After my weekend off last week, I’m delighted to be back with another favourite blogger of mine who shows real hygge in her posts. Claire of Above the River is a mother, knitter and crafter and generally all round good egg. Her blog is a wonderful record of family life and seasonal beauty, with nature playing a big part. I asked Claire some questions, and she was kind enough to answer.
First question, as always: Where are you based?
I live in South Gloucestershire, near the Severn Estuary. I’ve been here for nine years now and over that time I’ve become more and more attached to the river. I’m always learning new things about it. It really dominates the landscape around here. We often end up on its banks, whether it’s down on the North Somerset coast where it’s vast and scary and filled with dangerous swirling currents, or far upstream where it’s a perfect picture postcard English river with grassy banks for picnics and people are messing about in boats.
How long have you been blogging? What do you blog about?
I had to look this up; it’s been exactly four years now. (Here’s a link to the first post, If Not Now, Then When?)
The headings I have are allotment and garden, books, exploring and wool, so I talk about those regularly, along with pretty much anything else that occurs to me. During the summer months, growing my own fruit and vegetables is definitely a recurring theme.
Do you have a favourite picture on your blog?
There’s a picture I took of a Victorian pier on a summer’s afternoon. It was one of those moments when time almost stood still. Everyone was relaxing in the sun, looking out over the water of the Severn Estuary just as people have no doubt been doing since it opened in the 1800s.
What’s your favourite post?
My favourite gardening post is probably this one http://cjabovetheriver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/lessons-learned-one-year-on-allotment.html where I talk about the progress I made down at the allotment during the first year I had it.
A completely different post that has stayed with me is this one http://cjabovetheriver.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/me-and-giant-peach.html, about the horrors of school dressing-up day.
Have you heard of hygge? Do you think your blog shows hygge?
Yes, I think it’s impossible to spend time in the blogosphere without encountering hygge! But I love that people are trying to find and share those warm, happy, contented moments. I always try and look for the positive and enjoy the time I have today, and I hope that that shows on my blog. It’s sometimes a struggle, as it is for everyone, but difficulties pass and I would hate to look back and find that I had missed the enchantment in life because I was too busy worrying. So yes, I think there is hygge to be found on my blog, in the simple pleasures of growing and eating our own food, summer picnics, toasting marshmallows over driftwood fires on chilly afternoons and curling up in a cosy corner on a dark winter evenings and losing ourselves in a good book.
Who are your blog heroes? Can you share one or two of your favourite blogs with us?
Just one or two? That’s really hard. I narrowed it down to nine, but it’s almost impossible to pick just one or two, there are several blogs I read whose posts are always an absolute treat. But if you’re forcing me I’ll choose firstly Lucy at Attic 24. She is an inspiration and her blog is always a complete ray of sunshine. Her enthusiasm and appreciation for the little things in life are always so cheering. She was the one who inspired me to start blogging, and she was the very first person to leave a comment on my blog, I was so excited!
Secondly I’m going to choose Leanne at Today’s Stuff. She writes so beautifully. She addresses life’s issues in a subtle relatable way, I’m often reading her posts thinking, ‘Yes!’. She’s an advocate for wildlife as well, which is something I’m passionate about. Plus she always has the most sublime photos of the Cornish coast for those of us who don’t get to gaze out to sea enough.
Do you think you’d blog without any readers? And do you use any other social media?
Yes, I think I’d still be blogging even if no-one was reading. (Maybe no-one is reading…) I use my blog to ramble about where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been thinking, and I’d still be writing those things without an audience.
I’m not on any other social media in the same way. I use Twitter to keep up with environmental and wildlife news. I don’t tweet new stuff myself, just a few re-tweets. If I’m on Twitter I’m reading in-depth articles about the environment.
Thank you very much, Claire! And I hope everybody has a lovely weekend reading your past posts… I know I will!
Sunday is Mother’s Day in the UK, so I hope everybody who is or who has a mother will have a good day… plenty of hygge and a lot of love! I have my Mum coming over for Sunday Tea, so I’m cooking pork and a chocolate pudding… yum!
If you’re still after a gift for your Mum or someone special, can I recommend my book, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way which is available in Paperback and Kindle version from Amazon. The contents of the blog are entirely different from the blog, so don’t worry that it’s just posts rehashed. Not yet, anyway. If you purchase through the links on this page, I get a couple of pence extra per copy.
****How to Hygge the British Way Blog isn’t monetised. I have taken the decision that I want to remain neutral and not to promote things just because. I will only ever review items that I have bought myself, or that I think will help to promote hygge in a busy life. To do this, I need support. Even just the price of a coffee adds up to a book over time, and it means I can stay independent. Would you help? Please consider clicking through to paypal.me/HyggeJem and leaving even a small amount. I’d be very grateful. Thank you.***