A splash of colour for a dull day

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My current crochet project is a welcome splash of vibrant colours on a gloomy and cold winter’s day. The pattern is Attic24’s  Cosy Stripe blanket in her Cottage colours ; beautiful colours reminiscent of an English cottage garden.

 

 

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Posted in Comfort, Cosy, crochet, Home, Hygge, Hygge Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy New Year!

 

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Its been awhile since I last blogged; in the meantime I’ve celebrated Christmas, our wedding anniversary, my birthday; mourned the sudden loss of a friend I’ve known since childhood, beaten flu, and nursed my family while they too suffered from it.  With everything that was going on, the blog was put to one side for the time being.

I took a complete break from work over Christmas – a week which is almost unheard of for me! Having the time to focus on relaxing, getting better, crocheting, reading and enjoying some much needed uninterrupted time with my husband and daughter was bliss.  I love my work, it is both very rewarding and challenging – but I admit to being a workaholic. I rarely take proper breaks from work, even on holidays I still answer work emails etc. I never take a proper lunch break, and often start early and finish late.  I have noticed that the past few months to a year I’ve found it very difficult to switch off from work and relax properly in the evenings and having a wonderful week off work where I did actually manage to not think about work has made me realise I need to make some changes to my working practices.

I’ve already started this week by making sure I take a proper lunch break . I work from home which means that I’m not bound by office timings that usually determine lunch and other breaks.  I close my laptop, and replace it with the book I’m currently reading and for 30 mins I read and enjoy my lunch – unrushed and uninterrupted. When the weather is more inviting I intend to take short 15 mins walks as part of my lunch break – time out of the office environment and enjoying a bit of nature (even for a short time) must surely be invigorating and help blow the cobwebs away.

The day before Back To Work Day, hubby and I decided to escape for the day and head off to discover somewhere new to explore. We enjoyed a gentle walk in beautiful winter sunshine along the coast, ending up in a traditional pub for one last holiday pint. There’s nothing more inviting in a pub than an open fire roaring away to warm one’s bones after a chilly winter walk!

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A new year always presents us with a fresh opportunity to either improve what we already have or make changes to what we do. This year instead of the usual (and usually abandoned) plans to lose weight I’ve decided to expand my knowledge of crochet by taking on projects that are more complicated than anything I’ve attempted before. Im currently making a “virus shawl” (revolting name, but pretty pattern!) and on Friday I start my fist CAL (crochet along) – Attic24’s gorgeous Moorland Blanket, with the colours chosen to represent the beautiful Yorkshire landscape.  I also want to learn Nålebinding which is an ancient craft that pre-dates knitting and crochet. I also plan to find time to get out more with my camera – there’s no excuse really; I live in a beautiful part of England where I can walk in lush rolling Downs, along jurassic coastlines, or in historic villages and towns. It’s just all matter of learning to tear myself away from work……

 

Whatever you do this coming year, I wish you a year filled with adventure, happiness, joy, love,laughter, opportunities and fulfillment. May it be a great year for you.

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30 Days of Hygge – Days 5&6 – Pyjama Days (Søndagshygge)

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I didn’t manage to blog yesterday as I managed to chop off the top of one of my fingers whilst preparing the evening meal. Cue a mad dash to the local hospital to be sorted out by a wonderful nurse called Amy. I now have a finger that will always have part of the tip missing – and an aversion to using large sharp cleavers!  I wonder if it’s possible to buy pre-chopped red cabbage?

Today (Sunday) had been planned as a “pyjama day” for a while – it’s a rare weekend off for my 17 year old daughter who works full time, and often long hours; so we decided that today would be spent relaxing, in pyjamas (clean ones, of course, not the ones we have slept in), watching films and enjoying a roast dinner in the afternoon. I will be working on the crochet gifts I have planned for Christmas.  A day for us all to be together, a day that is very much hyggelig. In Denmark, Søndagshygge is such a Sunday – a slow day spent relaxing with tea, books, cosying up under blankets and eating good food – a time to unwind,  and enjoy hyggesnak (gentle conversation). For us, the most important part of a pyjama day is simply being together as a family.

Sometimes when I mention that a pyjama day is planned to those that don’t understand what such a day is – and the benefits of simply slowing down and cosying up with one another, I am asked if I think that is the height of laziness? The response I always give is “No, absolutely not, looking after yours and your family’s wellbeing isn’t being lazy, it’s one of the most important things we can do for each other.” We’ve been enjoying pyjama days for years, and we’ve all felt the benefits of taking a day out to relax and unwind.

Im keeping this short so I can enjoy the rest of my  pyjama day – I wish you a wonderful Sunday and hope you too enjoy a Søndagshygge.

 

 

 

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30 Days of Hygge – Day 4, Hot Spiced Cider

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Hooray, it’s Friday! The weekend is about to begin, and this weekend up and down the land there will be the annual Bonfire and Fireworks events .  I love this time of year as we slip into winter, the cold crisp air turing our cheeks red and our fingers blue , bundling up in scarves and thick jumpers to keep the cold at bay while we head out to local firework displays, gasping in awe and delight at the pyrotechnical art that explodes in the inky dark night skies.

While hot chocolate is often the choice to warm us up when we return home, this wonderful hot spiced cider recipe is a great alternative to share with friends and family.  You could make it in advance and just heat up when you return home.

 

Hot Spiced Cider:

You will need:

2 large bottles of good quality cider (not the fizzy stuff) – you can substitute this with apple juice for a non-alcoholic version.

2 large teaspoons of honey

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1  cinnamon stick

pinch of ground nutmeg (or freshly grated if prefered)

1 large orange, cut into quarters (leave the peel on)

1 lemon, cut into quarters (leave the peel on)

1/2 teaspoon of allspice

Heat ingredients gently in a pan until hot (don’t bring to the boil), strain and serve immediately in glass mugs, decorated with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick. For some extra kick, you could add a splash of Goldschläger which is a delicious Swiss cinnamon schnapps with thin flakes of gold in it.

 

photo credit – Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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30 Days of Hygge – Day 3, Storytelling Evening

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Most people love reading and enjoy being taken on an adventure or to a different land or time through the power of literature. But when was the last time you and your family or friends read aloud to each other? I can’t think of anything more hyggelig than getting together with others, nibbling on cake and reading aloud to one another.

Storytelling is one of our oldest artforms. It stimulates the imagination and builds a sense of connection, community and togetherness  between tellers and listeners. Anyone can read a story to someone else, whether they are 5 or 95. There is something quite special about listening to someone reading a story or poem out loud,allowing your imagination to run amok, listening to the narrator’s own take on the story they are reading.  Imagine being all snuggled up under cosy blankets in a candlelit room sharing short stories or poems – what a wonderful way to spend an evening with family and friends.

Here are some suggestions of books for a storytelling evening (or you could make up your own stories!):

Winter’s Coming Hardcover by Margaret Carter  – a beautiful children’s book about a family of bears getting ready for the winter.

Percy The Park Keeper – One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth – wonderfully illustrated children’s book about a park keeper and the animals who live in the park.

Catullus:the poems, a Translation by Nicholas Langford  Roman poet who was renowned for writing both beautiful love poems and rude, bawdy ditties.

The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology by Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen – The Original Classic Edition

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30 Days of Hygge – Day 2, A Carpet of Golden Leaves

 

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Yesterday I set off to do the dreaded weekly grocery shop after work. I decided to take a short-cut through our local town centre park – a much-used green space that is frequented by parents with young children, skateboarding teens, dog-walkers, people relaxing on the grass chatting to one another, and those just passing through from one side of town to the other. The park is full of oaks, sycamores and horse chestnuts, meaning that the ground was a wonderful leaf carpet of golds. I walked through the leaf-carpet, slowly, enjoying the delightful crunching beneath my feet. I kicked my way through the larger piles of leaves (like a big kid!), and simply enjoyed the sheer delight of taking my time walking through the park, appreciating all that was around me. The fact that I slowed down, not hurrying anywhere and living in the moment was a fantastic  hygge moment. I arrived at the supermarket feeling alive and refreshed.

So why not take some time out today to simply go for a walk in a local park and enjoy hearing the crunching of leaves underfoot and feasting your eyes on the wonderful array of autumn colours.

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30 Days of Hygge – Day 1, Braised Red Cabbage and Blackcurrant Jam

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Today is the first day of my “30 Days of Hygge”, each day throughout November I will post an idea for you to try so that you too can embrace hygge. Hygge is more of a way of living than something that can be bought; no-one is too old (or too young) to embrace hygge, you don’t need to spend small fortunes on specific items, and you can enjoy hygge anywhere.

For me, one of my best times of the day is when we are all together enjoying our evening meal and catching up on what we’ve each been up to. As we come into the colder months (It’s now officially winter), warming, wholesome food is very much a staple of our meals. Braised red cabbage is one of my all-time favourites, and is my go-to food when I’m feeling the need for comfort. This is my own recipe with a twist on a traditional winter dish.

You will need:

1/2 a red cabbage

1 large apple

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 large tablespoons of Blackcurrant conserve (I highly reccomend Aldi’s Scandinavian Blackcurrant conserve)

freshly chopped ginger (to taste – I like quite a bit)

cracked black pepper

knob of salted butter

a slosh of red wine (around 2 or 3 tablespoons)

Preperation:

thinly slice the red cabbage, removing the core.

chop and core the apple (I always leave the skin on)

Place  all your ingredients in an ovenproof dish (or large saucepan if cooking on the hob) and put the lid on.

Cooking:

Cook gently for at least one hour – oven temp gas mark 3/160 C (or on a very low heat/flame if on the hob), stir occasionally to make sure the cabbage doesn’t stick to the bottom.

When the cabbage is ready, it should be a wonderful dark glistening red with no liquid remaining in the pot.

Serve with butcher’s’ sausages, creamy buttery mash – and a large glass of Claret.

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Coming Soon – 30 Days of Hygge

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I’ve not blogged much at all this month; work has been busy and I decided to take some time out from blogging to focus on recharging my batteries – and enjoy as many hygge moments as possible. I also wanted to focus on finishing my autumnal shawl, which is now completed and is the most wonderful snuggly, cosy shawl to wrap around my shoulders and cosy up in on the colder days. Wearing it gives me a sense of achievement and pride – this is something that I’ve made by hand using only wool and a wooden crochet hook, and while it may not be perfect, it’s something I’ve crafted using a centuries old skill.

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Autumnal Shawl

This year’s autumnal displays have been amazing, the colours vary from golds to bronzes to coppers to tawny browns with each day bringing another abundance of colours. If you haven’t already, make time for a walk among the trees and enjoy the beautiful palette of nature’s colours.

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I’ve set myself a challenge for November. A blog a day each with a different idea for a hygge moment ranging from learning a new craft to recipes to expressing the enjoyment of the simplest things in life that bring us pleasure that we may overlook.  “30 days of Hygge” will be starting on Tuesday, I hope you will join me.

 

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Five Easy Ways to Hygge

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It’s been too long since I last had the time (or the energy) to write a blog post. Life has been busy, and there seems to have been little time for just doing *nothing*, or relaxing and enjoying some Hygge time with my family. We all work long hours, and family time can be fractured – it is rare that we are all together for any more than a couple of hours. The last couple of weeks have been a stark reminder of why we need to embrace Hygge and simply take some time out of our busy lives to relax, be together, chat, eat cake, and just enjoy the simple things in life that really are the important things.

I’ve been up since the crack of dawn, and while in the shower (it’s where I do my thinking), I’ve promised myself that I will not allow work to overspill into to my family time – those emails sent late at night or over the weekend can (and now will) wait until my working hours for a response; the world isn’t going to suddenly explode if I don’t respond to that work email on a Saturday evening.  I’ve come up with 5 easy ways to make sure we as a family have more hygge in our lives:

1 – Turn the mobiles off!  Do we really need to be constantly connected to the internet and social media streams,  the answer is of course no. I’m old enough to remember a world without mobiles and internet, and the world wasn’t boring or dull – in fact we went out more, met up with friends rather than using instant messaging apps to chat with them.

2 – Get outside! We live in such a beautiful country, and are blessed with so many wide open spaces whether that’s a National Park, or a local city centre park.  There’s nothing more autumnal that bundling up in scarves and wooly jumpers and  going for a walk and finding nature’s treasures  (think conkers, acorns, trees swathed in gold and bronze leaves) and coming back home feeling refreshed and invigorated.

3 – Early Nights and Hot Chocolate. There is nothing more welcoming after a busy stressful day than an early night with a huge mug of glorious hot chocolate and a book.  I love Montezuma’s drinking chocolate – real chocolate shavings that you whisk gently into milk while it warms on the stove. It is rich and indulgent. Mr Hygge and I often use this time to talk about items we’ve read in the news, or share snippets about our day, or discuss plans  and dreams for the future . We have each other’s undivided attention, well until I fall asleep!

4 – Candles. When it starts to get dark, I go through an evening ritual of lighting some candles, nothing expensive just a high street scented candle and some tea-lights. The warm candlelight instantly gives a room a warm, soothing cosy glow (hyggeligt) and makes for a relaxing evening.

5 – Home Baking. Im a rubbish baker if the truth be told, but it doesn’t stop me. Baking is something that everyone can help with and enjoy the end result together. The scent of freshly baked bread or cakes is wonderful and fills the home with glorious spice scents. I recently made our Christmas cake and the delicious aroma lingered for a couple of days (it did make me want to sample the cake just to make sure it is edible, but I resisted – I don’t think i would be able to explain why a large slab was missing!). This easy cinnamon rolls recipe is very straight-forward and even a rubbish baker like myself can’t go wrong  –Simple Cinnamon Rolls

I’d love to hear what you do to bring more Hygge into your lives!

 

 

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H-Day minus seven… and a realisation

Delighted to be included in this blog post

How to Hygge the British Way

I started this blog saying I wanted to live more hyggelig, to build more Danish hygge into my life and that the first few weeks would be a chance to do research, to look for what makes good hygge.

little-book-of-hygge-manifesto A moment of hygge in a busy office day

I said  I would ‘launch’ my year of living hygge on October 4th (Cinnamon Bun Day). And I’ve been reading; I have a list of articles as long as your arm, a load from the past few weeks when hygge has just exploded into everyone else’s mind, and a pile of books (ever increasing pile of books) that I have read and reread and will, doubtless, reread again.

And the more seriously I take hygge, the more I agree with the sentiment expressed by Bronte Aurell (Fika and Hygge), that “I’m not going to lecture you on how to hygge like…

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