Have you heard of hygge? I hadn't until recently, and pronunciation varies, dependent on the scandi tongue; I find the easiest to say is 'hue-gah'.
Maybe, like me, (a massive fan of Autumn and Winter) you've probably practiced this unique aspect of Danish mindfulness and well-being, without ever knowing. Think candles, cosiness and quality time, as the Danes (and the rest of the northern hemisphere) prepare for colder weather and shorter days.
As children, my Sister and I used to love the darker days on the approach to Winter (er, Christmas). We loved winter-proofing our house: we'd push comical sausage-dog draft excluders to the bottom of the doors, take pleasure in drawing the curtains closed in every room, switch on wall lights and table lights, bring out blankets and cushions to curl up under on the sofa, to watch our favourite films.
As an adult I was lucky enough to live in southern China for a couple of years, but it was too close to the equator, and when the sun went down in about five minutes, every single day of every year ... well, by November I found myself longing for shorter days and the obvious seasonal changes (oh, the giddyness of collecting spinning jennys and conkers on the school walk with Mini Stylist!) . . .
So, how do I hygge October (and right on through to Easter)?
1. Appreciate knitwear. To wear, to cosy under, to wrap around your feet. If I could hibernate, my cave would be made of wool. And house a lot of cushions.
2. Dim the lights. Candles or low-lighting. Whichever releases your inner twirl. I decorate my home with Yankee Candles, but use soft-lighting as soon as the curtains close.
3. Skin rejuvenation. Deep moisturising, deep conditioning, deep sleeping. All my skincare minis are stored in this gorgeous wooden box near my bed; handy, eh? No, hygge.
4. Wooden boxes. And baskets, but especially boxes. I've no idea why, but I appreciate a good quality small box to store anything in, but usually stationery, mini beauty goodies and craft supplies.
5. Crafting. I love crafting, but really indulge at this time of year. Amateur at all levels, but fabulously enthusiastic for the simple pleasure I find in fabric, craft magazines, wooden stamps, and oodles of wool.
6. Work from home. I'm fortunate that I spend most of my day working from home, so I surround myself with more hygge-inducing goodness that I could, if I was in, say, an office. As my work station is normally my bed, this means cushions, blankets, and lots of coffee.
7. The right mug. Some mugs for coffee, some for tea. Only occasionally will a mug will work for either. Mug-selection is more important than
8. A weekly daytime nap. Okay, I know more people do this than they will acknowledge, so I'm just going to say it. I'm a busy working Mum and I like a weekly daytime nap. I'd rather close my eyes in a room of quiet than listen to more bad news on the radio, or another mind-numbing TV show. I'd like a daily nap, but that's probably pushing it. So once a week I draw the curtains, curl under a blanket and lie down at my 'desk'- the bed - for a quick 40 winks. Hygge-heaven. And along the same principles of popping on your own face mask before helping others with theirs.
9. Fountain pens. I love a good quill, the slight scratch and easy flow across a clean notebook page is harmony to my senses. Maybe they remind me of school, and the safety of childhood. And, I can use them all year round. And the budget ones are better than higher-end brands; far less ink to erase from your fingers. And I can buy pink ink!
10. Walking my daughter to school. Crunching leaves, guessing the age of tree trunks, spotting pine cones and spikey conkers and naming trees, as the seasons merge from late summer to Christmas, the smell of winter on her way. And all the crafting the season brings!
What's not to love?
What hygge steps will you take today?