It’s 14 degrees and raining as only it can in Britain, which is to say a fine mist that doesn’t fall hard enough to put you off going out but is persistent enough to stop you from staying dry. It’s 10 to 4 in the afternoon and the lights are on the cars already. One of those “Oh my word, I can’t believe it’s still only Autumn, are you sure it isn’t Winter already?” days.
And I am still reading up on the hygge-factor (much more fun that the X Factor, and more inclusive) with a book that fell through the letter box this weekend keeping me fully occupied last night; Scandikitchen Fika and Hygge is a beautiful cookbook and more besides. I’ll be reading and rereading and post a full review at sometime in the future, but just to say that like many good recipe books it tells a story as well as instructs. I love how Bronte writes about the traditions of Denmark (where she is from) and Sweden (where her husband, Jonas is from) in such a heartfelt and easy way. And her quote about hygge that is the picture for today’s post is beautiful in its simplicity.
And I’m beginning to fully realise that that is what hygge is, a simple way of living, a way of enjoying small things done with love.
I’ve been reading many internet articles about hygge, there are more each day, and I find the ones that irritate me are those that squeeze hygge into a shopping list… especially a very expensive, middle-class shopping list. You know the ones I mean, “You must have candles, so what about these darling Diptoes fig and saragossa spit ones at £100 for a small votive, and can anything beat the feel of cashmere against your skin? Buy the socks for £70 each, or why not splash out on oneself and buy a cashmere throw (size of a tea towel) for £1000. And for friends, why not rent a gang of six foot male Danish models with incredibly blue eyes and improbable names who will sit and make you feel hot…..”
No thank you. I know that candles and throws and friends will build hygge in my life, but I don’t see why they all have to cost. If hygge is about me building a life fit for the glossy Sunday magazines or the inside of Vogue… well then, I’m on a hiding to nothing because my life is never going to be that beautiful.
But if hygge means (as I am thinking it does) that I look at what I have and smile, because the house or the office or the car or the coffee shop is not perfect but it’s perfect for me: and then I give thanks for the fact that I have it and then I feel love and peacefulness and happy with life at the present moment….. well, I think that will be a hyggelig moment.
And if I’m sharing it with a small group of friends, true friends, the sort who don’t spit their teeth out when I say something foolish, then I have Big Hygge. I’m going back to reading Meik’s Manifesto of Hygge. I know it says candles, but I’m sure it doesn’t say how much they have to cost, and if I can get candles from Morrisons at £3 each that don’t smell but do light up my world, I’m sure they’ll do.
Today’s recommended resources;
Scandikitchen Fika and Hygge by Bronte Aurell. More than a cookbook. Please can I just photograph every page and put it on a blog post? No? Well, then I’ll have to stage it artfully so that the pages stay open and you, too, can lust over kladdkaka, honey cake, Norwegian apple cake and more besides. It’s besides me as I write, making my office that little bit more hyggelig.
And two articles I found on my wavelength;
How to Hygge: a British Interpretation by Average Janes. I love the linking up between the Scandi and the British facts of life; we can do this, Britain! we’ve been hyggeling for years, we just never talked about it. (Very British)
I’m feeling very aware that my year of living hyggelig hasn’t even started yet (it’s supposed to start the 4th October) and already I am feeling an impact just from the reading alone! What will I be like when I’m actually living hygge?