Full Disclosure: Becci Coombes, the author, is a member of The Hygge Nook on Facebook and also follows me on Instagram. I’ve ordered from her shop, http://www.hyggestyle.co.uk before now and I really love the scandi style she has. When she got in touch and offered me a review copy of Craft Your Own Cosy Scandi Christmas, I said yes straight away. Not because it was a freebie and I’m all about the freebies (because I am not) but because it was a book I would have bought and reviewed anyway, and this way I get to review one book and have the allocated cash available to buy another…
Cosy Scandi Christmas is a 9 by 11 inch paperback of 168 pages. It has full colour photographs throughout which have all been taken by Becci and have an attractive red-white-natural-scandi feel about them. The book is divided into five chapters: Decorating for Christmas; Edible Gifts; Quick and Easy Crafts; Christmas Comfort Food; and Family Fun. All self-explanatory, I think.
There’s nothing fancy about this book. You won’t find chapter headings that are two pages of colour or illustration: in so many ways, this book is a practical product. It’s a goldmine of ideas for crafts and decorating that actually is doable and shouldn’t cost either the planet or the earth. There’s an emphasis on natural or foraged items (the silver birch wall wreath created with birch twigs collected from woodland walks or gardens is gorgeous) and most crafts are produced with craft supplies or equipment that many people will either already have or be able to get hold off easily and cheaply.
I am, of course, enchanted by gnomes, nisse, tomte or gonks (I’ve seen them called all of these in different shops this year) and the upcycled sock nisser have me grinning. I can think of a couple of socks that are calling to me to make them over the weekend.
I also really enjoyed the complete use made of an old and well-loved Christmas jumper… no less than four different items crafted from one jumper, including wrist warmers and very stylish tree baubles using mini embroidery hoops. The advice to look out for unwanted jumpers in charity shops is very good, and one I’m tempted to do. (I’ve also just remembered…. one of Peter’s Football jumpers is looking threadbare, so I may well use that. I think I could upcycle the baubles even more if I use green ribbon to embroider trees on them, since Peter’s jumper is maroon and navy)
Of course, where there’s hygge there’s food and a chapter on edible gifts provides recipes and instructions for sweet treats such as chocolate salami and rum truffles as well as instructions on how to make your own Christmas blend tea. As a great tea advocate, I’m definitely going to be giving that a go!
With the possible exception of the paper bows for the Christmas chandelier, none of the crafts need Master Craftsman levels of ability, and even with the bows or paper stars the photographs explaining how to do it are well set out and clear. The recipes also have clear ingredients and step by step methods.
The book is obviously a labour of love by Becci: you can tell she has worked hard on it, and that it’s not a cash spinner lazily thrown together from stock photos by a big publishing house. Does this give the book a less polished look? Well, a little. The photos are lovely, but not the perfectly staged interiors of Rylands and Small. The chapters are a little crammed together, with no space to breathe between them, and the projects run one into another instead of taking a breath and starting again, but that doesn’t make the book less useful or worth reading. I am a fan of self-publishing (I’d be a hypocrite if I wasn’t) and I like that people like Becci and me have found a way to subvert the control of publishers by being willing and able to do so much. And, besides, the book is there to be judged on its content, not the container.
I liked the book: its content is good, and there are ideas here for any stage of ability. I’ve already started collecting together the walnut shells I need, and to add ingredients for chocolate salami, Christmas tree body scrub and Cinnamon Snails to my shopping lists for next week. I can see myself dipping in for ideas when I need them, and coming up with another activity for the weeks before Christmas or when I need an easy gift and want to make it instead of buy. As an added bonus…. the Kindle version is perfectly readable on a phone or computer Kindle app, and also a very bargainacious £1.99.
Becci’s shop website is called Hyggestyle and you can follow her on Instagram as well. Be warned, though: you will either end up with a full basket of goodies, or walk away thinking of what craft you want to do next. Thank you, Becci, for my review copy and good luck with the book and the shop sales before Christmas!
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.
And if you, like me, like to plan ahead, then my Christmas books are always available: Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is the basic, all round Christmas hygge book, Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas is about taking time to look after yourself at the busiest season of all and is only available in ebook, while Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was my answer to Christmas in Lockdowns in 2020 but might (sadly) prove useful for a few more years to come. I’m itching to write a new Christmas book, on simplicity, frugality, minimalism and making the meaning of your Christmas more significant, but time, time, time…
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 photo between post and promotions is by Annie Spratt on Unsplash . I love the little car against a grey background. One of my plans for a Christmas table is based on a car like this, driving home for Christmas…… And the header is a photo of today’s book, together with my current Christmas tea of choice: Pukka Herbs Winter Warmer. I have boxes of this at home and in the office. It’s a warm spice flavour, with a clear orange taste and star anise flavour that adds proper warmth to the day. I’ve bought some to give as presents as well, to my friends who I know like spicy teas.