Book Friday: The Natural Cozy Cottage by Christiane Bellstedt Myers

What a great title that is: who wouldn’t want a cottage that is both natural and cozy? The subtitle is “100 styling ideas to create a warm and welcoming home” which is just as good.

I have already reviewed one of Christiane Bellstedt Myers’ books, the beautiful Scandi Christmas from 2017, and you can read that review here. Somehow, I seem to have missed reviewing her second book, Seasonal Scandi Crafts, but I think it came out in 2019 when I was struggling with some personal issues. I may revisit it, perhaps in a catch up post one day.

Suffice to say, through Instagram and her website, I have loved her vintage, heavily red and white style of living for a while. It didn’t surprise me that the foreword for this book was written by Caroline Zoob, because the love of vintage fabrics, patterns and prints is obvious and the use of embroidery in every room in the house is amazing…. check out the shelf edging in the pantry if you don’t believe me!

The Natural Cozy Cottage is an interiors book rather than a craft book, and all the better for that. There are craft projects in it, of course, but they’re not the focus of the text, which is to share simple ideas on creating cosiness. The photographs are all taken in and around Christiane’s beautiful cottage, with white walls, white worn floorboards and sinkable chairs on every page almost, but even were you (like me) to live in a house that is, palette-wise, as far away from white and worn as you can get, the principles of cozy living are easily transferable to any home.

The book is arranged into three parts: The first part is called Creating a Cozy Home and looks at the elements that, regardless of room, make a home cosy: textiles, lighting, possessions. The next two parts, The Cozy Rooms and The Cozy Outside look at applying the elements inside and out. I like how Christiane takes each area of the house one by one and looks at what little changes or focuses can add extra comfort and cosiness to each one, and also that she so clearly sees the outside area as just an extension of her house.

Christiane writes “With all the pressures of everyday life, it is important to try to carve out time to create a simple and contented way of living.” and the book is a great inspiration to do just that: there is nothing fancy, no great marble worktops, fancy kitchen islands or great sofas stuffed with cushions and velvet throws here. There are a lot of antique shop finds, or inherited pieces that fit together in a haphazard way that works.

I love that Christiane spends time telling you why she has various pieces in the home: the inspiration she got from grandparents and mother, the trips to France and the husband that went along with her thrift and love for used, worn, chipped. There is a story and a provenance about every piece, but they are not valuable and irreplaceable antiques. The home is not one that you would be terrified to sit down in, or feel obliged to take your shoes off at the door for cleanliness purposes, although you would want to kick them off for comfort before snuggling into the living room sofa or the reading nook chair and sharing a pot of tea by candlelight.

Nature matters, a lot, and the vast numbers of hydrangeas and lilac blossom used throughout the book has put me in quite a Spring mood already. (If the weather stays as sunny as it is today, I think my garden is in for a post-winter spruce and sort this weekend: get the adirondack chairs out and clear the lawn ready to treat the moss) The chapters on cozying up the garden are beautifully done: I really think British houses miss out on not having porches, although I’m not sure your average suburban estate would know what to do if all the inhabitants started sitting out and talking to each other instead of tersely nodding as they hurry by!

I get the feeling that living the Cozy way like Christiane does takes time, rather than money, and patience to wait, find a piece that is good enough rather than will just about do and then insert it into your home. I like that the furniture is adapted, raised or lowered to suit the need, and that it all has a functional as well as decorative appeal.

At 8 inches by 10 inches with good quality matt paper, this is a book to skim, to read and to skim again. I’ve flipped through a few times and dipped in and out. The text is lovely, but the power of this book lies very heavily in the pictures and the ideas that you glean from them. It is, dare I say, a ready-made inspiration book, especially if you like Cabbages and Roses, Shabby Chic or Caroline Zoob’s style.

As usual, a flipthrough of the book to finish.

And now for a word from our sponsors….

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 by <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@find_something_pretty_everyday?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/hydrangea?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">UnsplashHasmik Ghazaryan Olson on Unsplash. I love hydrangeas any way, although the many I plant in my garden never seem to take. I think, inspired by Chrstiane, I may well give them another go this year.

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