It’s That Time of Year, when magazines enter my house thick and fast. They’re such a reasonable way to treat yourself, usually only £5 to buy and with a pot of tea or a milky coffee and a quiet corner can add up to a few minutes of self-care, inspiration and reflection (as in reading an article and thinking “I wouldn’t do that, if I were you…”)
The workload in the office is a bit like the sea, it ebbs and flows with the incoming post. Some days I have a small pile, others a mountain of files await and I know the day will pass quickly with little time else to lift my head and look at clouds.
On days like that, I like a good chunky magazine with a wide breadth of articles, one that I can dip into when a spare five minutes does arise, at lunchtime or in the space between getting home and cooking. Times when there’s no chance to read anything deep, just enough time to skim the articles, or even just read a paragraph. Of course, problems arise in October/November because there are more magazines than there are hours in a day and I have to start making judgements and I am one of the least judgemental people I know… do I have to make a decision? Why?
Fortunately, the December edition of Woman and Home is an easy decision. I’ve bought both this and Good Housekeeping at Christmas time since before I set my own home up. Possibly since before I actually entered the target audience for the magazines, which must be between 30 to 80, usually members of a family and often creators of the home. They’re also regular holiday treats at other times of the year, because the range of articles means there’s always something of interest. So, here is December 2020, and my highlights for Christmas.
Woman and Home splits its content into Great Reads (including celebrities and some well being articles); Fashion & Beauty; Health & Wellbeing; Home, Food & Travel; and Time for You (the books and TV/screen section). At 234 pages, there’s a fair amount of advertising but generally the articles are three to four pages long, and often illustrated with photographs or some beautiful pictures. It’s a colourful magazine, with plenty to catch the eye. I’m not a fashionista, nor do I do a bundle over make up or skin care, but these are well covered, and usually give good advice.
There’s advice on decorating the house in a variety of ways: the Natural Glamour pages caught my eye, as did the Berry Bright inspiration (red and green is so me) but my real takeaway inspiration this year is that of creating my table decorations in a tray that can be lifted up and carried away when it’s time to eat or room is needed for drinks etc. I’ve seen something like this done by a friend on Instagram (Naomi, I’m looking at you) and it really does make a difference to a table. I love how W&H have styled theirs, with bottle brush trees and small houses. I probably have everything I need to do that right now, tucked away in my Christmas boxes.
There are always plenty of pages on food, cookery and baking in W&H Christmas edition, and this year is no exception. I do wonder, sometimes, how many ways to cook a turkey there actually are, but in truth it’s the small side ideas that you get that really make the difference. This year I’m keen to try sprouts and chorizo (I am the only person who will eat sprouts, so I can do what I like to them) while the stuffing and pigs in blanket wreath looks like a fun make to add a little extra smile to Christmas Day.
There are recipes for food, drinks and baking, of course (see the Gingerbread House cake up above: something similar will be happening at my house this year) and also pages of suggestions for foodie presents, extras and trimmings to buy. I don’t know what my family would make if I did get hold of Firebox Glitter Cranberry Sauce, sadly not yet available on Amazon. I’m wondering if it’s worth cheating and adding edible glitter to our usual, supermarket own-brand cranberry instead?
Truthfully, though, there’s plenty to read, and the magazine includes valuable advice on celebrating alone, green living, being kinder and handling stress at Christmas, as well as 10 pages of books and a beautiful article on Winter landscapes. I know they always show them covered in snow, but whether the Gods of Weather oblige us with the Currier and Ives scenes we seek, or whether the wellies and macs make an appearance instead, there is just something so grounding about getting outside after days cooped up with family. I’m thinking either the local Zoo or the deer park featured in W&H could make an ideal day out for five tired adults after a Christmas of food and drink.
If you’d like to support me….
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? E-books 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 even just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
My latest book, Celebrating a Contagious Christmas, is available on Amazon now as an ebook and, by popular demand, a paperback. It’s about the adjustments we’ll have to make to our usual Christmas celebrations if we’re in Lockdown come December, how illness or employment may make a difference and how we have to spread hope, not germs, in an attempt to keep the world on an even keel.
Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. 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.
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. Although it was inspired by the blog, it’s completely original work and not collected blogposts. It will probably be updated and an improved second edition coming in Spring 2021.
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 e-book version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process. I’m hoping to do a series of Self Care through the year books.
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 (all) of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
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.