It’s been sunny two days in a row now, there’s now a faint glow of gloaming at seven pm hinting at longer evenings to come and I have started to think about… perhaps… summer will really happen this year.
I already have a few things booked this year: I’m not naturally a busy person, simply because I don’t usually feel the need to be, so a busy year for me is usually a few theatre trips, a couple of weekends away or even a proper (gasp) holiday and, most importantly of all, a few craft projects and piles of books to enjoy in my free time at home. I like doing things, and I like the chance to say yes last minute to different opportunities.
My summer craft project is shaping up nicely. I have really enjoyed making and wearing scarves and shawls in crochet this winter, and I impulse-bought some Stylecraft Batik Swirl yarn in a shade called Winter Woodland. I love the combination of colours: the dark maroon, gold, grey, dusky pink and mustard/ochre. It struck me as an ideal combination for an Autumn poncho, and I went looking for a straightforward rectangular pattern to use. The swirls of colour will add enough interest, I don’t see the need for an intricate pattern, and this yarn can stand a plainer poncho. I thought.
Then I saw this pattern, on a new-to-me blog, I Need It Crochet. I know it’s not absolutely plain, but I do think this will work in the batik. And the buttons at the shoulder appeal to me. So, once I’ve finished my present large shawl (in Stylecraft Batik Forest… suffragette colours for International Women’s Day) I will start this one.
And I took the chance, yesterday, to make a note of all my advance purchases on Kindle. Pre-orders are so easy to do, aren’t they? As long as the publication date is at a reasonable time of the month (in other words, on or after payday), I don’t mind making them and having a book that I’ve forgotten about drop onto my Kindle unexpectedly. Although, I seem to have taken that approach a little too easily already this year!
From today onwards, I seem to have at least one book a month arriving unexpectedly! (I will have forgotten the dates by the time they come, honestly I will). Do you want a peep at my TBR-when-they-arrive pile? I know you do.
Starting today, I’m expecting my pre-order of The Natural Cozy Cottage to be waiting for me at home. I reviewed Christiane Bellstedt Myers’ Christmas Book in 2017, and it’s been one I turn back to again and again. I’m looking forward to a peep into the rest of the house and more ideas on how to be cozy.
The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz is the fourth in his series about retired detective Daniel Hawthorn. I love that Horowitz puts himself in these books as a writer, and this time as prime suspect! I had to order the Kindle for the husband and me to read, and the Audible version for Second Son, who listens to his books as he walks rather than reads them.
Queen High by C J Carey is the sequel to a book I’ve just finished, Widowland, which you really should read first. They’re both set in an alternate history where the Germans won the war, Britain is a vassal state and women are graded by usefulness, age and looks. Rose, a good-looking young woman, has spent her working life re-writing literature to take the strong women out, until she finds out it’s too hard to remove strong women from life entirely. Good thrillers, with interesting settings.
Midsummer House and Christmas at Applemore by Rachel Lucas are both sequels to books I’ve read recently, The Winter Cottage and The Flower Farm. There’s a popular tendency in gentle romance novels nowadays to set several novels in the same village or situation, even if each book acts as a stand alone with new protagonist and slightly different situation each time. I quite like it, and since I really enjoyed The Winter Cottage and Rachel Lucas’ other books, the few pounds each the books cost can’t really be begrudged. One hits my pile on 2nd June and the other on 1st December, so that’s a day reading beneath the trees and another one cosied in front of the fire.
Talking of sequels set in lovely places, The Village of Happy Ever Afters is the fourth set in Riverside Lane and by a writer whose work I really enjoy, Alison Sherlock. This one is released on 31st March, a Thursday, and I hope I can take the Saturday off to settle down and enjoy it. With a teashop setting, this might be one I take on an adventure to enjoy with a scone and chai all by myself in an actual teashop nearby!
And just in case you think I read nothing but cosy home making books and cute choc-lit romances, I have Joshua Becker’s new book, Things That Matter, on pre-order. Timed to arrive just after Easter, it will provide me with inspiration to pare back, pursue better and seek meaning in my life. As the blurb goes, “How do we get to the end of our lives with minimal regrets? We set aside lesser pursuits to seek lasting meaning. And we discover the joy of doing it every day.” And Arthur Brooke’s From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Purpose in the Second Half of Life is out later this month. I heard him on a podcast, and he made sense to me there, so I looked up his book and treated myself.
Which books are you anticipating this year? How do you choose yours? What guides you? At least two of mine had no cover when I pre-ordered them, but how far does the cover of a book entice you?
I’m lucky today the sun is shining and I’ve finished official work. Time to get on with my next book, if I can. Hygge Homemaking, only available as an ebook. If I can’t polish my windows at home in reality, I can write about doing them from my desk….
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. Lent is a season of rituals and resets. The book has small and easy ways to make your life flow with grace and happiness, which lead to more hygge.
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. And it’s always the little things.
Planning ahead, early, is How to Hygge Your Summer. It has ideas for taking your hygge with you out of winter and to any place you go in the summer… the beach, the park, your holidays. Hygge is an all-year feeling, so start preparing and let’s hygge the heck out of summer this year!
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.
The regular photo I’m currently using between text and my book promotions is a photo by Pascal Debrunner on Unsplash. It’s sunflowers, in honour of Ukraine, since war is crazy and horrible and about as uhygge as you can get. If you’d like to donate to help the refugees fleeing, please give to the emergency appeal in your country. In the UK I’m giving to the DEC Ukrainian appeal. And my header is a photo by Shelbey Fordyce on Unsplash. I chose it because the blue piano caught my eye. I love the fact it has a row of plants on top, and that the bookshop behind has a very apt quote for life on the window.