5 Essentials to a Winter Hygge Lifestyle
Whats not to like about Winter, with it’s striking icy bold and dramatic landscape. In nature its the time when everything withdraws to hibernate and regain strength, including us mortals. Yet for some people Winter represents sadness and dread, dark mornings and darker nights. For me this is the time of year we can really enjoy our homes to their fullest. Having played outside during the Spring and summer, now is the perfect time to cosy up the home with candles, cushions and throws, seasonal plants and flowers and get cooking with the wonderful food grown, nurtured and preserved over the past abundant seasons. However to really appreciate Winter is not just about what you surround yourself with but it is also the way you live. There has been much written recently about the Danish Hygge (pronounced Hooga). Hygge is described as a feeling of well being, of cosiness and being kind to ourselves, taking pleasure in simple and familiar, nature, food, family and friends, the enjoyment of sensual experiences rather than things. The Danes it seems are the happiest people in the world as a result of Hygge and the high season of Hygge is Winter, so now is the perfect time to embrace Winter and give Hygge a try, here are a few ideas to get you started.
At one time I would only light candles on special evenings or when I had guests, considering them to be a treat. Now they are an essential part not only of my every evening but also my day. When I am at home working at the computer I will always burn a lovely seasonal scent. My favourites for this season are Incense and Embers by Jo Malone, a gorgeous incense and wood fire mix and my all time favourite winter candle Maduro leaf by Penhaligons, which not only smells delicious, a bit exotic gentlemen’s club kind of smell, but looks great in it’s sophisticated black glass jar. I would always recommend choosing the best quality you can afford when it comes to candles, less is more, you only need to burn the candle for a couple of hours and the room will be scented and you can keep the glow by using non scented cheaper candles and tea lights. The better made candles use purer scents and will be better value in the long run.
We all inherently know that being outdoors amongst nature must be good for us. There is already much evidence that being at one with nature can improve both physical and mental health but recently an evaluation study conducted by the University of Derby on the results of the National Trusts’ 30 Days Wild challenge, revealed that feeling a part of nature significantly correlates with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness and lower cognitive anxiety, can’t argue with that now can we!
BRING THE OUTSIDE IN
So it goes without saying then if its good being outside, it must be good to bring a bit of the outside in, no? Still very much lingering at the moment are the bursts of wonderful Autumn colour and its a crime not to enjoy them to the max and bring them in. The intense and fiery colours of Autumn can be found in the seasons wonderful flowers and plants. If your lucky enough to have lots of veg cropping in your garden, show it off, I love to add bowls of Gourdes and squash, they come in such wonderful shapes and colours. Once the Autumn flush has passed there is the lovely evergreen foliage of Winter and I also love to buy glamorous white flowers during winter evoking that dramatic icy winter palette. A weekly bunch or two of say white Lilly, will last the week and beyond and/or gather up some winter foliage from the garden, which is beautiful in itself, especially if you can get some berry foliage too. Its also a good excuse to plan a bracing country walk. Cut the foliage as long as possible and put in your largest vase for maximum drama!
TEXTURES AND METALLICS
Cushions, throws and rugs really comes into their own at this time of year. Warm textures and colours are just what you need to evoke a warm and snuggly atmosphere, not to mention the fact that they do actually keep us warm and cosy. There are few things more comforting than the feeling of thick velvet, soft wool and luxe fur fabrics. Plus don’t forget warm metallics, by way of candlesticks and tea light holders for example, to luxe up the cosy space. Check out my pick of some of the best textiles around this season.
SIMPLE RELAXED SUPPERS
Slow, simple, relaxed and comforting, thats how cooking, eating and entertaining should be the Hygge way. Its about keeping things simple and stress free. Forget spending all day shopping for it, then all day then cooking it and perfecting your chocolate shards for a 6 course tasting menu. Instead buy, or better still if you are lucky enough, pick, good ingredients and cook them simply. At this time of year my Aga goes back on, ahh the Aga, it doesn’t get more comforting than that. Quite possibly the high priestess piece of any Hygge equipment ever. Though I doubt if there is such a thing, since Hygge is definitely not all about collecting extortionately expensive, if amazing equipment. Fortunately for me I inherited mine, so all good there then, phew. As soon as it’s back on I feel motivated to cook hearty warming rich casseroles with root vegetables. I’ve got my eye on the new Diana Henry cookery book, which is aptly called Simple, its all about effortless food and big flavours, sounds good to me! Can’t help thinking of cosy family Sunday lunches and elegant but relaxed dinner parties in the Blue Room by the fireside, ok theres a bit more effort going on in this instance and I know Hygge is all about keeping it simple and easy but its still about sharing and cosiness so that counts as Hygge in my book 🙂
TAKE TIME OUT…
So, your casserole is gently simmering in the oven, you’ve flung a few rustic linen napkins on the table and a pot of cutlery, foliage and flowers are already sorted from the walk yesterday. Now you have time to run yourself a luxurious bath with your favourite bath oil, Penhaligons Artemisia, just saying, pour yourself a glass of whatever floats your boat, no pun intended and take time out for yourself, maybe read more about Hygge life? Its all about being kind to yourself, a bit of self indulgence.
I think we sort of knew all of this, we just needed someone to tell us it was ok to do it, thank goodness for the Danes and long live Hygge!
Will you be getting some Hygge in your winter life? I’d love to hear if you are embracing wonderful Winter as much as I am, send me some Hygge via the comments box below and we can all share it in a cosy on line experience!