Since reading The Year of Living Danishly last autumn, I have felt more inclined to indulge my natural compulsion to keep my surroundings cosy and make the most of even the most rubbish situations. Sitting in eye casualty for hours and hours waiting for a doctor? Wear a snuggly shawl, grab a hazelnut latte on the way and use the time to listen to an audiobook. Stuck in a rainstorm in your lunch hour? Hot chocolate and clean, warm socks will fix that. (This is inspired by my friend Jo who used to pack a pair of thick cashmere socks in her handbag just to pop on under her desk on grim and grotty days. I noticed this one day when we'd been out for lunch together, in the rain, and I was very envious of her pink cashmere toes and hot tea as I shivered away, a few desks across from her, in our soulless office.)
I guess those are pretty obvious examples but you know what I mean... They are situations where you have to do a little prep work and anticipate a potentially grim situation. As a super-impatient person, it is essential for me to prepare and utilise any time spent waiting. I hate wasting time and I can get very bad tempered. As a very bare minimum I make sure that I carry my Kindle with me. Otherwise, a little stitching or knitting can be a very hygge way to pass the time when on a delayed train (even if you do get the odd bemused look from fellow passengers).
Hygge may be a new-ish word for us here in the UK but the concept is ancient. My great-grandmother was an expert and I am often inspired by memories of her. The books that I have read on the subject of hygge don't tell me anything new - of course I get new inspiration for cosiness - but what I have learnt (and ponder often) is that you can amplify the feeling of hygge by being more active. These days I love to get up early and get outside. I don't care for running but a good brisk walk through the countryside is the biggest mood booster for me. A cup of tea and a bit of breakfast outdoors afterwards totally completes the feeling of wellbeing. And when you can go home to a comfy sofa, cosy socks and paperback novels then there's really nothing more you need in life!
We went out this morning, bright and early, for a walk in the woods just ten minutes from us. There were lots of families and dogs out walking too but we took a quiet path through the trees and it was really just us. The only sound was our feet kicking through the leaves and Lizzie panting happily as she explored. It was bliss. The ground was littered with yellow leaves, beech nuts, acorns and conkers. There was a smell of damp earth and foliage in the air. The sun shone through the canopy of trees yet it was cold enough for scarves and boots. We had a quick breakfast outdoors before coming home to a nap in the sunny conservatory, football (him) and knitting (me). The loveliest of days.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on hygge. Any good tips? I am preparing for a '30 days of Hygge' personal project in November and would love more inspiration. Perhaps you might fancy joining in too?