Let’s face it, it’s getting dark out there. And dusk comes earlier every day. The long, golden days of summer seem so far behind, the winds have picked up and the frosts of winter will soon be nipping at your nose.
And you have an issue: you’d like to go out with your friends, but a great big chunk of you just wants to stay inside and snuggle under a blanket.
Well, why not do both? Hygge is all about creating and enjoying small pleasures, and with a group of four or five really good mates, you can create an evening of treats, cosiness and it will be good for you, to boot!
***Disclosure*** I will be mentioning a lot of The Body Shop products in this post, because The Body Shop at Liverpool One have asked me to guest host a Hygge Evening there on 27th October 2017. The evening runs from 6pm to 8pm and entry is free.
I have not been given any products, nor am I being paid for this post. Any Body Shop products I use have been bought by me or my daughter personally, and any opinions expressed are entirely my own.***
So, what do you need to do?
Pick an Evening
Keep it free, and keep it special. I love a pamper session mid-week because it seems so decadent, but any evening will do.
Divide up the roles
You’ll need food, beauty products, something to drink and something to do. Sharing out responsibility (and cost) means that everybody has an input in the evening, and no one person has to bear the burden of cost. You could put one in charge of the edibles, one in charge of the drinks, another responsible for feet, hands or face. These are your friends, and you know who is good at nails, and who’s the best at bagging a bargain.
Decide the Dress Code
Pyjamas? Loungewear? Jeans? If you can, an evening in yoga pants and loose t-shirts or in ‘posh’ pyjamas is a laugh. Everybody needs to be comfortable in their clothes and with each other, which is why this works best with really good friends. Get everybody to bring their own fluffy socks as well…. and decide whether mobile phones are banned for the night!
Prepare the location
I’m presuming it’s in your home, right? Although, a pamper night away in a Travelodge in the middle of a girls’ weekend would also work. You’ll need to tidy and clean, obviously, and even here you can start the pampered feeling by using a beautifully scented polish or cleaner. I love Maison Belle Orange and Cinnamon All Purpose cleaner for its sharp, citrus scent for any plastics and Method Almond Wood Cleaner for its marzipan aroma. A quick dusting of baking powder over the carpet and then hoovered up will also remove smells from there.
Organise the room into areas, a foot area with a footspa (if you have one, or can borrow one) or washing up bowl to soak tired feet, a hand area with a table that is the right height between the chairs to rest a hand on for the time it takes to do a manicure, and a relaxation area, with cushions, throws and a diffuser ready to release a soft, relaxing fragrance such as vanilla or sandalwood and ginger.
Consider the lighting in the room. Although most beauty treatments can be done in the soft glow of candles, you might want to get stronger lighting in just for the manicure area, where details could be important, and a desk lamp set up to shine on the table will be sufficient. You are aiming for a soft, relaxing light. Use tea lights and unscented candles, fairylights or lamps with a golden yellow bulb in.
Music plays a big part in making us feel relaxed. Get a playlist together, featuring smooth singers in the genre of your choice. Easy jazz, easy-listening or (if you and your mates are all around the same age) why not go retro with a list from your youth. In my case, that would be the 80s, with Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, Simple Minds, Visage and others. Make sure the volume is not so loud that it makes talk impossible.
Fingers for Food
Are you going luxe? Or basic? There’s a lot to be said for either. Whether you go top of the range or discount, choose easy food. Finger food such as chinese rolls or mini pizzas goes well, as does anything on a stick, such as cocktail sausages, king prawns or olives. Have a pack of wet wipes handy for cleaning your fingers, or bowls of slightly warmed water with a slice of lemon in and a hand towel. You can probably do without a plate if the choice of food is done well.
Bubbly needn’t cost a fortune
Either buy your favourite sparkling wine, or buy sparkling water and tonic water. Half the fun of a sparkling drink is in the glassware, so use good glasses for either. We have a set of champagne coupes, bought off Amazon for a party a few years ago, and they are ever so useful for making even a healthy juice mix seem like the ultimate in Great Gatsby luxury.
Hot Drinks are so Hygge
If bubbly isn’t your thing, or to add another layer of warmth to the party, then hot drinks can enhance the feel-good atmosphere. I love the flavoured green teas from Twinings. My daughter loves salted caramel, but I’m a sucker for the gingerbread or Cherry Bakewell flavours as well.
You could always go down the gluhwein route. Either make your own, using a recipe such as this one from Jamie Oliver, or cheat with a non-alcoholic version, I personally love the sweetness of Whittard’s Instant Mulled Wine Tea.
Enjoy the Spa Treatments
For your hands: use hand cream and have a hand massage. This is so incredibly relaxing to do anytime, and can really remove tension from the whole body, not just the hand. You can find full instructions with illustrations on this website. I love the Body Shop’s latest Vanilla Pumpkin hand cream, but my daughter is in love with the scent of Mango hand cream. Both good smells to go with. Rub in some almond nail and cuticle oil, and you’re good to go with the manicure.
I do love a good bit of nail art. With a few decent colours and a cocktail stick, you can get a variety of effects. I must get my nails painted this weekend, just for fun.
For your Face: If you’re hanging out with a gang of friends, having a facial mask can be a real giggle. Choose one that suits most skin types and have fun applying it! The Himalayan Charcoal Face Mask comes highly recommended… my daughter is desperate to try one, so it’s on my ‘to get’ list, although if funds are really tight there is a variety of face masks that can be made from ingredients in your kitchen! Don’t forget tissues and read these instructions on how to remove face masks of all sorts.
Follow up with a cooling tonic or moisturiser. I love the idea of British Rose Petal Soft Gel Toner, because I love the soft scent of roses. A blast of Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist and you’re good to go.
Treat Your Feet
A whole evening dedicated to pampering is so indulgent, and spending some of that time with your little tootsies even more so! I think we use our feet so often, and take them for granted, that when we get the chance to indulge them, it makes such a difference.
To give your feet the whole spa process, follow these instructions from Stylecraze. Peppermint is a traditional ingredient to use for feet, to perk them up and revitalise them. Use Peppermint Reviving Pumice Foot Scrub first, then soak the feet and finally apply a good, thick layer of moisturiser before slipping fluffy socks back on and enjoying the experience of soft feet in the morning!
Do You Need Entertainment?
After all the spa treatment, massage, food and drink, there may not be much time left to fill. It’s good to just sit and talk, but if you need something fun to do as well, play a silly game like “Would You Rather?” It takes no preparation, just some thought. As you’re sat there ask questions like “Would you rather have a million pounds, but die next year or have £10,000 a year for life?” It does get some crazy answers and encourage people to think about what’s important to them.
But if your friends are like my friends, just sitting and sipping the wine while we chat the time away will be enough. Time spent doing nothing is so rare, but never wasted with a friend.
A Handy Guide to Putting On A Party
And there you have it! Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) you need to know about putting on a Hygge Spa Party for your friends. Let me know how you go on, perhaps upload to social media with the hashtag #hyggeevening and we can all share the fun!
My Christmas book, Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is available in paperback and ebook versions from Amazon. If you do read it and enjoy it, please do leave a review or a rating on Amazon and Goodreads.
****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, that I would have bought 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.***