I don’t know about you but I am not a Winter person. Nope, it is not for me. The cold mornings do absolutely nothing for my will power to get up early and exercise and the dark evenings trick my body into thinking it’s bedtime as soon as I walk through the door after work.
I am definitely a Summer girl; I need natural daylight pouring in through the windows to give me energy for the day. I wake in the Summer to the cracks of sunlight creeping in through the gaps in our bedroom blinds, excited for the day ahead, feeling warm and instantly awake. I jump out of bed with a spring in my step feeling positive and motivated. I am the kind of person who is drawn toward beautiful hazy, light, which is probably why I have chosen to pursue my love of photography as a career. And don’t even get me started on the smell of cut grass. AMAZING.
During the Winter months however, it’s like I’m a completely different person altogether. I’m not entirely sure if I’m happier before or after the clocks go back– it seems either way there is too much darkness and not enough light for my liking. I wake every morning wishing I didn’t have to get up and it takes much longer than it should for me to build up the courage to throw the duvet off my warm body and face the coldness in the room. Thank God for coffee is all I can say.
As soon as September has gone I feel a huge shift in my every day mood. I feel lethargic and unmotivated to do anything more than sit on the couch wrapped in blankets nursing my hot water bottle and my food baby, because oh my god do I eat more when it gets cold! What is that about?
Cold, tired, fat. Those are the 3 words I would use to describe Autumn and Winter.
So when I came across The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking I was intrigued because it is a known fact the Danes are some of the happiest people in the World yet their Summers are short and their Winters are dark and wet. Kinda similar to us here in the UK eh?
What is this Hygge I speak of and how can I get me some you ask? Well Hygge, or Hooga as it may well be pronounced, is something you create– a feeling if you like and it’s been described by many as ‘the art of creating intimacy’, ‘cosiness of the soul’ and ‘the absence of annoyance’. Hygge isn’t really about ‘things’ as such but about atmosphere and experience. It’s about spending time with loved ones and enjoying each others company over good food and conversation, it’s about creating a cosy haven– a feeling of safety and warmth and calm. It’s kind of hard to explain without me copying the opening page of the book word for word but as I’m sitting here writing this I keep closing my eyes and picturing the times I have created Hygee without even trying.
Anyone who knows me will know how much I love candlelight and if friends or family visit during the evening (Summer or Winter) they will no doubt be welcomed into a room full of candles because I really do not like the harsh lighting that is so often cast when we turn on ‘the big light’. Some friends have even joked in the past about it being a fire hazard, especially because I’ll often have candles burning on the corner of our staircase but I can’t help it, I love the softness of candlelight just as much as I love the pretty haze that comes with late Summer evenings, and seeing as there is a whole chapter on lighting and candles, this book is right up my street.
It’s funny actually because when I look back to when I lived in the shed at the bottom of my parents garden, I now realise why I loved it in there so much. It was extremely Hygge. Like a little cabin of cosiness it was hard not to feel safe when I was in there. I’d often come home from work and light the candle which lived inside the birdcage hanging from the ceiling, Sid would curl up in his bed and snore softly by my feet. And when it snowed outside that was by far the best. It took all of about 10 minutes to heat up the little shed and I’d sit there watching the flakes of snow settle on the garden outside.
Of course, Hygge isn’t just a winter thing, it can be practiced throughout the year but I think it may be easier to associate Hygge with winter because so many of us like to cosy up during this part of the year whilst the rain taps at our windows, forcing us to stay inside.
If you come over to our house one evening during the Summer months expect to sit outside, regardless of whether it’s warm or not. As long as it’s not raining I always favour the outdoors and I will no doubt take the cushions and blankets out there to create a feeling of cosy intimacy. There will be candles. Lots of them. Enough so that when the light finally fades we will be able to see the soft glow on each others faces.
Unsurprisingly, Rich doesn’t seem to share my love of all things Hygge, although he does like to use the word a lot lately to mock me. “This is very Hygge babe”. But who am I to argue with the fact that the Danish way of living is pretty special, hence why the Danes are so flippin happy all the time. This book is about slow living, about eating rustic foods and the feeling of togetherness. If you want your life to be more Hyggelig (hooga like) then turn off the harsh lights and go light some candles, make a stew from scratch and eat it with warm, crusty bread whilst wrapped in a blanket on your couch with your loved one, your dog or even your cat. Turn off the TV and enjoy a good book in a cosy little corner of your home.
Anyway, he may not appreciate it but little does Rich know this weekend is about to get a lot more Hygge than he thinks… watch this space guys, we are going on an adventure.
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