Why are we Brits so obsessed with all things Scandinavian?
We seem to love Scandi design; type ‘Scandi’ into Google and every major high street brand has a listing on the first page. Each one trying to tempt us to come and check out their Scandinavian inspired offerings.
Plus there’s a very well known blue and yellow homeware store that sells — not only Scandinavian homeware — but also the food.
It’s no secret that my big (man-shaped) boy and I used to go on date-nights there. Never let it be said that we don’t know how to live.
We love their fashion too. When the boys were tiny, I used to scour the internet for Nordic baby-grows; the sight of those squashy little bodies encased in cool Scandi stripes or hip patterns would have my heart beating just that little bit faster.
And it’s not just Scandinavian products that we’re loopy about. We seem to be influenced by their way of life too.
Hygge was last year’s hot new buzzword — with Lagom following swiftly on it’s heels this year.
But what are they? And why are we so fascinated by them?
Well, ‘Lagom’ is a Swedish way of living. It basically translates as —
‘Not too little, not too much. Just the right amount’.
— this approach to a good life balance is lovely. Surely everyone needs balance and a happy life?
And — even though it’s a bit last season — my favourite Scandi import is still the Danish concept of Hygge.
Hygge ticks all of the boxes for me.
Whilst Lagom is a plan for life, Hygge is more of a momentary thing.
A state of bliss, triggered by contentment in our surroundings or situation.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Hygge is:
‘A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).’
And this, my friends, is why we British should embrace Hygge and make it our own.
Because, essentially, we’ve been practicing Hygge for years, without even knowing it.
A Very British Hygge
I’ve recently read a really interesting little book by Simon Sinclair.
Called ‘A Very British Hygge‘, it makes reference to the fact that we British are actually pretty good at practicing the art of Hygge.
” We’re actually very good at it in Britain. We’ve been doing it for centuries. We just haven’t given a name to it. But which of us hasn’t sat in front of a roaring fire and thought,
‘This is nice!’ “
Mr Sinclair explores the ways in which we can be happier in ourselves, by simply enjoying the little things in life.
So what small things can we do, to introduce a little more Hygge into our lives?
GO FOR A MOOD BOOSTING WALK
We Brits love the great outdoors. Chucking on a pair of wellies, for a good old stomp in the woods, is a quintessentially British pastime.
We invented the Wellington boot, for goodness’ sake. We don’t need a Scandinavian trend to give us a reason to get outside.
COSY UP INDOORS AND PLAY A BOARD GAME — OR READ A BOOK
Hygge is all about getting cosy and and ‘taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things’.
Having a pyjama day and playing board games in front of the fire — or curling up in a chair to read — is a lovely way to spend time.
LOOK TO THE LIGHT
In the warmer months, throw those curtains wide and let in as much light as you can.
But when it’s a bit murky outside (I’m looking at you winter) switch off the big light and light some candles.
Candlelight is synonymous with Hygge, as it draws people in. It gives rooms a warmth and a cosy glow, that makes us feel content.
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CREATE A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT
Fill your home with things you truly love.
Whilst you don’t have to be totally ruthless (as with the ‘Swedish Death Cleaning‘ method that I mentioned a couple of week’s ago) having a good clear out and losing the things that you have no attachment to — or are not useful — can make you feel infinitely better.
And if you dont want to ditch any of your belongings, buy yourself a bunch of seasonal blooms instead.
EMBRACE THE JOY OF SMALL PLEASURES
Eat fish and chips by the seaside. Hold hands with someone you love.
Bake a cake.
Then, snuggle down in your warm, cosy, candlelit home and eat said cake.
There are SO many Hyggish things that we can do, without changing our lives too much at all.
So there we are — a few little ideas for adding more Hygge into our lives; those Danes are a clever bunch aren’t they?
Although, the more I think about it, we Brits are not so different from our Scandinavian cousins.
We’ve been practicing a very British Hygge for years, without even realising it.
This post is in collaboration with Everest. As security and cosiness are all Hyggish qualities, their home improvement products are perfect for adding a little more Hygge to your life! Pop and have a look at their website for more details.
Although this is a collaborative post all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.