The Hygge Life by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy.
The subtitle for this book says it all:
Embracing the nordic art of coziness through recipes, entertaining, decorating, simple rituals and family traditions.
Written by an American journalist and an award-winning Icelandic chef (I’ll let you work out which is which), this is a 160 page book that deserves a space next to Meik Wiking’s Little Book of Hygge and Trine Hahnemann’s Scandinavian Comfort Food as a hygge book that you will flick through again and again and again.
It’s a good blend of recipes and thoughts on what hygge is, and why we hygge, and very much focused on creating comfort and cosiness in your life.
Hygge is about making time to pause and be grateful, taking a deep breath, turning off your gadgets and listening to what nature has to tell you. It’s about absorbing the laughter of your children and meaningfully listening to the stories our elders want to share with us. There is hygge wisdom to be gained there. It’s about self-care and not feeling guilty about it. Loving ourselves is the first step to living the hygge life.
The book is organised into five sections: Starting the day, Caring for yourself, Staying in, Easy gatherings and holidays, and Getting out. There are recipes for each section, with a strong bias towards fresh ingredients, of course, and an icelandic slant. If you love fish, there are several really appealing recipes, such as baked cod with chorizo, fried fish and simple instructions for a marinated herring smorrebrod. I haven’t had a chance to try any of them yet, but there are a few I’ve earmarked for later experimentation in the winter.
Recipes are beautifully presented with pictures for most of them alongside instructions that, although not numbered, are generally clearly set out. Pages interspersed between the recipes have simple ideas for movie nights, cookie parties, packing for trips or enjoying the outdoors. The ideas are easy, simple, possibly ones you’ve had already, but there is always space for another little gem to add to your life. I am smitten with the idea of a hygge road trip, bringing along a friend or two, food, powerpacks and a good map, driving off to a new location and exploring the area. The advice “Don’t skip the kooky shops and cafes you stumble upon” has me positively enthused for a trip SOON please, to Pendle Hill.
It is interesting to see a book on hygge written from an Icelandic point of view. So often, we are presented with hygge as a purely Danish thing, but Bronte Aurell is always keen to stress a Swedish element, while Signe Johansen presented her hygge with a definite Norwegian twist. The Scandi-Nordic countries share a lot of things in common, so it’s good to see that self-care, family and food are highly rated all over the area.
The book is a beautiful hardback, with quality paper and pictures. Ideal, really, as a gift for anybody new to hygge or in love with hygge and looking to add another book to their bookshelf.
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 are 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. It is a cosy letter full of things to create happiness that arrives in your inbox early each month. The first newsletter went out at the beginning of September, and full details are on this blogpost: Cosy Happy Hygge. You can also subscribe quite simply by filling in the large orange form below!
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