Have you heard of hygge? It’s a Danish concept that’s focused on the home. It doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it’s essentially about making your house a cosy, comfortable place in the colder weather, where you can focus on the small things in life that make you feel happy and fulfilled. Think a delicious hot chocolate in a big mug, swathes of blankets, dim lights and a good book. Hygge (hew [like threw]-guh) has been huge in Britain over the last few months.  There were dozens of books on the subject released over Autumn and they flooded bookstores in the lead-up to Christmas.

I’d never heard of hygge until I started flipping through one of the aforementioned books while browsing a store in December.  As an Australian experiencing her first northern hemisphere winter, it was a concept I was immediately drawn to. For me it hasn’t really been the cold that’s bothered me, rather it’s the short days I’ve noticed the most. It’s dark a lot and I can understand why people develop Seasonal Affective Disorder now.  Hygee it’s all about encouraging you and your family’s wellbeing during the long cold winter months. Denmark has topped the United Nations World Happiness Report twice (it’s been a top five country in the five years the report’s been compiled), so they’re obviously onto something.

Since I discovered hygge, I’ve been trying to introduce it into my day-to-day living. Instead of getting disheartened at the current 4:18pm sunset (with a 8:15am sunrise!), I’ve turned drawing the curtains of an afternoon into a ritual. I switch on lamps and fairylights (which we’ve reappropriated now Christmas is over) around the house, which add a lovely glow and make myself a cup of tea, while trying to knock over a few pages in whatever book I’m reading.

Exploring the Danish concept of hygge: fairylights in fireplace, grey cushions and throw rugs, pot of tea.

Embracing the Danish concept of hygge: drinking tea, reading a book under soft grey throw rugs in front of a fireplace lit with fairy lights

Adam’s 2017 hobby (read obsession!) is baking bread.  Often he’ll make tomorrow’s loaf before we cook dinner, so our afternoon cuppa is increasingly being accompanied by a slice of fresh, warm bread spread with butter, honey and dusted with salt flakes. It’s a nice way to wind down after the day and an opportunity to sit quietly for a few minutes and chat about our days.

Freshly baked loaf of honey and seed bread spread with butter, honey and sprinkled with salt flakes

Of an evening Adam and I will listen to music and read (occasionally while enjoying a glass of Australian shiraz!)  It creates this wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and you go to bed with a clear mind.

Hygge is something I’d like to keep up even when the weather warms. I’m imagining fresh flowers, open windows, elderflower spritzers and bowls of jewel-like berries. It’s also increased my desire for a Scandinavian holiday over the next 12 months tenfold!

What I really like about hygge though, is that it’s something you can create in your own home too with either little or no expense.  It’s not about having designer throw blankets, or fancy scented candles, it’s more about creating that feeling of loveliness by changing your mindset. You can use what you’ve got around you to do that. Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised :). Happy hygee-ing! x


The new year

The new year

2016 was certainly a year of change for me.  I pushed pause on the career I’d been working away on for the last decade, rented out the brand new house I’d built in 2015 and moved overseas. I’m now working in a totally different industry, living in a 150 year old house and truly loving the new opportunities England is presenting to me.

I’m not really big on new year’s resolutions, but given 2017 is going to be a year like no other, there are a three goals I’d like to achieve.

  1. Wake up to more views like this.
The view from Low Hallgarth, a National Trust cottage in the Lake District.
Looking out on a frosty November morning from our National Trust cottage in the Lake District.

When Adam and I decided to move to England one of the top items on our ‘to-do’ list was travel.  We spent much of 2016 planning and saving for the relocation, so it meant that we didn’t go on too many holidays.  By Australian standards, the U.K. is relatively well connected transport wise, plus you’re never too far away from an international airport where you can normally find good deals on airfares to much of Europe and north America. On our list so far is a trip to the Brecon Beacons in Wales, the Isle of Skye in Scotland, one of the Scandinavian countries (top of the list is the Faroe Islands or Iceland, Adam fell in love with the country during a visit in 2014), Italy (I visited in 2013 and still have vivid dreams about the glorious food!), Germany and Croatia.

2. Live more simply.

Cabbage plant in English allotment

Adam and I both want to make this year more about experiences than ‘stuff’. The television Adam had before he came to Australia hasn’t moved in with us – it’s still on loan to his family, but we’re not missing it at all! After years of working in news and knowing what’s happening around the clock, it’s lovely to step away from that constant connectedness. We keep up to date with with current affairs via our phones and computers and spend our evenings reading, listening to music, chatting or having a Netflix binge. We’d also love to get stuck into helping out in the family allotment growing herbs, vegetables and fruit, and we want to expand our abilities in the kitchen.  Adam’s already getting stuck into perfecting bread – sampling freshly baked loaves on an almost daily basis is fine by me!

3. Get outdoors more.

Adam and I on top of a hill in the Lake District.
Waking up early for long, cold walks is worth it when you get views like this.

In Australia I was a regular gym goer.  Usually three times a week I’d pop along for pilates and yoga classes.  I loved it, but that routine has completely gone by the wayside over the last few months due to move.  I’ve truly embraced the British habit of walking (as you can read about here and here) and it’s something I’d like to continue this year. There are public footpaths just metres away from our house and in 2017 I want to start using them more and getting up onto the Malvern Hills on a more regular basis. I love how you can go on a walk in England and discover beautiful little spots, unique views and character-filled pubs and cafes. There is so much more incentive to get out and be active (even in the cold weather) when there’s the chance of seeing something new.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If so, what are they?!

Here’s to wonderful things over the next 12 months. x