I am in a book club and this month we are reading a delightful book entitled ‘The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country’ by Helen Russell. Helen is a journalist who was living in London with her husband when the opportunity arose for her to move to Denmark for a year so that her husband could take a job with Lego. In preparing for her trip, Helen read that according to statistics, the Danes are the happiest people on earth. This made her keen to find out more about their way of life and what their secrets are. Being a naturally inquisitive journalist, she interviewsed a wide range of people during her year to explore what makes the Danes so happy. These accounts together with her own astute and witty observations form the basis of her book.
Unfortunately Helen arrived in Denmark in January and she is a bit perplexed to find that no one seems to go out during the evenings. Enquiring of her neighbour Pernille why the streets are so deserted, Helen learnt that from November until February the Danish ‘are getting hygge’. Pernille explains that ‘hygge’ is a uniquely Danish word which means ‘getting cosy’and that it can be used as a verb or an adjective. She explains ‘Hygge is also linked to the weather and food. When it’s bad weather outside you get cosy indoors with good food and good lighting and good drinks’.
As someone who loves to hibernate in winter, the word ‘hygge’ has really captured my imagination. I know that when it is cold and dark outside, there is nothing nicer than getting cosy at home. I am a summertime person but there is happiness and tranquillity to be found in the home on darkest of winter nights. Here are my ideas for making winter nights more hygge.
- Put a pile of good books next to the sofa along with any other relaxing amusements such as adult colouring books or crochet projects.
- Use low lit lamps, candles and aromatherapy burners to make the room smell nice and light the fire on colder nights
- Wear cheery, comfy loungewear in the evenings including soft, cosy bed socks and use a faux fur blanket when the fire goes out or the heating goes off.
- Have a supply of good quality leaf teas in your cupboard. Hot chocolate is also a must along with some fluffy marshmallows and a dash of cream. For weekend nights, I love to make mulled wine or cider and simmer it in the slow cooker for a delicious aroma before serving
- Make delicious casseroles putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and letting them cook gently all day. I might add leftover red wine to beef or cider to pork along tasty vegetables such as shallots and mushrooms.
- Play music or listen to a radio play rather than watching TV or put the lights out and just watch the fire crackle
- Have some rich hand cream and lip balm available for chapped skin and lips. I have always adored the range from Rose and Co Apothecary. The sugared violet handcream and lip balm remind me of my adorable grandmother.
- Record old movies and TV dramas and binge watch by candlelight under a duvet. I have just rewatched ‘Shooting the past’ which is the perfect antidote to a cold, wet day.
- See that your dog or cat has a cosy nook of their own as well as a blanket on the sofa so that you can cuddle up to them for warmth. If we have a cup of tea and a biscuit, I give my little cat some chicken biscuits so that he isn’t missing out
- Record Scandinavian thrillers and dramas because they tend to be great but you can also look to see how these colder countries achieve hygge