A Weekend With…. Sarah Raad

It’s the first weekend in September!!! Yay! Just imagine, it’s almost time for everything nice and spicy and happy… although, in my quest to live a life full of hygge I have discovered that every time of year is the right time for nice and spicy and happy. Hygge would be no use as a feeling if it were confined just to one (or two) seasons, would it? Finding ways to be hyggely in the heat is as valuable and as important as finding ways to hygge when the wind blows and the rain batters the roof.

Hello September 3

We can’t live our lives waiting for just one or two months a year, and sitting with our emotions on pause until the time for us comes around. Do you have a favourite season? That’s fine… but you need to love the other seasons as you live them as well. It’s like you are ignoring the feast in front of your eyes and just waiting for the foam-topped PSL (Pumpkin Spiced Latte: my new favourite TLA*) to turn up. Living in the moment… living mindfully and present to all the wondrous possibilities that life has to offer… that’s part of hygge. The cool beer on a sunny evening or the warm chocolate on a winter’s afternoon are both beautiful, both hygge, and both worth cherishing and enjoying as they are lived.

Encouraging others to live well is part of the job description for this week’s guest. It must be a very encouraging career, helping others to achieve better. I know I loved that part of teaching and learning mentoring: the encouragement and achievement of potential. I hope you have a great September weekend and enjoy x

Tell me a little about yourself…. name, location, family

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My name is Sarah Raad and Iive in the sleepy village of Clara Vale which is on the edge of Northumberland in the north east of the UK. I live here in a lovely stone cottage with my husband, my nine-year-old son and my beautiful lurcher Boots.  We are surrounded by farmland, fields, woodland and the river Tyne is close by too. It’s a very small village which is just 145 houses and a village hall, nature reserve and community orchard. There are also allotments where we have a small plot on which we grown things – including a lot of weeds – and where I potter about in my shed and sit and think on my little brick patio! I’ve always wanted to live in a house with roses growing round the windows and now I do!

What’s your job title? (paid or unpaid: everybody has a role in life)

I have two main business hats, I run a branding and marketing consultancy with my husband and I also have my own brand, Simple Happy Life.  We work from a wooden studio building at the bottom of our garden.

Simple Happy Life offers coaching, retreats, workshops and online e-courses and resources for women seeking more happiness and contentment in their lives. It’s focused very much on self care, both in terms of creating self care routines which involve things like journaling, meditation, doing what you love and taking time for your needs and wants in amongst the busyness and also looking at mind-set issues such as confidence, limiting beliefs, setting boundaries etc.

This is a very hygge way to spend my time and earn a living and I am very much focused on Simple Happy Life, as I want as many women as possible to create and enjoy the lives that they want to live. I’m currently developing an e-course about using the principle of hygge to create daily self-care rituals which I’m having a lot of fun researching at the moment!

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When did you first hear about hygge?

I was watching a series with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, quite a few years ago now, about all of the Scandinavian countries which he visited in turn. In the Denmark episode he talked about the idea of hygge and explored it by interviewing Danish people about what it was and what it meant to them. I just thought to myself ‘yes! This is exactly how I approach and live life and now I have a word for it!’.

That was a great moment as my whole philosophy about life just fell into place and I immediately set up a pinterest board called ‘hygge’, started researching and reading about it and have been a little obsessed with it ever since.

What does hygge mean to you?

To me, hygge isn’t a specific style or look; it’s a philosophy and a feeling. It’s about taking note of the simple things in life (food, nature, making, crafting etc.), taking care and time to make things as pleasant, relaxed and easy as possible and sharing all this goodness with other people that you love. It’s about discovering what works best for you in life and doing that. It’s about creating community and deeply understanding the need for taking care of one another.

Tell me about your perfect hygge day… what would you do, who would you be with and where would you spend it?

I would spend it entirely at home and in the surrounding village and countryside as, to me, where I live is extremely hygge. We have lots of friends round about, a village hall where people gather for events – the most hygge of which is Apple Day – a celebration of the apple harvest from our community orchard. The community here is very strong, we run and manage our own hall, there is a conservation group who look after the nature reserve and orchard and even a group of women we call ‘the green grannies’ who tend to and care for the gardens and planting tubs etc. It’s the kind of place where people help each other out and look out for one another in times of stress and illness and celebrate together in times of success. It’s the ultimate hygge place to live!

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So I guess my perfect hygge day would involve it being apple day, serving and eating apply cakes and bakes in the hall, visiting the orchard, maybe dabbling in apple related nature and art crafts with the children.

I would enjoy seeing and hugging friends, chatting with neighbours and then later as a family we would walk the fields and woods with Boots, perhaps picking some brambles on the way and coming home to the smells of something delicious in the oven, maybe a casserole and then making an apple and bramble crumble to enjoy afterwards. I would light all the candles, put the lamps and the oil burner on, maybe a board game or two would get pulled out or a pack of cards and we would enjoy time as a family, eating, playing and relaxing before baths and early bedtimes!

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Would you like to share links to any places on social media? Websites, social media pages etc. to do with your life or business, or that you have found particularly helpful in your hygge life?

I have a website www.simplehappylife.co.uk where visitors can read lots of articles about living a simple happy life and also sign up to my list and receive a free gratitude diary. I’m also on all the usual social media platforms but I use instagram the most where I am @_simplehappylife and have a lovely closed Facebook group for women to come and explore and develop their self-care journey which is here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1657820307817666/

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Thank you so much for sharing with us! I have to say, the hygge course sounds like a cracking idea. I keep playing with the idea of running an e-course as well, so I’ll look out for that with interest. Let me know if you’d like to be featured in A Weekend With… by emailing hyggejem@gmail.com.

Hygge and happiness go so well together. That’s why my newsletter, going out this weekend, is called Cosy Happy Hygge. It’s free to subscribe, just scroll down to the Cosy Happy Hygge sign up box and send me a line!

If you’d like to read about the small things that have helped me to be happier, my new book is available from Amazon. Happier is all about how to use the small details in life to make you happier. You can get it at Amazon. I also think the principles of enjoying life and savouring the small details is an important part of hygge and that runs through my first few books as well. You can find details about all my books, and how to connect with me on social media on the Start Here page of my blog.

You can also subscribe to a new monthly newsletter, Cosy Happy Hygge. I’m aiming it to be a cosy letter full of things to create happiness that arrices in your inbox early each month. The first newsletter will go out this weekend, and full details are on this blogpost: Cosy Happy Hygge

Neither Cosy Happy Hygge nor my blog, How to Hygge the British Way, are monetised. That means no adverts, no PR content and no product pushing just because I’ve been asked to. 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 have accepted because I think they will help to promote hygge in a busy life.
To do this, I need support. Even just the price of half a cup of  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 just leaving even a small amount. I’d be very grateful.
Thank you.

*TLA= Three Letter Abbreviation. It’s a set of letters designed to drive you mad, especially if you don’t know what they mean originally. Doctors are good at using them to bewilder patients’ relatives who try to look over the notes.

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