I have never not lived in a house with a garden.
I’m not even a particularly good gardener, and I’m definitely an untidy one, with piles of leaves, rampant garden shrubs and a general ability to let the place go free as long as I have a decent chair (tick: my Adirondack chair is still not blue, but it’s good for after work meditations) and a decent book.
But I do like having a garden and. especially, a garden big enough to have trees. Our house was built on the site of the old Liverpool Orphanage, which you can find a map of on this webpage. If you can see the map, my house is just about where the 202 is on the road. The trees marked on the map are still, for the most part, there, although our neighbour did have a great big old tree that collapsed a couple of years ago, taking a two metre stretch of the wall with it. The oldest tree in our garden had, sadly, died before we moved in, although a great 3 metre high trunk had been left, because the Council didn’t have permission to remove the darned thing and would only cut it down as far as they could reach without trespassing.
We’ve lived in the house for 20 years now, so plenty of time to plant a replacement or two. I’m so happy that I got a mountain ash tree in. The Rowan is a traditional British tree, which has so many little legends and folklore attached to it: it wards off evil, witches both hate and love it, it has links to Thor, who used it as a weapon. In meterology, the presence of a lot of berries on the tree indicates a good grain harvest but a bad winter to come.
Looks like I might need to get a decent pair of slippers for the winter. And remember to feed the birds.
Watching the trees in the garden change is a long-term hobby usually, but this year the trees seem to have almost changed as I look at them. Every day there’s been a few more yellow tinges, then whole leaves turned and soon the garden will be carpeted by them.
This year I intend taking a photo every Sunday/Monday of my Rowan tree. Just to mark the subtle changes in colour, the stripping of the berries by the birds and the return of the green leaves next spring. Like an old friend getting ready for a night out, my Rowan Tree will dress herself in finery, rest up and get ready again to greet the world. She just does it a lot slower than most of my friends.
I’ve decided to have one header for the whole season of small things: it’s one of my favourite pictures by Alex Geerts on Unsplash. I love the whole colour scheme, which just makes me feel so autumnal. I love the socks, the book, the blanket, the tea, the leaves and pumpkin. There are so many small pleasures in the picture, it’s like my ambition for this whole series in one simple shot.
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. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. 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:
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. August is like a pause before real life begins again in September, so it’s a second chance to set up rituals and rhythms that boost happiness and work for you.
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.
On the principle that it’s never too early to start thinking ahead, really, and that Christmas is always on us before we know, how about Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas? Christmas is about the small things in life, much as hygge is, and establishing what you want from Christmas and then being able to say no to the excess is important. The book has hints and tips that hopefully will help you enjoy what is, too often, a frantic season.
Available as just an ebook, and a short, sharp read, is Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas: Easy Ways to keep the Joy of Christmas, and your Sanity, intact. It’s an easy read, with ideas and hints to keep you sane through the season. The self-care advent calendar is one I’ve followed for a few years now, and it really is a small daily dose of calm in a manic month.
And on the basis that we may well find ourselves in Lockdowns or unable to enjoy an absolutely normal Christmas under Covid regulations if numbers spike, why not read and plan alternatives? Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was written in response to the pandemic last year, and will need updating soon, but it is about celebrating whatever the situation, and does have good advice on stocking up an emergency cupboard, celebrating when travelling to relatives is impossible and putting the heart of Christmas back into the heart of the celebrations.
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.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well, and read the other posts in the series, too.
My September of Small Things:
Day Three: Plants, Naturally
Day Four: A New Magazine that Really Suits Me
Day Five: Autumnal Decor Ready for the Harvest
Day Eight: Life Lessons From the Roadside
Day 11: Autumning Up My Planner
Day 12: A Brief Pause in a Very Busy Day