Book Friday: The New Mindful Home (and how to make it yours) by Joanna Thornhill

I reallly do appreciate how sometimes a load of different interests or philosophies of a person can intersect to create something wholly personal, intensely suited to them. A neat-freak, tech-obsessed minimalist, for example, whose dream home is a white box flat in a neat, square glass-coated tower block will have a clear, clean, virtual-living focused home, while a gardener in love with organic, natural living will have a home that lets nature rule inside and out.

I’ve found over the years that hygge intersects with so many interests and philosophies. Minimalist? Great. Hygge focuses on the important things of life. Penniless hedonist? Excellent. Hygge is about enjoying the best of life (family, friends, freedom) without boasting or showing off about it. Introverted creatrix? Hygge is a good way to socialise so that you get your inspiration and support without being overwhelmed.

Hygge just works as a bedrock for so many philosophies. It just works for so many people in their own ways.

Mindfulness, though…. hygge is absolutely tied up with mindfulness in a cosy, comfortable way. Mindfulness with cocoa, you might say. And mindful hygge ties in to intentional living, ties in to intentional consumption, ties in to natural or handmade environments ties in to wanting a home that reflects your character, and that of the other people who live there, while also providing the comfortable, supportive base you need to restore normality after a 21st Century day has driven you wild. It ties in to making the most of what you have, gratitude, and a willingness to step away from the modern world and embrace a slower, kinder, gentler way of being.

Today’s book is a great collection of so many points of intersection for hygge. The New Mindful Home is not about creating a sterile white environment, or about being so stuffed with collected eclectic items you can’t move, but about recognising what you yourself need, and steering your home in a direction that makes that possible.

It’s a small-ish book at 7 by 9 inches and only 144 pages long, but the text is close and dense per page, while the opposite page has pictures that have been well-chosen to illustrate the author’s point.

The author, Joanna Thornhill, is an interior designer and has featured in magazines/websites like Fabric, where I have to be honest, her home looks like my kind of place: eclectic, collected, meaningful and comfortable. Her Instagram is a visual delight as well, and I’m interested to know she’s working on a new book about the psychology of home. One to look out for, definitely.

The New Mindful Home is very well designed, with a clear and comprehensive content page. It’s organised into seven chapters: Creating a Sanctuary (!My 2022 word!), Considered Living, Mindful Objects, Clean Living, Becoming Biophilic, Craft and Creativity, and Edited and Organised. There are between 6 and 10 subheadings under each chapter title, and each of these has a page of dense text and a page of photographs that nicely illustrate the point being made.

I worried that the limited area given to each topic might make the book interest-lite, but it doesn’t. Joanna uses surveys and references well, so that if a particular topic is of interest, there is a pointer to somewhere to explore it in greater depth.

I like how the book is structured: if you know you need advice on environmentally mindful living, then Considered Living covers responsible consumerism, the beauty of bare surfaces, cruelty free decorating, conscientious construction, friendly materials and setting up a recycling zone. Reject, reduce, reuse, recycle in a whole chapter.

Any of the chapters could be larger, of course they could, and form a whole book by themselves, but the restriction of the page means every word has to be meaningful. There’s no padding, just pure advice and inspiration. I love the chapter on Craft and Creativity. It focuses on craft as a de-stressing activity, of course, with the benefits on physical and mental health of creating and finding your flow activity, but I also love how Joanna highlights the social power of craft. Find a craft circle (sounds familiar to me!) and working together to create circles of support in non-threatening situations.

The addition of Resources advice at the back is useful. There are websites recommended for every chapter, along with a couple of Instagram pages per topic to follow. I might have liked a list of books that Joanna enjoyed or thought suitable to each chapter… but that’s me being greedy, and loving books. Besides which: my son says I need no more books on decluttering or minimalism. It’s quite a collection.

It’s a book for skimming and skipping back and to in, rather than a deep read at first sitting. And in some cases, such as the page on rituals, it’s one to inspire not dictate… but that’s good. Nobody can slavishly follow anyone else’s rituals, because nobody lives exactly the same life as anyone else. I like that the book leaves space between the topics, metaphysically, for you to fill in with your own “I’m not sure about that… but I could do this….” to get you thinking for yourself.

And, as per usual, I’ll leave you with the flipthrough.

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 a photo of today’s book with my little Mindful Monkey who sits on my desk at work. A reminder to breathe… often….

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