I think we can all agree that hygge is a thing. It's been everywhere this winter and you can't go online or into a shop without seeing some mention of it. But if you're anything like me, you read these articles with a faint sense of disbelief that a concept all about getting cosy with your loved ones involves spending so much money. But it really doesn't have to be like that, after all it's not about shopping. You don't need to go out and buy a designer candle or a load of faux sheepskin cushions. You can just gather the stuff you already have and use it to indulge in a bit of self care.
1. Hot Drinks
I'm British, I have this one down. I've got a cupboard full of tea. I've got all the ingredients for unicorn hot chocolate to hand, all the time. You can't walk through the door in this house without being offered a nice of cup of something from the drinks menu. And it's lovely. Every afternoon the baby has a nap and I come downstairs, make a cup of tea and sit. Sometimes I read a magazine, often I just stare at the view. The steaming mug warms my hands and I get a precious few moments to relax. My drink of choice right now is Lidl's (89p a box) Apple and Pear, with a scattering of star anise and cloves and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
In the corner of our sitting room is a basket piled high with blankets. Crochet, woven and patchwork, they're ready and waiting to be wrapped around shoulders or draped over knees. Whether you're cold, sad or tired, a cosy blanket instantly makes you feel better. My favourite at the moment is a gorgeous herringbone number from Bronte & Moon that John bought me for our wedding anniversary. It's huge and soft and I love wrapping myself up in it in the evening. But most of them were knitted or sewn out of leftovers and scraps, costing barely anything at all.
3. Wool Socks
I am obsessed with proper wool socks and wear them every day. Even the fanciest, most high tech walking socks can't compare to super soft merino-nylon blend yarn for warmth. I've been knitting socks for about ten years and have made super chunky pairs for wearing with wellies, regular everyday pairs, fancy patterned pairs to show off with mary-janes and super soft cashmere pairs for bed. There's a pair for every occasion and my feet have never been warmer. If you can't knit I suggest bribing someone who does to make you a pair!*
A bit of a confession - I, like many people, cannot drive past an Ikea without going in and buying several hundred tealights. That's mainly because I burn them all the time - bright overhead lights can make everything feel a so sterile. Candlelight is cosy, romantic, it even makes you feel warmer. You could go out and buy an enormous one for £100 that you're afraid to burn, or you could save some pretty jars and pop some tealights in and get the same effect for pennies.
5. Seasonal Flowers
I always have fresh flowers in the house. The cutting garden provides them for most of the year, but even in the depths of winter I try and keep a filled vase on the windowsill. I love to wander down the footpath to the river and snip lengths of ivy, pretty twigs, seed heads and evergreen sprigs to arrange with a bunch of British narcissi (which arrive in supermarkets from late November.) They bring a spot of brightness to the house, a reminder that the cold isn't forever and a celebration of the year-round bounty of the hedgerows.
6. Put the technology down
and pick up your knitting. Or patchwork. Or origami. Or a good book, or your journal. You get my drift! We all know how addictive tech can be, I have to consciously remind myself to get off instagram, put my phone down, and engage with the world around me. Those evenings though, when I cosy up with candles and a gorgeous playlist and some patchwork, are good. I'm relaxed, I'm happy, I mind less if the baby wakes up ten times. It sets me up for the next day and makes everything seem easier. And on the evenings when I do just want to veg in front of the telly, my husband and I will pick a film, make a big bowl of popcorn and watch it together, snuggled up with the cat. Bliss!
* I know I said its not about shopping, but there are a wealth of British companies out there making gorgeous socks that you will love for years. I love John Arbon, a local North Devon mill - their range is all made in the UK and includes designs made from entirely British wool.