2019 was crap. Can I just say that straight out: from beginning to end I’m not sure I could string together more than 3 weeks when I wasn’t stressed, sad, low or simply burdened.
I’ve taken over a month off: Christmas has that effect on me, between the business of life and the extra work load, I find December escapes from me if I’m not totally dedicated. I had a great plan for a Charitable Christmas blogpost series, looking at ways to help local (and not so local) charities whether or not you had money. Sadly, less than a week after losing Sherlock we lost another guinea pig, Charlie, and that was the end of my festive get up and go.
But I’ve never been one to give up so easily so I’m back, and this time I know I need to keep this blog open. The feedback I get in comments and support on social media makes it one of my happy places, and writing even the smallest post helps to clear my head in a world that increasingly tries to fill my head with its own weird concerns and stresses. So, today, it’s the first in a mostly-weekly (allowing for the occasional day off) series: Magazine Monday. The aim is to take a magazine currently on the newstands and flip through it looking for the best and happiest influences. Good advice, good stories, good ideas that will feed into my life and improve it. Today’s magazine is Breathe Issue 26.
On their website, Breathe magazine say that ‘The aim of (the) magazine is to help you “make more time for yourself”.’ Well, that’s totally in line with the actions I identified for myself as necessary this year if I’m to move back into my happy sphere of life. Separated into five sections, Breathe has articles on wellbeing, living, mindfulness, creativity and travel, with great emphasis placed on integrating mental, spiritual and physical fitness. They have a Facebook page and an Instagram feed, but don’t obsessively post everything every day, which is better than being spammed every half hour with the same content (as some major news outlets do).
Issue 26 has a wide variety of articles, well-wrtten and text intensive. It’s not a simple half-hour read, but a magazine that forces you to take your time. I keep mine by my chair and slide through the articles as they appeal to me. This week I really enjoyed one called Stranger Connections, about talking to the strangers we meet only once. I’m a great believer in this, and have been known to strike up conversations on the Underground in London, but only with another Outsider (she was from Newcastle, where a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet as well)
“The more it becomes the norm to avoid engagement (with strangers) the more people will feel awkward about instigating it.”
From the front cover onwards, the magazine is beautifully illustrated, and several of them are presented as full-page section dividers complete with meaningful quote, so I suppose could be ripped out and framed if they particularly spoke to you.
It’s good to see creativity that encompasses more than knitting and journalling as well. This month’s articles were about the power of opposites in artistic friendships (David Bowie and Liz Taylor, for example), the opportunity that writing a sitcom provides and a really interesting article on Hikaru Dorodango. No, I hadn’t either, but go look it up.
The next edition hits the UK shops on 23rd January. I may/may not be subscribed already, but I think I probably am. Certainly this weekend when I was emptying a corner of my bedroom, Breathe magazines kept turning up so I either buy every month, or regularly enough to look out for it in the supermarket. It’s £5.99, but good value since there’s a lot of reading and information for the money.
My new book, Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. As you know, I do the whole kit and caboodle myself, from writing to proofreading to designing and I’m very proud of this one. It’s about using rhythm and ritual to make your life a gentler, kinder place. Writing it has been an important part of my mental health recovery.
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, as an Amazon Affiliate, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.
Truthfully, I’ll probably never make a living as a writer, but I do make a little extra income that gets ploughed back into books and magazines. One obsession feeds the other…