Book Friday: Bella Grace Issue 32

I’ve been away for nearly a week, plonked very usefully over a weekend so it didn’t take too much time away from work. It’s funny the lengths, as a self-employed firm, that you go to to maximise holiday time. We always used to go away over August Bank Holiday, so that a 5 day break from the office was really only 4 days holiday used up.

I think I’m still getting used to the idea that, now with adult children, we don’t have to take our holidays during peak season or, indeed, connected to any form of public holiday. Certainly my week away was quiet, the part of the UK we visited (Kent, and specifically Canterbury) was blissfully empty of school trips or crowds, and we had a lovely, peaceful, restful break.

Well, I say restful… I caught a chest infection as soon as I left the house, and spent most of the week like a walking Zombie, coughing, resting hard and sleeping as soon after my evening meal as I could. It was not, it seems, the quiet, peaceful book-reading break I hoped for. Indeed, I barely read any of my books. The most I could mentally or physically handle was listening to A Line To Kill on Audible, and flipping half-heartedly through my Bella Grace.

I do love this magazine: it has everything I need in a magazine, and more besides. Issue 32, the summer 2022 edition, is a beautiful mix of lists, memoires, thoughts and inspirations that all roughly gather around the idea of summer dreams, hopes, plans and adventures. I like that the magazine never seems to have a theme, beyond the Bella Grace philosophy that an ordinary life can be extraordinary.

And of course, the photographs are delicious. Beautiful, sun-dappled, soft rays of light, dewy night-time dawns, dark evenings in the last rays. Dogs, linen, books (more books), flowers, mugs, morning rides, evening camp outs. Just visual comfort on every page.

It would have been very easy for this edition to go all summery, greens and colours of flowers, reds, pinks and purples… but the book has a faded gold, olive, khaki feel. Like the leaves near the end of August. We had the zingy lime of April: here is the dust-coated dessication of a long, hot summer. I really needed to stick this one next to a vase of sunflowers on the turn, slightly drooping petals around a dark brown crown.

I’m still dipping in to finish the magazine. We returned late on Tuesday, and I did no more than fall into bed. Today, as I write, is Thursday and my brain is still in absentia. Still no reading yet this week, so the 3 or 4 pages each article takes up is just enough. Shall I read about summer movies? Watching nature as meditation? What I love about summer?

Or shall I take up my pen and make my own lists? The things it is not too late for me to do. My own favourite movie moments. The magic of Wales, the wonder of a weekend at home… and more banal to do lists. The homemaking I have let slide in a mad fortnight of work and being away. The new recipes I have found to try and recreate summer in a bowl of pasta, a traybake, a salad. Sometimes the magic in a book is not that it gives you lists of things to do, but that it inspires you to write your own.

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 magazine by a bowl of braeburns and waiting for what may… possibly…. be a thunderstorm. Time for a cup of tea, I think.

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