Magazine Monday: Country Homes and Interiors Feb 2020

Some interiors magazines just have interiors… it’s about the paint colours, and the stockists, the latest trends and where you *must* get that latest chair….

I’m a long-term subscriber to Country Homes and Interiors. A few years ago, I pared my subscriptions down to the bone (to simplify my life and in an attempt to read more online) but this one I kept. It’s a good blend of interiors, gardens, lifestyle and cooking with an emphasis on achievable and liveable country style. Throughout the year it covers seaside style, botannical, mid-century chic and often period style homes. There’s also a thick green stripe running through the magazine, because very often Country style does mean repurposing things and reusing items in a new way.

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This month’s edition struck me as particularly hygge because there was a definite emphasis on appreciating life, from the editor’s letter (“When winter’s doing its worst, all you can do is batten down the hatches and ride it out”) to the beautifully staged photographs of a hygge nook, complete with books, magazines and a radio. The workers this month (they always feature some form of craftsmen or country-based business) were furniture makers, and I find woodworking seems to me to be a totally hygge job with its emphasis on natural materials and lack of, for example, really hot forge or totally freezing storage.

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Feel good living, creating a warm and cosy space, doesn’t need to cost a fortune. In fact, it probably will give you greater pleasure to know that you’ve used items you already had, crafted or inherited but that really give you joy in using them daily. A lesson I have tried to live by (learned courtesy of my Nana and Mother in Law) is to use my good stuff every day. Life isn’t a rehearsal, and those handkerchiefs in a box are really pretty, but if you never use them, you never give anybody else the chance to see them. Clearing her house out after the MiL died taught me that objects are only objects, and keeping them safer than you keep yourself is daft. I take pleasure now in using the items I’ve bought and inherited over the years to make my house a home. The magazine’s inspiration pages often set me thinking and searching for the vase I know I have that would be just right with some early daffodils in… or that silver tray that would look lovely on my dressing table…

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I love how the staged photographs of people’s homes have fires in the fireplaces, pots of tea on the coffee table, books open and a real feeling of them being lived in… they might have spent hours staging the look, but it works. And very often I come away with a tweak that I want to make to my home: a small vignette, a different way of piling my cushions, or a picture that I want to draw. Even just the feeling that this weekend or the next I want to have proper afternoon tea at home, with a victoria sponge. A proper reason to stop and enjoy life.

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Of course, there are pages of adverts and plenty of advice on things to buy. I have said before and I will say again: you need to buy nothing (except perhaps a bottle of milk) to enjoy hygge. Look around, adapt what you have, create what you need and, if you recognise an item that you do want to get, consider the purchase carefully, take time and buy well. In the picture below, for example, could you save on the throw by crocheting one yourself, live without a fancy water carafe and decorate a clock with paint or pictures from a magazine in order to save up for a decent DAB radio? Do you need your radio to look good? You might want to save your money entirely and spend it on a weekend away by the sea, because the BBC Sounds app and a cheap portable speaker work just as well for you.

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We each have our own priorities, and we each decide where our most valuable assets (time and money) are best spent. That’s why I’m still a subscriber to Country Homes and Interiors. When I need that half hour off in the middle of the month, and want my heart and eyes to be stimulated, I turn to them.

You can find Country Homes and Interiors online at Facebook, where they share photos and ideas to warm your heart, on Pinterest as Country Homes & Interiors with loads of eye candy for the home lover and on Instagram as @CountryHomesMag.

If you’d like to support me….

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.

Cosy Happy Hygge

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.

3-Have Yourself A Happy Hygge Christmas

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.

How to Hygge Your Summer, in Paperback and Kindle form, has lots of good ideas for the summer months. I strongly believe that hygge is so much more than throws and warm drinks.

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.

Happier on Amazon

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…

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