It’s a typical crazy Friday morning so far in my life. The TV has an intermittent fault, which means it clicks on and off, usually in the middle of the most interesting film or programme you’ve watched in days. Yesterday I booked it into the TV hospital an dthi smorning had to take it there. I’ll ring up at 1pm to see how it is doing.
Be glad I haven’t talked about it using human pronouns. Sometimes the TV seems to be the only thing that talks to me in the house, when everyone is busy and running around. That’s not good.
I’m sort of happy if it stays away over the weekend. It would be kind of like an imposed screen detox. No football, no Strictly, no exciting drama we ended up watching til midnight last night. It would give me a chance to do something else: I’m thinking three course dinner tonight, a book to finish tomorrow and a good magazine to read slowly all weekend.
I have that last one already, and have flicked through the pages once. A quick look at every article, a dip the toe in the water or a speedy rush through the puddles. This weekend will be more like a luxurious bubble bath than a shower. A chance to read once, then again, then mark the pages, copy the quotations and really savour the whole experience.
Bella Grace (subtitle: Life’s a Beautiful Journey) has been recommended to me for a few year’s now as a really beautiful read, a journal well-worth acquiring. Their mission statement on the back reads “We Believe: An ordinary life can be extraordinary, there is beauty in imperfection, and that magic can be found in the everyday.” That sounds perfectly ideal to me. I was so blessed last year to receive the Cosy Issue and I got it out again this Autumn to read through and recapture the feelings of cosy safeness that I needed. This edition (issue 29) is like that, but less overtly about hygge.
I’m impressed with it: the magazine is as good as a book: thick paper, beautifully tinted photographs, plenty of choice and variety of articles. The contributors are bloggers, instagrammers, writers of all kinds and contributions are always welcome, they say. I might look into that next year.
And the variety of the contributors means there’s a pleasing variety in the articles, too. Some narrative ones (Old Orange, The Forgotten Snapshot) sit happily next to list articles (29 Little Luxuries, 80 Lost Traditions) and all are interesting. Some give an insight into a way of living I will probably never experience: that small holding is not for me in real life. Others are purely inspirational. I will remember to see my home as a sacred space, a “container for love and beauty, relationships, creativity, spirituality, and all the things you do within it.” I do strive to remember that the sacred and profane live side by side. Is it possible to choose a word for the year four months before the year starts? I think my word for next year may well be Sanctuary.
I love how each contribution (each gift of writing) has a short biography at the end. “April Eileen is a forever romantic… Find her at lifeandlovelythings.com and on Instagram”. I may spend this weekend reading the book, but next weekend may well be spent on an expedition to discover the writers and their lives. Surely a magazine that shares the words of so many people all seeking an ordinary/extraordinary, beautifully imperfect, magic life is worth keeping and reading and sharing and enjoying more than once.
Reader, I have subscribed to Bella Grace for the rest of the year now (at last) and if at the end I am as happy and as inspired as I feel now, that might be extended until such a time as I can no longer afford it. Are you a subscriber, or a long-term reader? What do you do with all your past editions?
I’ll leave you, as always on a Book Friday, with a flipthrough of the book. Yes, this magazine is that good. It gets the full book treatment.
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
Day 18: The Return of an Old and well-Loved Friend
Day 19: Late Autumn Colour on the Tree I Love
Day 24: Bella Grace is a Good Name for a Magazine That’s Really A Guide to a Good Life