It’s June. Flaming June, as the painting by Lord Frederick Leighton has it. So far, not a very warm, hot or languid season. But give it time.
I never mind a cool summer. I’m not a lover of heat, so even were it to be beaming sunshine, languid heat and air so humid you could suck it in great lungfuls and feel the steam as it hits your lungs, I would be finding the cool corners, the nooks of shade and the spaces between the sunbeams. I prefer days that are sunny enough, cool enough and dry enough to let me get on with what I want to do without feeling I’ve been transported to far Eastern climes. I may enjoy wearing cream chinos and white shirts and feeling like Isak Dinesen, but I’d really rather put a cardigan over both and sip tea next to the garden window than hunt wildebeest on wide African plains.
And, in anticipation of a couple of holidays still left in June, I spent a pleasant afternoon yesterday preparing my Kindle reading. It’s summer time: I have a week in Canterbury planned for the end of June and a long weekend in the middle of nowhere in Wales (seriously, we’re staying in a disused quarry in Snowdonia). Although Canterbury has lots of attractions and we (the Husband and I) are planning to visit most of them, Cwm Penmachno has nothing but hills and valleys and mountains and dales…. plenty of walking, and plenty of free time to do nothing.
I’m taking my art material (pastels, paper, paint and pencils) and my crochet blanket so that I can sit as the dusk falls and hook away to my heart’s content, but I’ll also have books loaded up. As usual, my summer reading tends to head sea-wards and be heavily romantic, but I think I’ve got some more….. geographically linked reading in there as well.
A Home From Home by Veronica Henry: Heartwarming, family story. Dragonfly Farm make cider, and when Tabitha and Georgia inherit the house and the cider-making business from Great Uncle Matthew they find their lives intertwined with the rival family’s. I’ve read a couple of Veronica Henry’s books before, and I know they’re good reading for the summer.
Coming Home to Cariad Cove by Darcie Boleyn ticked two boxes for me… set in Wales, and set by the sea. I’m not making it to my favourite Llyn Penninsula this year, so I think reading about Ffion and her family hotel will have to do.
A Year at the Cosy Cottage Cafe by Rachel Griffiths is proper choc-lit for the summer. I read a lot of these round-the-season books, possibly because I like the turning of the year, and I enjoy reading about cooler days even as I sit by the hot sea. I’m not sure how this will work, as it’s 4 or 5 seasonal stories bound together, but I have no doubt it will keep me busy for a time.
A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn is one I’m looking forward to: I read her A Year at Castle Court last year and loved it, especially as it was set in Chester, near (ish) to where I live. I’m hoping the little country pub in a quaint village will be just as enchanting. And, yes, I will be taking a G and T with me to drink as I read.
The Flower Farm by Rachel Lucas follows on from The Winter Cottage which I read just after Christmas. With two more in the series on pre-order, I’m taken care of until Christmas. The books are supposed to be able to be read alone, but the idea that the characters appear in each other’s stories is a comforting, interrelated idea.
I’ve also got two non-fiction books at the top of my lists: Sacred Circles is a 2009 self-help book on setting up and runing women’s circles. I’ve written about how I have a vision to set up a woman’s circle in my own life, and this is one of the pre-steps before setting it up, while Life’s Companion is even older, at 1995, but intrigues me with the idea of journal writing as a spiritual act.
And my final summer read for 2022 is edition 32 of Bella Grace Magazine. It arrived a week ago, and I have set it aside, unopened, to take with me and savour in peace without the siren call of washing, cooking or other homemaking. With articles on listmaking and night time routines, it seems ideal reading for midsummer when the nights start lengthening again.
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 Jason Leung on Unsplash. It’s waterlilies, chosen for the reflection and because the flowers resemble lotus flowers so much. And my header is one I think I used last year or the year before… but, go on! That bag! That sea! And the feeling that this is what holidays are for! Why would I not use it again? It’s a photo by Dan Dumitriu on Unsplash.