Day 1: 30 Days of hygge

We’ve been living a more conscious hyggeligt lifestyle now since 2015. I say “conscious” because we always knew how hygge felt, but didn’t have a word for it.

And now, with the turn of a new year, many other hygge conscious people on social media are following #30daysofhygge . We thought it would be rude not to and that we would share our 30 days with you! 

Day 1: Keep a gratitude journal

Now this too is something that I’ve done for a couple of years, although not on a strict daily basis and not always in a journal. Sometimes it has been in a book, now we have a jar and sometimes, in a real emergency and when the need to take stock strikes, I’ve just written a list on a scrap piece of paper.

 I’m at a point in my life where being mindful of gratitudes is one of the best thing I can do for myself so the discipline of doing it daily will be a real tonic.

I’ll share Day one with you :

I am grateful for;

  • the warmth & welcome of my family in their new year celebrations both immediately and more widely and the hugs on arrival & leaving.
  • the health, spirit & resilience of my two beautiful girls
  • the unconditional love from my dogs & the walks that we go on
  • having had two weeks of family visit, from the playfulness of my two nephews to the ever presence of my ninety two year old grandmother & the few days on my own to take stock.
  • my true friends who have “shown up” in the last couple of months.
  • my strength, even though I don’t always believe it myself.
  • the optimism of what might lie ahead in 2017. 
  • there’s also another gratitude but I’m not quite ready to share that one yet, but let’s just call it an unfounded fear.

With the exception of the last, I suspect that many of the above gratitudes appear on most lists. At least I hope they do. As each day goes by, I’ll be digging deeper, beyond the others. To repeat & be grateful for the same things day after day is more than fine but what will make this whole exercise truly rewarding will be the treasures uncovered in upturned stones that on a usual day would go unnoticed.

Slow Cooked Sausage Casserole

Slow Cooked Sausage Casserole

I love my slow cooker. In fact I have a confession: I have two. There is something really satisfying about knowing that when you get home at the end of the day dinner is already sorted and all you have to worry about is setting the table and organising some drinks. “It’s nice to know that you get just that little bit of extra time to spend with family or to relax and enjoy a cuppa .

One of my favourites and all-time go-to recipes is a sausage casserole. I usually have all of the ingredients in the cupboard or fridge, it doesn’t take much time to prepare and it smells delicious as it is cooking. I posted a picture of it a few days ago and after receiving a request for the recipe I am here to share the love. I hope you like it as much as my family do.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours on low
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-8 of your favourite quality sausages. I like to use Salsiccia sausages but something like Cumberland would also work
  • 3 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 8 -10 new potatoes cut in half or quarters, if necessary
  • 400g cannellini beans washed and drained. These can be replaced with kidney, borlotti, butter beans or chickpeas
  • 400g tinned tomatoes with herbs
  • 60ml stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional mustard and parsley leaves to serve

    Method:

  1. Preheat a large pan on medium/low/high heat and add the oil
  2. Pop in the sausages and cook/fry them until they’re browned all over – approximately five minutes (if you know, this helps). If your pan is not large enough, cook the sausages in batches, transferring them over to the slow cooker as they become ready.
  3. Remove half of the oil, add the shallots and cook them for three minutes/until glazed, stirring continuously.
  4. Add the garlic and fry it with the shallots until soft, then place everything into the slow cook over the sausages
  5. Add the beans, potatoes, tomatoes, stock and bay leaves and season with pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Cover the cooker with the lid and cook on low for 4 hours until the sausages and potatoes are cooked through. Remove the bayleaves from the casserole and season with Worcestershire sauce and pepper to taste.
  7. Sprinkle with parsley leaves and serve with mustard.

 

Fact! Dragons love Hygge! 


There’s something very hyggeligt about being recognised for your passion & this week, we were one of six lucky winners of Theo Paphitis’ (Entrepreneur & Dragon) #sbs or, small business Sunday competition to the rest of the non-twitter world.

Many Sunday evenings throughout the year we have tweeted Theo telling him about Living Hygge and our #originalhyggebox subscription box. He and his team must have liked what they saw!

Why do we think we won?
Tricky question. We may have been lucky to have caught one of his teams eye, but we like to think it’s more than this.

We have an original, beautiful product that is the right price, with a quality of content where value equals more than the price paid. And when we talk about value, we mean it in a wholesome sense. Subscribing to one of our boxes and you are subscribing to a promise to yourself to take time out & be kind to yourself. Recharge your batteries, connect with others & just ease the pressure of daily life and who can put a price on that? 

We also believe that our adopted strategy of giving back to our community through our #hyggeforhomeless campaign, providing boxes of essential items for homeless people over the Festive period, regardless of religion, shows that businesses can be both successful and kind to society. 

What does this mean for us?

Well! It’s too soon to tell, but within the last twenty four hours our twitter feed has gone crazy and our followers have shot up by over one hundred! (We will never buy followers to make us look bigger than we really are).

We’ve been approached by couriers offering 50% off shipping and had all sorts of lovely small businesses inviting us to collaborate. 

We’ve been invited to join #sbswinnershour tonight which we are really looking forward to.

We’re expecting an email any time soon from Theos team and we understand that there’s a conference in early February 2017 where we may get to meet the man himself.

Within this group we shall seek business advice on upscaling effectively. We believe that we have almost reached capacity and won’t take the next step until we can be absolutely certain that we won’t compromise on quality or the little personal touches that make our #originalhyggebox sparkle with that hyggeligt feeling.


But right now, we are basking in all the attention and are feeling incredibly excited by the journey that lies ahead. 

Thank you to all of our subscribers, friends & everyone else who has supported us!

With hyggeligt wishes

Deborah & Samantha


7 ways to be Hygge in a changing world…

Amongst the uncertainty of #brexit, find some reassurance, peace & stability in the comfort of hygge.

  • Place Make a Hygge Den. A space to escape. This could be a chair, your bed or  another quiet corner of your home. Keep it clear from clutter and every day distractions or select a few special pieces such as photos or objects that spark joy. A favourite spot in a nearby cafe to people-watch might hit the spot too! 
  • Wrap yourself in a blanket. A sure fire Hygge guarantee. Watch tv, watch a sunset, or do nothing! 
  • Switch off from news and media for a while, maybe over breakfast or in the evening. Throw yourself into a book perhaps or write a letter.
  • Play games especially board games, with friends or kids or if it’s really not your thing, make something or colour in!
  • Get outdoors stomp around in the open fresh air, whether that be a town park, country lanes or the coast. Breathe in the air and take notice of the shape of the leaves, the spectrum of colour or the shape of the clouds.Really look. 
  • Connect with friends & family for a roast / a takeaway or even a cup of tea.  It can be so good to be in the company of others and just chat, catch up in the real world. 
  • Candles! Lots of candles! Whether it’s summer and they soften dusky evenings & fill the air with scents of verbena or to add warmth on a winters night, a candle lit place is always Hygge. 

An open letter to my children; why I must teach you to hygge


You know what happens on a Sunday in our house. You always hope I’ll forget but I never do and today was no different. Screen Free Sunday. Not for the whole days mind. Just for a few hours.

At first, it was a battle of wills & snatched hidden viewing, but it’s getting easier isn’t it? Well, as the weeks go by you both show less resistance. I feel, as your parent, that you deserve to know why I think it’s so important.

It’s hard being you these days. I mean, really, really hard. I think you have it a lot tougher than we did.

Take my childhood home for example. When I was your age, once I got home I may as well have lived in a fortress. No one could reach me unless it was through the landline (we only had one) or through the front door, usually with Nanny or Grandad as gatekeeper.

But you live in no such cocoon. When you were little I made you a promise that we would have full parental controls, on one computer in the main family room. You would be protected, only technology beat us to it.  You’ve got snapchat and Instagram on your own iPad & phones and you’re happiest lying on your bed circumnavigating the channels du jour. Devices that we bought you ourselves. Devices that always make me feel like we are one step behind.

You think that this is a splendid isolation because you don’t yet understand that there is nowhere to hide and nor do you recognise that nagging “fear of missing out” (fimo) for what it really is. You will have forgotten the freedom of being unconnected because the pressure to be connected is immense, if not overwhelming. And You won’t see this as a bad thing at all. 

And then take the tv. Bear with me because this is where you’ll think that I am really, really old; something that you have always suspected. Up until my mid teens we had four channels and certain things were on at certain times. Children’s tv was 6 – 11:30 weekend mornings and 3:15 to 5:30 after school. Then along came channel five & sky. And then whoosh. Suddenly it all became a lot more… busy. You could, given half the chance, watch tv for twenty four hours a day and I couldn’t even tell you how many channels there are and there still won’t be enough for you’ve come to expect tv on demand.

 YouTube may well be your guru, but it won’t encourage you touch the velvet beauty inside a broad bean pod or to pull down the wild honeysuckle for you to sniff, nor lift you up to pick the juiciest blackberry off the highest bramble to taste. 

Instead I’ve taught you how to build and light a fire where we’ve  toasted marshmallows and I’ve taken you to campsites with no onsite entertainment where I may have told you a bit of white lie about the wifi. Sometimes  there will be no “site” at all and this is where the magic really happens.

And when was the last time you received a letter? When I was little, the excitement of receiving a letter from a pen pal was something to be bottled. Apart from birthday cards and odd post cards, I remember you receiving very little. Whilst at university, receiving a penned letter or card from gap year friends and elderly relatives  lessened my initial homesickness. Will a snapchat be as an effective medicine?

I watch as your generation take the easy option. Don’t learn to play a musical instrument, play guitar hero instead. Don’t read a novel, read unedited endless soap-books. Watch someone else become famous overnight and aspire to that generally unachievable (and unfulfilling?) dream wearing those brands forgoing privacy and no doubt inducing anxiety.

I urge you to be strong. Try new things in the real world. Be inquisitive. Be challenged.

Does this sound a bit of a “in my day”  whinge that we all detest? Maybe it is. Maybe it needs to be. 

Right now, the buzz word is Hygge but trust me my darlings when I tell you this. I’ve always known how it felt. I just never had a word for it but now You do.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to stop you being a part of this world; indeed I think it is vital that you are, but in moderation and so I too must be strong. 

It’s the easiest thing in the world to get on with my own distractions when you are engaged / hypnotised by your screen so I’m sorry kids but you will be feeling the aches of trudging up the tors with your currently under utilised muscles, because I know that you’ll feel that sense of elation when you’re on top of the world. 

You will get your hands mucky planting those shoots because you’ll never taste anything as equisite as peas straight from the pod that you’ve nurtured yourself (and you will have to water them.)

You will help me to prepare dinner because maybe you’ll notice how beautiful a red cabbage cut in half really is and how velvety the inside of a broad bean pod is. You already love uncooked cake mix as much as I do even though it’s got raw egg in it. 

One day, you’ll have your own family and want to prepare meals around the table, catch up on their days, sometimes with guests or maybe just your little, perfect unit eating in that cosy comforting silence that being part of a family delivers. 

And I’m sorry if it’s annoying that I won’t let you take your iPad to bed. But I will read to you and then you’ll read to yourself, learn the power of escaping into a book and oh my darlings, the places that you might go. Your imagination is yours to own and yours alone. You’ll learn to comfort yourself and sooth yourself too.

Look what you’ve achieved today. Your rearranged room looks fantastic. Your idea has now opened up so much space. The banana bread you baked was the best you’ve ever made. 

It’s my job as a parent to lead you down these paths with subtlety because I love you so much & believe that you deserve to know about the wonder of experiencing the value of the little things. I’ll protect you as far as I can from cyber bullies and indeed, the temptation of your own unkind words borne from behind the screen bravado.

You see, this parenting malarkey is no population contest at all. I’m not out seeking followers or likes. In fact, there will be times when you wish you could unfollow me. Your time will come.

So Actually, sorry, not sorry at all. I’m just doing my job. And I’ll try really hard not to get sucked in to because even as an adult, those things are out to get me too. 

PS. I’ve put a screen ban on this years Christmas presents and told all the family. And I’m not sorry about that either.  

Special Delivery! A review of our September box

We’ve waited anxiously for Hygge Queen @dailykayleigh verdict of our September box.

It’s really, really important to us that every box is perfectly Hyggeligt so reviews and feedback are important to us.

Kayleigh wasn’t paid for this review and her box was exactly the same as any other hyggebox that we deliver with love.

Here’s what she said;

Special delivery: Living Hygge box

You too can subscribe here for a box

Autumn: Out with the old

When you think about it, autumn is the absolute beginning of new beginnings. Before Spring can come, Autumn must shed leaves to pave the way for new bud; natures  “out with the old, in with the new”.

The “out with the old” is really, really important. If we didn’t get the old, out, we’d be carrying around an awful lot of “stuff.”

cropped-AdobeStock_561266321.jpeg

At first, the shedding of leaves is beautiful and incites our playful sides to reveal themselves as we kick leaves, play conkers, make & bake hedgerow fruits.

But after Autumn (and the sparkle of Christmas) comes Winter and as most trees are bare and without leaves the world can seem a very stark place indeed.

But really, Autumn & Winter is the place where all the magic happens.

Hygge is about mindfulness

You can’t really have any resolution without a period of shedding old leaves. That in-between phase of old and new is when we wrap up, bed down, bed in. A time when maybe we pull our blankets and those closest to us a little bit closer. A bit like when a lobster sheds its skin, it’s and goes into a protective rock space whilst it toughens itself out.  We reflect & calibrate.

Personally, we’ve tried New Years resolutions (abandoned) . We’ve tried a monthly resolution (comes and goes too quickly) so we thought we’d seek out some middle ground and try a seasonal resolution. Here goes…

Reap the benefits of living hygge of last year

If you’re a regular reader of our blogs you’ll recall what an impact living hygge had on our lives almost instantly.

Four weeks of living hygge

So keep doing what we did last year. We’re doing ok!

Appreciate what I have, right here, right now.

Remember the board games around the fire, the stock of marshmallows in the jar (note to self; keep hidden from husband), the conscious efforts to make plans with family, call Grandmother more often and mindfully withdraw from thinking about work, having a book regularly on the go and saying yes and no to the right people at the right time.

But don’t hibernate too much!

In October 2015, I stumbled across hygge in a colleagues tweet. What I did was took it as carte blanc to plonk fireside as soon as I got home, which was hygge and very lovely but actually, I should have maintained the habit of those regular evening dog walks; confession… I did put on quite a few pounds last winter, thankfully lost with effort in early Spring. Don’t make that mistake again!

Take notice of nature

Now this one should be easy. I’d like to meet anyone that doesn’t notice that the leaves have changed colour, fallen from the trees and are crunching beneath our feet.

But I mean really look… The beaches are our closest wildlife haunts. What happens to rock pools, in the dunes and shore life? The seals that are lolloping in the coves? That will mean getting out and about and not just to the woods further in land that we usually haunt this time of year. We commit to do that.

And that’s it! No more & no less! I’m simply not going to beat myself up. Appreciate what I have, right here, right now, in my home. Hygge is about mindfulness. About looking inside and … feeling.

And how can what we feel ever be wrong?

 

 

The book of hygge ; A review of a serious book

First impressions are that The book of hygge by Louisa Thomsen Brits is an earnest one. The cover is sleeveless, of simple design and without pictures. Hold it in your hand and the paper of a thick quality that says that this is serious business.

The book of Hygge, the danish art of living well

The book of Hygge

What this book is not is a coffee table book. There are occasional pictures, each one beautiful as if selected sparingly and carefully considered.

The pumpkin orange ribbon says “slow down. You’re not going to read this in one sitting. Take Your time.” I can see myself using this book as a reference and source of inspiration to pick up and put down and the structure of this book makes that possible.

Divided into six sections ; belonging, shelter, comfort, wellbeing, simplicity & observance I quickly notice that each would feature on the lower rungs of Maslow hierarchy of needs and as this model pertains, these are all states of existence that should be satisfied & maintained before any higher status in life can be achieved.


In a year of living hygge, I often felt that hygge was something that was on loan from the Danes. As we say on our own website, hygge isn’t just for Winter and isn’t just for Danes. As Brits, we always knew how it felt but never had a word for it and I am grateful to Louisa for reinforcing this. In her Note from the author we have an instant list of examples of how Louisa lives a hygge life – all year round and across continents. Her wish for her readers is that they too will “discover hygge that already exists in their life and become attuned to its presence” and sharing these well wishes are hygge in itself. I think this is why this book bears no images on its own front page. Louisa wants to tell us that hygge is a very personal thing. There is no prescribed lifestyle.

Frequented by quotes as carefully selected as the photos themselves, interjected amidst intelligent prose, Louisa examines hygge from a variety of angles; togetherness, independently, familiarity, architecture, home, time management, choice, celebration, ritual & craft to name but a few. If anyone thought that hygge was just about candles and hot chocolate it’s an education.  Instead, we are gently guided through the symbolism of candlelight and beyond to finding hygge in everyday life.
I’m reminded of mindfulness & the law of attraction, which are, in my mind both cousins to hygge. I’m also pleased to have the use of hygge demonstrated in various forms of the eight parts of speech; as an adjective, a verb and a noun in itself. I’ve often wondered if I may have attracted any Danish scorn in my own writing. Thankfully, it would appear not.


That settled, I conclude that if hygge is all about mindfulness, and about being & not having, which I happen to think it is, then in this fast paced life of have and have nots, hygge is a very serious business indeed. The Book of hygge is a very handy manual for life itself, a perfect coming of age accompaniment as well as a reminder of what’s important to those in their prime. Everyone should have one.

Port Eliot; festival hygge

Port Eliot is a well kept secret and for the main part I’m glad about that.


A place to discover, to dream, to let go and be enchanted. Set in the St Germans estate, you’ll believe  you’ve been invited to a close friends garden party. As festivals go it’s got Hygge by the bucket load.

And I won’t share photos of the enchanted pathways amongst the rhododendron and the gunnera but leave you to discover them for yourselves.

Campers galore come armed with blankets, tents & fairy lights. A true example of mankind seeking Hygge even when they’ve not yet discovered the word itself.

Where grown up Friends bond over firelight, delighting in simple pleasures of indulgent foods and wines

And younger friends wrestle on the mud flats, caked from top to toe as we all should.

Children’s heroes like Michael Morpurgo step off the page & take time to mingle & chat with such genuine interest as if the forty deep queue in the book tent never existed. 

Where fortunes are told and dreams are inspired. Enlightenment and answers are sought and usually found. 

Dance, sing, live, laugh, swim, learn, empathise, discover.

Bask in quirkiness, escape for awhile and be reminded that the world is a weird and wonderful place.


Monthly bucket list

I’ve always been a big goal setter & positive list maker & so, inspired by bloggers @cinderelmo & @stevie_couch, I’m going to do a monthly bucket list. 

Here goes;

  • Book our August family holiday in our hygge van @veedubbetty Let’s face it – there isn’t really much time left!
  • Throw ourselves into the literary festival #porteliot2016 We had a blast last year & can’t wait for this years. This year I’m going to discover new gems & broaden my horizons by listening to speakers I’ve never heard of before. 
  • Sort out some junk in my kitchen cupboards & spare room because these are two areas that really need a spot of tlc
  • Get back on the diet wagon I’ve lost nearly a stone since January but I’d like to shift half a stone more. I’d be happy to lose four this month 
  • See the poppies at Polly Joke a secret spot on the North Coast of Cornwall. I missed them last year.
  • Put the finishing touches to the hygge subscription box which is due out in September! Can’t wait! 
  • Spend quality time with family & friends who often get overlooked in the busy-ness of life
  • Walk 7,000 steps a day during the week & 10,000 at the weekend… Which will hopefully help the weight loss too! #winwin 
  • Blog often on all things hygge not least because it focuses my mind towards the important things in life! 

A fairly manageable list. Will let you know how I get on – with photos!