleasure in the simplest of things. Try and focus on what really matters to you and FEEL it!
Think about some of things you are used to doing at a pace, perhaps like eating or driving - and deliberately take longer over them. Eat real food that you've prepared yourself. It doesn't have to be extravagant even if you are having friends round.
5. Take Hygge with you
Our other top tips for embracing hygge throughout the year would be:
• Take a long, luxurious bath, surrounded by candlelight.
• Enjoy a quiet, colourful walk as the leaves begin to fall in autumn.
• Indulge in breakfast in bed!
• Meet friends & family for a cosy evening in your local pub, sippping red wine or real ale by the fire.
• Encourage your children & grandchildren to respect your home and the world around them.
• Bring the outdoors in when you are at work - add a beautiful pot plant to your desk.
• Create a playlist for each season which makes you happy and encourages you to relax. We try and do this with our shop playlists and people tell us how relaxing it is for them.
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