It’s properly Autumn now, with chilly mornings that brighten into golden showered days when the Sun smiles with a last gasp of heat. Days when the sky flashes between the blue of a robin’s eggs into a silver streaked grey that lowers and threatens to rain. In the countryside, nature’s harvest falls thick and fast, with conkers, acorns, beech nuts and seeds aplenty scattered along the way, while in the city workers pack for lunches of sunshine and showers in uncertain days. The evenings are drawing in, the light fading as the offices close, and people start looking at their homes as a cosy place, a space to stay, rather than a landing pad before a night’s activities.
I love these days, when my home becomes my space again. I love to settle down for the night, mug in hand, and make my home into my nest. I’m a great believer in self care, in having treats designed to give your body and mind a boost. You can, of course, subscribe to a range of selfcare boxes at a price to suit your pocket. I’ve enjoyed occasionally subscribing to boxes, but I usually cancel after only one or two. I just enjoy creating my own pampering, my own wellness cure or my own comforts in my nest. If you struggle to choose your own items, and would like to try a box for a short while, then Slow Box offer a monthly subscription for £35, Living Hygge offer a monthly box for £14.99 or send a friend in need a Care Box by MadeBySteffiB on Etsy for £7.50 excluding postage.
If you’re an independent soul, and want to pamper yourself without signing up to a monthly delivery, then setting aside £10 or £20 a month and comitting to spending that on yourself can be the way to go. Take yourself on a creative excursion to your favourite shops, market or craft fair and treat yourself to something small and mood boosting. Here, then, are ten easy products to make you happier.
- A Scented Candle. Choose a soft scent or seasonal smell. I’m a sucker for spices or food-related scents. Candles are great because you can buy your candle to suit your cashflow. Feeling skint? Boots do a Yankee Candle votive gift box for £2.99. Prepared to round up your cash a little? The wonderfully named Strudel + Spice candle in a can from Can to Candle is a beautifully presented hand-poured candle at only £12.50 excluding postage. With a burn time of 50 hours, that’s a fair amount of relaxing to do!
- A New Notebook. I don’t know about you, but at times of stress I like to cosy up with a notebook and write my worries away. Sometimes I just write a list of all the issues worrying me, and then either try to make notes on possible solutions, or just scribble them out. There is something therapeutic about a good scribble! Getting Personal has a wide selection of notebooks that you can add your own name or sentiment to with prices from £6.99, or Custom Design Shop on Amazon will do pocket-sized leather-look notebooks with elastic binding for £8.99 and engrave your own message on them!
- Enjoy a warm bath. Time spent soaking away your troubles is never time wasted. Find a good quality bubble bath or bath oil, and let your spirits rest as well as your body. Dr Teal’s Foam Bath contains epsom salts as well as a lavender scent for only £10.99 or boost your winter wellness with Radox Bath Oil Eucalyptus Scent from Boots for £3.99.
- Make a proper pot of tea. There are few luxuries to compare to a proper pot of loose leaf tea. If you like plain black tea, then 50g of Family Tea can be posted out to you for only £7.00 from Postcard Teas, or £7.00 a month will net you a selection of flavoured teas from Bird and Blend as part of their monthly Tea Club. I subscribe to this, and it’s one of the few subscription boxes I stick with.
- Slip a relaxing DVD in and snuggle up to watch an uplifting movie. Recent choices that I have made and loved are Finding Your Feet, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and, for a wicked chuckle, The Book Club. Under a blanket, sipping your tea, nibbling a piece of chocolate… could life get better?
- Read something uplifting. A good story, or an inspirational biography, can carry you away from the world you are in. I have read, cried at and loved The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan. It’s a gem of a book, with worldly wisdom in a story. Love every minute of life, and live every moment. Or for a biography tied up with books, try Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan. Beautifully nostalgic, it will have any fellow bookworm nodding with shared joy.
- Make your world comfy cosy. Have you got a good throw? How about a deep, soft cushion to lean against? Look out around the supermarkets for bargain choices. I particularly love George at Asda’s Jumbo Cord Cushion, available in a range of colours for £7.99, or their Supersoft Elephant Print Throw at £6.00. Are you a crafter? Then make your own using a simple ripple pattern by Attic 24 and Stylecraft DK, available in a range of 60 plus colours.
- Practise a Craft. Are you a needlewoman? A crocheter? Knitter? Whittler? Grab your tools and make something during the evenings. Working with your hands has a powerful positive impact on your mental well-being, and raw materials can cost as little, or as much, as you have available. I love the Home is Where the Heart Is kit from Hobbycraft, at only £7.00 including hoop.
- Get away into the wilderness… or as close as you can get. Take a flask and a sandwich and go into your local park. An afternoon spent walking, eating and enjoying people watching is a pleasure in the middle of a busy life. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live near the coast, visit the seaside and eat chips with the waves. The restorative power of nature is always great.
- Eat chocolate. Chocolate really should be counted as a superfood. I always remember my friend Margaret telling me it is impossible to cry and suck chocolate. I like to keep a bar in the house for just such emergencies. I’m also keen to try the new Gingerbread Matchmakers, available at Tesco. At £2 for 120g they won’t break either the bank or the diet too badly.
There you go: 10 items for about £10. Who said hygge had to be expensive? In fact, if you’re like me and willing to shop your home you could probably find everything you need for an enjoyable self-care session without spending a penny. Hygge never needs to cost an exorbitant amount of money: food, drink and friends is all it needs at the bottom. That, and the willingness to release expectations, the power to slow down and a heart ready to appreciate the many gifts that life has to offer.
(Note: none o fthese items are affiliate links, except any that have an Amazon link, where I am a member of their Affiliates programme. That just means if you buy anything from Amazon through a link on this page, I get a couple of pennies. I save them up and spend them on books and other products for the blog, so it’s like a circle of giving)
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 next edition is due out this week, and full details are on this blogpost: Cosy Happy Hygge. You can also subscribe quite simply by clicking this link and filling in the large orange form that it leads to!
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.
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