How was your weekend? I had a really simple, relaxed time. I did a lot of the things off my list I set out on Thursday, but not all. Sometimes the point of a list is not getting everything done but being relaxed and able to give yourself permission to play hookey.
My dining room windows now have cute grey and white heart decorations… the outside were 99p from B and M, the inside are East of India hanging heart decorations… while my front door has a natty set of 4 wicker hearts (£1.99 from B and M). Making the place cosy doesn’t take a lot of cash, sometimes just a rethink of what you have. I restrung the hearts with red ribbon from Christmas, instead of the cheap, white ribbon they came with.
I decluttered my January and February magazines as well, so now I have a pile of pages to trim and stick into my inspiration books. And I spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon reading through April’s magazines. My other paper clutter is still waiting for me to take it on: I’ll just move it to a different weekend, or use the long Easter break as a chance to really sink my teeth into it.
And so today dawns, a new week, and I am feeling so much better. I’ve left a clean, if not absolutely clutter free, house behind me and am sat at work with my fan on, since the heating is on full blast in a way it never was during the depths of winter, and taking a few minutes while both I and the computer warm up to write a blogpost.
I promised to write a Spring Hygge list, and really it seems a shame not to, when April is just around the corner, the weather is beginning to hint at better times to come and this weekend was the Equinox/Ostara so from now onwards until June the days are longer than the nights. Woohoo! Get that Spring Hygge on!!
Hygge at any time of the year is basically the same: about creating a cosy and welcoming nest, gathering your favourite people and enjoying good food. It’s about enjoying nature as it is at that moment and very much about being present: you may enjoy planning for summer now or even thinking ahead to Christmas, but your head and heart should very much both be present in this moment. Mindful, grounded, at peace with your life and your self even if just for a few minutes at a time. Last year hygge was in short supply: we were trapped, anxious and scraping what little peace and hope we had together to feel good in short bursts before the worries and concerns about the pandemic closed in. This year must be a little easier: we’ve survived a year of Lockdown and other regulations, we have a rhythm going in life, and with the vaccine roll out in the UK at least, we’re beginning to hope for a better. freer future. The second year of any new experience is usually easier than the first, if not better, because at least you have an idea of what it’s like. But I digress.
My Spring Hygge list is a good mix of indoor and outdoor ideas, and always has a fair amount of garden involved. I also find Spring is a more natural time for me to want to boost my nutritional and health demands, with exercise and food both taking a lift from the longer nights. I keep my list in my planner, and there’s always space for more ideas.
Spring Hygge 2021:
- Bake a Simnel Cake for Easter. The eleven balls of marzipan on top are supposed to be the apostles of Jesus minus, of course, Judas Iscariot because he betrayed Jesus. All I know is spacing them is a pain because who ever needs to space odd numbers like 7 and 11?
- Change your tea over to a lighter, citrus scented one. I like Earl Grey tea during spring and summer, although my favourite Chai tea is never far away, but this year I’m upscaling two ways, and giving Rooibos Earl Grey a go. Both rooibos and Earl Grey tea is great with or without milk, so that’s another benefit.
- Choose a scented candle for your work desk. Light florals or fresh citrus smells can be great for spring. I’m enjoying St Eval’s range of candles: Bluebell Wood is lovely and lightly floral, while Bay and Rosemary appeals to me as a herb lover.
- Choose a short walk near to you that has a good range of trees and plants. Walk there once a week at least and take a photo every time. The road around the corner from my house has a run of blossom trees, some white and some pink, that blossom at slightly different times. From now until the end of April or beginning of May it should be a continuous show of blossom, unless a rough wind does shake the darling buds.
- Revisit old friends for sunshine reading. I’m heading back to The Darling Buds of May series by H E Bates. Written in the 1950s, the books are redolent with old ways, such as hop picking and fruit collecting in season, cakes for tea every day and fish and chips eaten out of newspaper. It’s like a peep into a world that never was, now, but I read them first as escapism during O and A levels, so to me they’re an echo of a free time during a period of stress. I’ve also got several Choc-lit choices lined up which I may take an hour to post about later….
- And don’t forget the nostalgia in an old TV series. My husband and I watch Rumpole of the Bailey every Sunday, but I’ve been working my way through the entirety of The West Wing (such easy, simple days back then) and will probably move on to Gilmore Girls again, this time without my faithful sidekicker.
- Listen to Rumi, whose wise lines run:
If of thy worldly goods thou art bereft . . .
and to thee alone two loaves are left,
sell one, and with the dole,
buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
- Hyacinths are a must-have in my garden and house during spring. From January to April, I try and have some blooming in my living room. I picked up a couple of small baskets for Easter this weekend, and they do feed my soul. Any plant will, really, so my geraniums are back looking perky after a winter of just leaves, my peace lily is at peace again and the garden, mine or other people’s, is a source of delight once more.
- Spend time just pootling in the garden. Brush up the leaves, have an impromptu bonfire of the fallen twigs and toast marshmallows in the evening sunset. Make a weekend of it, with the whole family involved washing furniture, brushing up paths and getting the garden spick and span for a summer of hygge.
- Start off some seeds for later summer enjoyment. Plant your sunflowers inside to give them a start, or take advice from Sarah Raven on which seeds are good to plant in March. Or if you, like me, are not a natural gardener, then invest in some metal flowers for the garden to add colourful kitsch to a dark corner.
- Keep a basket by your garden door with a throw and a small craft project (embroidery is ideal) along with a magazine or two ready to grab and go as soon as you’re free to sit outside with a cup of tea in the (sometimes) weak spring sunshine.
- Get outside as often as possible. As the UK crawls out of Lockdown, start using your privileges. Meet a friend in the park for coffee, invite your bookclub over to your garden to enjoy a meeting by torchlight or just get outside to soak up the Vitamin D. Take a picnic, and travel to the nearest shore (lake, river or sea) to enjoy the water. After a year locked in, I am anticipating a year of outside.
So there you are. My Spring Hygge list. Small things to make my house and life cosy. I’m going to be back with a list of my current book choices for comfort reading soon, and I have ideas fomenting about activities to do with other people that are good during springtime. For now, the call of work is irresistible so I have to go….
My header today is a picture of blossom trees by Toni Hukkanen on Unsplash. Unusually for me, the picture was in portrait form, so I have no idea how it looks on the header until I press Publish. I couldn’t resist the colours, though. That pink and turquoise just zing with spring fever, don’t they?
How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:
Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human.
Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better.
How to Hygge Your Summer: Hygge isn’t just about candles, throws and fireside cuppas (if indeed it is ever actually about them) and this book gives you ideas for creating hygge ready spaces and paces of life throughout the summer.
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.