Miriam Bouteba hit a raw nerve last week when she said in Timeout London that “Hygge is a waste of London.” I have never seen anyone so perfectly trounced on Twitter, laughed at and basically told that she wasn’t living right if she couldn’t find anything to hygge about in her life.
I’m calling bullshit on that: the word does have an exact English translation, and that is ‘boring’. (Miriam Bouteba)
I don’t see Miriam’s problem; does she never have five quiet minutes? Does she never just go and curl up in her poky little flat and have a cup of tea? Is she really telling me that she is a 24/7 party person?
But hygge doesn’t really work quite as well in a city of poky flatshares – many without living rooms, never mind fireplaces – where there’s a strong chance that your bedroom was once a cupboard. (Miriam Bouteba)
I’m fortunate that the closest I ever came to a poky flat was at university, with shared bathroom and kitchen hell as well. It didn’t matter; for the time I was there, it was still home. I made it my home, picture, throws, lights and all. Does Miriam never think that the flat, temporary though it might be, is still her home even if just for the month/year/decade? To think otherwise is to live in a state of homeless limbo, never letting the flat mean anything to you, never making it a home. And in hygge, as in many other parts of life, attitude is 9/10ths of success.
Nothing spectacular ever happened to someone when they were feeling cosy. (Miriam Bouteba)
Now, I can agree with Miriam here; the most spectacular things happen outside of cosy. Bilbo and Frodo Baggins can both tell you that…. but after the spectacle, after the wars, after the endless days of money making in the city…. there must be a pause, and a cessation of striving and that time then…. well, that’s when the hygge happens. If we let it.
Hygge isn’t meant to be a permanent state of being. Meik Wiking tells us that in his Little Book of Hygge, Charlotte Abrahams says that Danish people try to schedule 2 or 3 hyggelig things a week in her Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Bronte Aurell puts it well in her answer to Miriam Bouteba’s article; Hygge is part of London;
Hygge is that feeling you have when you forget about time for a bit. You relax your shoulders, forget about tomorrow’s deadline and take a bit of time to live in the moment with whoever you are with. Sometimes there’s food. Sometimes the telly is on. Quite often there’s wine. Sometimes candles, sometimes not. It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, whether you’re at home or out and about. hygge is not about jumpers and mock-Viking socks. It doesn’t care where you live or what your house looks like. You don’t even need to spend any money. Your hygge is your own. Some of the most hyggelige times I’ve ever had in my entire life have been in a tent in a field, in the rain sharing a bag of crisps with people I love. (Bronte Aurell)
Note the deadline for tomorrow; it’s not escaping from all ills, it’s taking a breather. If you can’t switch off for five minutes, or longer, to drink your coffee and laugh with friends, then you are in danger of burn out. I’m a hygge lover; seriously, I read the books, administrate the Facebook groups, buy the boxes just because they say Hygge on them… even I need to do my straight work, the typing, the posting, the filing. Not to mention the cooking the cleaning the washing….
I’m not a 24/7 hygge party person. I’m not a 24/7 anything person. Life isn’t all ups or downs, not all excitement or all boredom. It’s about balance. The work-life balance that Denmark is so famous for, a chance to work hard when you’re at work and play hard when you’re at play and in the middle to hygge. And if you can’t find time and make time for that, then you need to look at your life. Go find the balance. I’ll be here ready to hygger when you are.
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And now a word from our sponsors.….
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you buy any of the books through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.