I’d like to think that title is not the only time chic and hygge have been put together in a sentence. Can one hygge and be chic? Well, yes. If you see chic as a state of being and hygge as the emotion surrounding events full of love, comfort and enjoyment, then it must be possible. A chic hyggerer would probably prefer her tea in a fine bone china teacup and saucer, her throws to be from the White Company and her cake to be organic, rather than from Lidl, but the elements of hygge are there whether the persons enjoying them are elegantly coiffured or just out of bed. It’s the feeling, not the circumstances.
I’ve read several books by Fiona Ferris. She writes about chic all the time, from her home in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand on her blog, How to Be Chic. I enjoy her style, because she isn’t setting unreachable targets, about fashion and style, or about spending money to look good. She has, as my Nan would put it, her head screwed on right. I always feel, reading her books, that were it not the other side of the world, she is the sort of woman I could happily get together with and spend a good few hours drinking a robust red and chatting away together.
I’ve chosen to review her book today because we are coming into Autumn here in the Northern hemisphere and this book is a good read for anybody who looks at the long nights of winter with dread.
Called How to be Chic in the Winter: Living Slim, Happy and Stylish during the cold Season it is an easily read self-help guide to making Winter work for you.
(Now we come to the issue with Kindle: I haven’t got a paperback version of the book, only the e-book, so please bear with the picture in this post. I’ve used Fiona’s words from the book as quotes to give it some colour as well. )
It’s easy enough to read and finish in a day or two, but meaty enough to give you things to think about throughout the winter season. I’d recommend reading it at the start of autumn for the best results, so that you can absorb the ideas and set in place your plans for the dark days ahead. I’ve read it in August because, duh, I like being planned ahead, but if you only came across this in January there are still ideas aplenty that don’t take either time or money to implement.
The book is separated into six chapters, with an extra chapter containing journalling prompts at the end. The headings are:
- Know that Winter is a Different Season
- Create a Winter menu plan
- Break up the long Winter
- Work on feeling Good
- Keep your Motivation Up
- Create Your Ideal Chic Winter Season.
Fiona is a great believer in the idea that we shape our own futures through our expectations (as Shakespeare put it “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”) and goes to great lengths in the book to show that by altering our perception of the season we can make it a liveable and enjoyable time. She wants us to thrive, not just survive. It is a toolkit of the things she does and uses to make the coldest season of the year a better experience.
She advises us all to start with a goal, make it positive and plan to achieve it. Then she breaks the season down into what we eat, what we wear and where we live, giving ideas and starting points to help us think about how we can approach Winter in a way that benefits us, mentally and physically. Her advice is not complicated, there are no long quotes from reports or lists of vitamins and minerals to look out for. For the most part it’s beautifully simple advice: stay as positive as possible, plan, keep active, eat well and take breaks.
Her writing is beautifully informal, like having a chat with a friend, and peppered throughout with stories of her own life, how she finds Winter and what she has done to make it better. You know she’s writing from a place of real life, not an ivory tower.
Can I recommend the book? Yes. I think it’s good for most people, but especially for those who sometimes feel there is nothing about winter to enjoy. Read the book, set up a few of the ideas, indulge sensibly, anticipate the changing seasons and let your winter show you some of its treasures. I found her chapter on keeping your motivation up, short though it was, captured the essence of how we should look at life. In fact, I liked the points that much I’m going to print them out and put them in my diary as a daily reminder to breathe and just be.
How to be Chic in the Winter is available from Amazon in both e-book and paperback version. I wasn’t sent a copy or asked to review it, I just review books that I have personally read and found useful. If you buy through the links on this page, then I get a couple of pennies extra. And if you want to read more about hygge (but not the chic kind) then my first two books are available now: 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way is available in Paperback and Kindle version and so is How to Hygge Your Summer, again in Paperback and Kindle form, from Amazon. If you purchase through the links on this page, I get a couple of pence extra per copy, and if you’ve already read it and enjoyed it, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I have a Goodreads Author’s Page!
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