A Very British Hygge

Why are we Brits so obsessed with all things Scandinavian?

We seem to love Scandi design; type ‘Scandi’ into Google and every major high street brand has a listing on the first page. Each one trying to tempt us to come and check out their Scandinavian inspired offerings.

Plus there’s a very well known blue and yellow homeware store that sells — not only Scandinavian homeware — but also the food.

Meatballs anyone?

It’s no secret that my big (man-shaped) boy and I used to go on date-nights there. Never let it be said that we don’t know how to live.

We love their fashion too. When the boys were tiny, I used to scour the internet for Nordic baby-grows; the sight of those squashy little bodies encased in cool Scandi stripes or hip patterns would have my heart beating just that little bit faster.

And it’s not just Scandinavian products that we’re loopy about. We seem to be influenced by their way of life too.

Hygge was last year’s hot new buzzword — with Lagom following swiftly on it’s heels this year.

But what are they? And why are we so fascinated by them?

Well, ‘Lagom’ is a Swedish way of living. It basically translates as —

‘Not too little, not too much. Just the right amount’.

— this approach to a good life balance is lovely. Surely everyone needs balance and a happy life?

And — even though it’s a bit last season — my favourite Scandi import is still the Danish concept of Hygge.

A Very British Hygge book by Simon Sinclair

A Very British Hygge

Hygge ticks all of the boxes for me.

Whilst Lagom is a plan for life, Hygge is more of a momentary thing.

A state of bliss, triggered by contentment in our surroundings or situation.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Hygge is:

‘A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).’

And this, my friends, is why we British should embrace Hygge and make it our own.

Because, essentially, we’ve been practicing Hygge for years, without even knowing it.

A Very British Hygge

I’ve recently read a really interesting little book by Simon Sinclair.

Called ‘A Very British Hygge‘, it  makes reference to the fact that we British are actually pretty good at practicing the art of Hygge.

He says:

” We’re actually very good at it in Britain. We’ve been doing it for centuries. We just haven’t given a name to it. But which of us hasn’t sat in front of a roaring fire and thought,

 

‘This is nice!’ “

Mr Sinclair explores the ways in which we can be happier in ourselves, by simply enjoying the little things in life.

So what small things can we do, to introduce a little more Hygge into our lives?

GO FOR A MOOD BOOSTING WALK

We Brits love the great outdoors. Chucking on a pair of wellies, for a good old stomp in the woods, is a quintessentially British pastime.

We invented the Wellington boot, for goodness’ sake. We don’t need a Scandinavian trend to give us a reason to get outside.

A Very British Hygge

The Great British Gumboot

COSY UP INDOORS AND PLAY A BOARD GAME — OR READ A BOOK

Hygge is all about getting cosy and and ‘taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things’.

Having a pyjama day and playing board games in front of the fire — or curling up in a chair to read — is a lovely way to spend time.

A Very British Hygge — playing boardames

PJ day playing boardgames

A Very British Hygge

Or having a quiet read

LOOK TO THE LIGHT

In the warmer months, throw those curtains wide and let in as much light as you can.

But when it’s a bit murky outside (I’m looking at you winter) switch off the big light and light some candles.

Candlelight is synonymous with Hygge, as it draws people in. It gives rooms a warmth and a cosy glow, that makes us feel content.

A Very British Hygge | Lit Candle

Candlelight draws people closer together

A Very British Hygge — candles

Let the light in

CREATE A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT

Fill your home with things you truly love.

Whilst you don’t have to be totally ruthless (as with the ‘Swedish Death Cleaning‘ method that I mentioned a couple of week’s ago) having a good clear out and losing the things that you have no attachment to — or are not useful — can make you feel infinitely better.

And if you dont want to ditch any of your belongings, buy yourself a bunch of seasonal blooms instead.

A Very British Hygge — foliage

Fill your home with things that make you happy

A Very British Hygge

Fresh flowers and foliage always makes our house feel more loved

EMBRACE THE JOY OF SMALL PLEASURES

Eat fish and chips by the seaside. Hold hands with someone you love.

Bake a cake.

Then, snuggle down in your warm, cosy, candlelit home and eat said cake.

There are SO many Hyggish things that we can do, without changing our lives too much at all.

A Very British Hygge — cake

Bake a cake

A Very British Hygge — cake

Eat alll the cake!

So there we are — a few little ideas for adding more Hygge into our lives; those Danes are a clever bunch aren’t they?

Although, the more I think about it, we Brits are not so different from our Scandinavian cousins.

We’ve been practicing a very British Hygge for years, without even realising it.

This post is in collaboration with Everest. As security and cosiness are all  Hyggish qualities, their home improvement products are perfect for adding a little more Hygge to your life! Pop and have a look at their website for more details.

Although this is a collaborative post all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

18 Comments

  1. 13th Nov 2017 / 11:33 am

    I don’t need to be told more than once to bake and eat a cake!! Love your photos in this post – it makes me want to be a little bit more Hygge!!

    • 25th Nov 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Haha!! Me either. Or maybe — the way I’m feeling today — just walk to the shop and buy cake. Then eat cake!!! ;) xxxx

  2. Surface House
    18th Nov 2017 / 3:23 pm

    This was a lovely post, really enjoyed reading it :) Your photographs are beautiful too, I feel like they transport you to a calmer cosier place! Great job.

    Laura – Surface House

    • 25th Nov 2017 / 6:22 pm

      Thanks ever so much Laura :) It’s amazing isn’t it, that we Brits look to other cultures for inspiration, when we’re actually already doing a very good job of things ourselves!! :)

  3. 21st Nov 2017 / 1:26 pm

    Ooh that winter foliage wrapped around the candles. Ooh this makes me want to light and fire and sit watching a movie or reading a book. I love this post and definitely need to read the book. x

    • 25th Nov 2017 / 6:24 pm

      It’s that time of year again!!! Allllll the candles and alllllll the foliage (that’s left) from the garden!!!! I absolutely love Christmas-time!!!! The lead up to it is probably more exciting that the day itself!! Long live Hygge! :)

  4. 23rd Nov 2017 / 9:56 am

    Oh yes I suppose all cultures have this in them just don’t label it as such. We have the roaring fires, family game nights, and big community gathering and neighbor love to die for in America too. I will have to read this. I am still not convince Britain can do the neighbor community my neighbor all hide in and don’t want to get to know others around them. Hahha possibly just my street. Love this post though and love your snaps so winter festive and cozy. #wrc

    • 25th Nov 2017 / 5:54 pm

      Aaah that’s so sad Jenny. I think that must just be your neighbours. The ones in our village are really lovely. We had a supper invitation on the first night of moving here — and we’ve got some lovely friends now as a result. The people here are so friendly and generous. I feel sad that the people in your street are so closed. Come and move down to Northamptonshire!!! ;) xx

  5. 23rd Nov 2017 / 2:26 pm

    I am all about embracing the hygge and you’re so right, we have been doing it for years without giving it a name. Although there is something quite satisfying now about feeling the contentment and being able to name it! All of these things are what I love about this time of year and your photos have made my feel all cosy and happy, those blooms you bought are gorgeous too, perfect for winter! Lovely post Caro xx

    • 25th Nov 2017 / 5:48 pm

      Aaah thanks chickie. I agree — it’s lovely to have a name for it. Although I wish we’d thought of one of our own — instead of nicking one of our Scandinavian cousins!!! LOL!! xxxx

  6. 23rd Nov 2017 / 10:08 pm

    Yes, yes and yes to Hygge! I think I’ve always thought of it as ‘cosy’ cos that’s what us Brits love about winter. I do love the sound of this word ‘Lagom’ though and i think it’s something I need and have been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve never heard of it though – off to look it up! x

    • 25th Nov 2017 / 3:59 pm

      We Brits are SO good at Hygge ;) I think we’re a lot cooler than we give ourselves credit for aren’t we? ;)

  7. 24th Nov 2017 / 6:51 pm

    I love this Caro! You’re absolutely right – there are so many things we instinctively do that cultivate that lovely cosy comfortable feeling. I like the other word (Lagom) and it’s meaning too – I’ve not come across that before. The most recent one I’ve heard is Lykke which I think means happiness. Lovely photos in your post too – so warm and autumnal.

    • 25th Nov 2017 / 3:58 pm

      I think we’re always desperate to be something else — instead of embracing everything we already do, that is inherently British. Yes — I’ve heard of Lykke too; the same guy who wrote ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ has cashed in on his success and written another just in time for Christmas!! Perhaps we should create an English version of that too!!! ;) xx

  8. 29th Nov 2017 / 12:20 pm

    It’s so true isn’t it?! Especially at this time of year. All I want is to be warm and cosy, tucked under a beautiful blanket… and well lets face it cake just tops it all off perfectly!! Gorgeous pictures too Caro, bring it one I say!! xx

    • 1st Dec 2017 / 1:31 pm

      Same — although — as we head into December and Christmas is now fully in sight, I’m happy to crawl out from under my blanket, dress up in sparkles and go to all the Christmas parties!! :)

  9. 30th Nov 2017 / 8:39 am

    The cold and dark mornings and evenings that these winter months bring can be so depressing, but these ideas definitely help me to embrace the cosy side of this time of year. I mean who can beat reading a book under a blanket or playing board games round the fire. Lovely post Caro xx

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