My wonderful friend Katie Mac, owner and creator of La Shuks, popped over for dinner last Saturday for a long overdue catch up. Katie and I used to live together in Brighton and then decided to make the move back to London. We have both been to and fro a few times and have sometimes found it difficult to settle, which isn’t a bad thing as we love to move around a lot.
On the topic of feeling settled we began discussing the new word that seems to be trending at the moment, created by the Danish folk – “Hygge” and Katie insisted that I write about it, so here we go.
The Danish word ‘hygge’ (pronounced ‘hooga’) translates roughly to ‘cosiness’.
As I tend to obsess over creating the ultimate snug…any evening of the week, I was very excited to learn that there is a word to encapsulate this feeling.
Whenever I walk past a place I’ll always peer in to check if it has that certain sense of cosiness before I set foot inside. Throughout my time reviewing some gorgeous places, there have been so many restaurants, bars and hotels that have got it right, but oh so many that have not.
There have been times that I have be so tempted to ask the staff to turn down the lights a little, or change the music, or even turn up the heating a little. Maybe I’m hyper sensitive to these things, but I’m also certain that everyone, whether they’re conscious of it or not, knows when Hygge is happening.
Danes are apparently the happiest people in the world, maybe this Hygge thing has something to do with it.
Us Brits can relate to a country that gets dark soon after 3pm and has to endure long grey winters, with only the odd sprinkling of crisp sunny days. The problem with us is that we tend to go about our lives at a quicker, more stressed out pace – barely fitting in the time to relax and sometimes only as an afterthought, much to the detriment of our health.
Hygge not only means to be cosy, it’s also about surrounding yourself with friends and family, lighting candles, baking cakes and generally owning a sense of wellbeing. It’s a lifestyle choice and it’s quite simple to implement.
The soft twinkle of a candle is so soothing, and once your eyes adjust to the darkness you’ll be surprised at how little light you actually need. Always forgo the overhead lighting and introduce lamps in dark corners instead, it will make you feel so much more at home.
2. Set the mood
Music is a powerful mood setter, I wouldn’t be putting drum and bass on to get Hygge, although i suppose if it was liquid drum and bass that could work. Pick your favourite tracks that you know will relax you and your friends.
3. Be generous
If you have people visiting, always offer them a drink when they arrive, take their coat and let them relax. This all may seem quite old fashioned but it really is the little things that make people feel Hygge.
4. Layer up your cosy spots
Investing in a few thick and chunky blankets will work wonders for creating a snug instantly, just having that warmth will make you feel cosy on the inside.
5. Be content with what you have
It can be easy to bypass the good feelings of what you already have and always be in search of what you don’t. Take a moment to look around your home and notice the little things you have, also think of all the things you have already accomplished.
6. Use your most loved things
You may have a tendency to not want to use the things you already have in your home, incase you tarnish or break them. It’s a bit like putting plastic covers on your sofa or keeping your champagne glasses in a box. Use these things, enjoy them.
7. Get cooking
I’m not much of a baker but I absolutely love cooking, my favourite thing to do is grab random ingredients from my shelves, have a quick browse for good looking meals on Pinterest and then just go for it without referring to any recipies. It gives you creative freedom and lets you focus entirely on the process, smells and textures.
8. Invite loved ones over for dinner
The best feeling is when you have your nearest and dearest around your table, exchanging stories and laughs while you serve up comfort food. Being alone can be good for you at times of course, but being lonely is a whole different thing.
9. Do you
Take some time out to be yourself away from all distraction, read a chapter of your book, do 5 minutes of yoga or simply sit and close your eyes to get grounded again. Be kind to yourself and you’ll find you’re kinder to others as a result.
10. Feel it
Hygge is a feeling that you’ll understand from what has made you previously feel cosy and happy. Think about the times when you have felt at your happiest, then aim to recreate the scene.
I do hope that you’ll be able to take away a couple of these examples and bring them into your home life. Happy hygge everyone!
All images are my own and can be found on Pinterest – Elizabeth Danon Interior Therapy