What happens when you’ve just been on a magical break and want to bring some of that magic home? And what if you’ve fallen in love with the Hygge experience but don’t have pinetrees and snow on your doorstep, nor do you live in a log cabin with a wood burning stove?
Of course, coming back home from a break is always hard (for obvious reasons) but surely the better we learn to rest at home throughout the year, the easier it will be to return home in the future!?
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the Hygge way of living and having experienced it a little on our recent holiday (see previous post), here are six simple and practical ways I’m planning on embracing the Hygge manifesto here in Edinburgh. None of this stuff is rocket science and much of it we probably do instinctively but I’d like to be more purposeful and confident in how I relate to my home, hospitality and relaxation.
1. Get outside, go explore
Explore. Be adventurous. Go for a walk. Enjoy some fresh air and vitamin D. I just heard yesterday that Edinburgh has more trees per person than any other city in GB (is this true?). As well as the little parks, we have some fantastic opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Arthurs Seat and the Pentlands are ideal for gentle hill walking. Salty sea air is just a stone’s throw away with beloved Portobello, Cramond Island, South Queensferry or Musselburgh close by. We can easily jog or cycle the Water of Leith and the Union Canal. We don’t have any excuses. And if it rains, get those wellies on! Thanks to Peppa Pig, our kids love muddy puddles! During these cold wintery months, coming home from a trip outside is a real treat, especially when we have hot chocolate and marshmallows in our cupboard.
2. Bring nature inside
I want to minimalise my interiors, de-clutter and bring the outside in. Most of our flooring and interiors are made of wood, for which I’m grateful but I’m missing my plants. Plants are great! I used to have SO many before having kids. We gave them all away because our eldest kept attacking them as a toddler. But I’ve just discovered clever ways to hang them up. In coming weeks, I’d also like to make decorations with treasures found outdoors to hang up (see drawings above).
3. Make home super cozy
Coveting warning! We live in a small and modern flat and don’t have a wood burning stove. It’s very easy to get envious of others who have one or dream of an ideal home… which we may get 10 years down the line. Or may not. I need to stop right there, be where I am and make my space work. As Vivienne Westwood says: “Buy less, choose well”. We’re investing in candles, good lighting and getting those good old woollen blankets back out. I’d also like to get knitting some chunky cushion covers (I don’t know how to knit but I’m sure SOMEONE who can teach me).
4. Have friends over
Hygge is about togetherness, community and equality. Invite friends over for a crafts night or to watch a movie or to enjoy a simple meal together. They can help cook. A friend of ours once came over straight from work, via the shop and cooked for us. We chatted while cooking and it was one of the most relaxed evenings I can remember. Such a blessing! It doesn’t have to be a one-man show – which can add pressure and competition. There are so many opportunities to have friends over. The 6 Nations, Wimbledon or other big sporting events are great for togetherness.
5. Turn your TV, laptop and phone off
Easier said than done but so worth it. One of my goals is to rearrange our livingroom so that the TV isn’t the focal point. Not sure how to do this but I’m working on it. Recently we bought an Ercol seat from the 1960’s on Gumtree. It is quickly becoming my favourite place to rest. The challenge is to be disciplined and turn off social media. Decide to be where you are.
6. Be grateful
Keep a thankfulness log. As Meik Wiking says in his book ‘The Little Book of ‘Hygge’ : “Take it in. This might be as good as it gets”. My Thankful Thursday Notes have been such a joy and have helped me look at the bright side of things. I want to keep that up! On a much more personal note though, this discipline also helps me to remember how blessed we are as a family and how much God is taking care of us. Right now.