Hyggelig

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I first came across the concept of hygge on Elizabeth’s lovely blog about a year ago. It appealed to me greatly and I’ve since noticed that it’s become quite the thing with hashtags on Instagram, features in magazines, newspapers and on the radio, and a flurry of books. I bought one (the book of hygge) when we were in the Lake District, thinking I’d have time to curl up by the woodburning stove of an evening, all cosy, and read it. I didn’t. But I did take it with me on Wednesday to read while my eldest boy was having toe surgery; it proved a welcome distraction. He was brave, I was less so.

According to the author, to hygge (which can be a noun, a verb and an adjective) is “to create a harmonious atmosphere, a feeling of warmth, a mood of contentment”. Just thinking about that makes me feel better. The book is full of lovely quotes like:

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” Oscar Wilde

and

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” William Morris

We could all do with more hygge in our lives at the moment, don’t you think? I’m not going to stray into politics here. I’ve spent the last couple of days ranting and with a feeling of having stepped into a parallel universe. It’s hugely unsettling but it makes me even more determined to concentrate on goodness, kindness, tolerance and peace. More candles! More cosiness! More cuddles! Let’s hygge.

While I’m on the good things in life, we’ve been working our way through a mountainous bulb delivery (I went a bit click-happy in a website sale). We managed to get a load of scented daffodils planted last weekend but there are still more to get in the ground, plus about a hundred tulips. I’m working on my long-term plan to be able to pick armfuls of them to bring into the house. Vases, jugs and bowls of beautiful tulips dotted about the place come May…

The garden is definitely dropping its cloak to reveal its underlying structure. There are leaves everywhere from our neighbour’s stately copper beeches. They are gorgeous trees but they shed So Many Leaves. We’ve filled a one-tonne sack and hidden it behind the compost heap for the creatures to work their magic and create leaf mould but it’s hardly made a dent in the leaves on the ground. Bulb-planting and leaf-clearing are on the list for this weekend if the weather is fine.

We’ve had quite a few changes inside the house over the last few weeks. The one room that hadn’t been decorated since we moved here has changed to a delicious, dramatic dark grey. It’s a large room with a high ceiling and plenty of light in the morning and it looks magnificent. We’ve yet to sort out the furniture, hang pictures and buy and hang curtains. That’ll happen as and when. In the meantime I keep wandering in there and admiring the changing light on the dark walls. Perhaps the most dramatic change, however, has been to the old front door. It used to have mismatched, obscure glass panes, some of them cracked and was not a thing of beauty. Now it has clear glass and you can see through to the sea – it makes such a difference and the hall is definitely lighter. I’m looking forward to putting up a lovely wreath…

Oops, but there’s a rule in our family that we don’t mention, think about or even plan (ah, yes, well…) for the ‘C’ word until after my eldest’s birthday on 19th November. The John Lewis advert popped into my inbox yesterday morning, though, and I couldn’t resist taking a peek. Have you seen it? Go on – it’ll make you smile. It’s hygge.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and for your comments. If you’re new here, hello and welcome.

Wishing you a hygge-licious weekend.

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20 thoughts on “Hyggelig

  1. I have written about hygge, too, and have just filed copy on a feature for our local paper on the “cosy home” for the Property Section. Yes, we all need a bit of cosyness right now!
    I always plant the tulips in pots but we have 21 pots filled with tulips and narcissi and so we’re looking forward to a great display in the spring.
    Love your photos.
    Margaret P
    http://www.margaretpowling.com

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  2. What a lovely post. I think we all need a bit of hygge in November when darkness descends. And after the awful events of last week even more so. I love the glimpse of your beautiful home, you have certainly made yourself cosy. The Germans have a word for it too- gemūtlichkeit.

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  3. Lovely post Sam. I’m sure lots of us have led hygge lives for many years, just not aware of the correct term. I became hygge aware last year in Copenhagen. The Danish do hygge so well in the deep midwinter. I love your new grey room. The light looks beautiful against the new paint. Get those candles lit on this grey rainy day and cosy down for some real hygge time. 🙂 B xx

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  4. Hygge and hyggelig are big things in our life too, as a result of our long relationship with Denmark and Danes. We’ve learnt so much from being there and being with them, and seeing their ability to ‘lighten the darkness’, both literally and figuratively. Of course there are downsides too, and not all is rosy in Denmark any more than anywhere else. But still, we can learn a lot.
    I’m reflecting more and more on what we can do to change the current awfulness, and I guess it has to start with what’s inside us and ripples out from us, and grow from there.
    So yes, a hyggelig weekend to you too!

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  5. The ever-changing sea must be a wonderful inspiration when choosing paint colour. I think the grey looks fabulous. Hygge is such a lovely cosy concept for November. I made an autumn wreath by twisting flailing Virginia creeper stems into a circle and attaching tiny rose hips from my allotment hedge and yellowing oak leaves. It won’t last long, but that’s fine by me. I think I need to plant more tulips – in pots and on the plot! Have a great weekend Sam.

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  6. I am at about the same stage of bulb planting as you, daffs in – tulips to go. Hope that you have better weather than we do this weekend! My son’s bithday is the end of Nov and since we have a similar rule, Christmas prep is always rushed. We can start with hygge immediately though.

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  7. I was practicing hygge in the weeks leading up to the election, to help deal with the stress, in the form of redecorating out living room. I’m thrilled with how it turned out, and it’s very much needed now. About all I’ve even able to do since Tuesday is pamper myself and hygge in my cozy, warm living room. Everything outside of my peaceful, comfy home is insane and terrifying.

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  8. We do need it don’t we. The thought of cosying down keeps me going in November. Love the new decor. I’m about to go match potting again here too. Grey is such a flexible colour, so much goes with it.

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  9. I first came across hygge a few years ago when a fellow blogger from Cananda with Danish ancestors chose it as her word of the year. It does seem to be everywhere this Autumn! We used to visit Denmark often as a child and there were always candles lit in our Danish friends home and it always felt cosy. I love your front door the colour does frame the view. I imagine you bought the tulips from the same place as me, so I am sharing the planting bulb frenzy! Sarah x

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  10. As this past week vividly demonstrated, there is a lot of ugliness out there. As individuals, it’s hard to know what we can actually do about it. But it doesn’t hurt to focus first on our homes and local communities. Hygge away.

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  11. The Dutch have a very similar concept — gezelligheid. I’m Canadian but my mother emigrated from The Netherlands and my childhood was definitely coloured by this concept. Hygge or gezelligheid, whatever you want to call it, we definitely need more of it these days!

    You have such a lovely blog, Sam 🙂 .

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