The easy Easter

The easy Easter

I love the Easter break. In my family it’s always been about hiding away for a few days at home to take it easy, eat good food, indulge a little and enjoy the start of cool nights and gloriously comfortable days.

Although I returned to the office this morning, to have three days off in a row was luxurious.  I’ve been starting work at 5:30am which means a before 5:00am alarm, so I currently consider sleeping past 6:00am as a ‘lie-in’!

Adam and I can’t really remember the last time we had a few days to do as much or as little as we wanted. Here’s a peak of what we got up to…

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Hiding from the heat

Hiding from the heat

It’s been an absolute scorcher in south-eastern Australia over the last few days. Wagga Wagga hit 40 + degrees on both Saturday and Sunday.  I haven’t experienced that sort of warmth since the summer of 2015/2016, so I really felt it!

It always amazes me that while one part of the world can be experiencing extreme heat, others can be gripped in the midst of extreme cold (east cold of the United States and Canada, I’m thinking of you!) In the days leading up to the weekend my Instagram feed was full of northern hemisphere dwellers preparing for a cozy weekend.

While they were channelling hygge in the traditional sense, I thought I’d go about creating ‘summer hygge’…

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A postcard from Iceland (part three)

A postcard from Iceland (part three)

Driving into Iceland’s ‘northern capital’ Akureyri in November is like arriving at some sort of fantastical winter wonderland.

Here, a small city sits on the shores of fjord surrounded by snow capped mountains. There are children in puffy onesie snow suits and mittens looking like little marshmallows, red heart traffic lights and decidedly Scandinavian homes all boxy with white rimmed windows and colourful exteriors.

It’s a little bit lovely…

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The sleepy garden

The sleepy garden

Summer seems like a bit of a distant memory now. The days are cooler, shorter and darker and leaves are falling from the sky like giant, colourful raindrops.

I was amazed by our little Malvern garden during the warmer weather. Every week it felt like a new flower or plant was blooming and the air was thick with the sound of bees buzzing about.

Our little patch of green has been slowly falling asleep over the last few weeks, but it’s still proving to be a source of inspiration…

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Quiet time

Quiet time

It’s been a hectic few months. Between my family’s visit from Australia and a few other trips Adam and I had organised earlier this year, it feels like we’ve barely had a weekend to ourselves for weeks and weeks.

After picking up my second cold in three months the other week,  I decided some much needed quiet time was definitely on the agenda…

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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