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Tag: fika

How I used Hygge to survive winter

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How I used hygge to survive winter

Winter is a struggle. The days are shorter, the nights colder and life just seems a little grey. With all the positive thinking I can muster I manage to make it through, but this winter was slightly different. I stumbled across hygge.

If you’ve been on my blog before you’ve probably seen my other post, My top ten tips to bring Hygge into your life, but now as winter is starting to draw to a close I thought I’m summarize just how hygge has helped me cope.

If you’re not sure what hygge is please read my other post as I explain in some detail what it is, and what it means. Its a total buzz word at the moment, and those who have embraced the spirit of it can testify as to the difference it can make in a person’s life.

I’ve still struggled with the winter blues somewhat, but it hasn’t seemed as hard. Here’s just some things I’ve found which have helped.

Always have a comfy blanket to hand.

We have a tartan blanket, not too thick, not too thin, which stays on the arm chair in our living room. It is always to hand. Whenever I start feeling chilly I pull the blanket over and snuggle up. It’s pure comfort and cosiness, and getting wrapped up makes me feel safe.

Plenty of cups of tea.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, I’ve always preferred tea, whether that be PG Tips or something fruity. Something we invested in was a teapot, which is pretty amazing, and makes the process of having a warm drink just a little more special. It kind of reminds me of being at my Nan’s house. She always makes tea in a teapot, no exceptions. I don’t think she’s ever bought tea bags in her life! And it is the best tea. After being outside for any time during the winter a hot beverage is essential for warming the bones. Love it.

Alone time.

I’m an introvert. I used to hate saying that, but I’ve learnt to accept it about myself. I find spending time around people tiring, even close friends and family. Normally I also struggle to say no to social events (life’s too short am I right) but this year I decided to say no, to saying yes. I made sure to give myself plenty of time alone (or with my partner, his company isn’t tiring ever) doing what I like doing the most, drinking tea and reading books. It has been invaluable time to re-charge my batteries, and also gave me the time I needed to start this blog, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long long time.

Christmas scented candles.

I know, I know, Christmas is only one part of winter. But, the best kind of candles are Christmas scented candles. We bought a huge gingerbread scented candle and left it burning for pretty much the whole season (it had a much longer burn time than I expected, brilliant!). Every time I walked in the house it smelt like freshly baked ginger bread men, I couldn’t think of anything more comforting or homely. Even just thinking about it makes me want to get a new one.

Simpler food.

Since meeting my partner he has gone vegan, and I’ve mostly followed in his footsteps. This has opened our eyes to a whole new outlook on food. The meals we prepare together are generally much healthier, heartier and satisfying than anything I ever cooked before. I’m not going to preach that veganism is the answer to all of life’s ills, but it is definitely something you should look into as the food is so much simpler to prepare. Check out the Vegan Cookbook for beginners, it gives you a lot of information on the important questions people worry about, like where do you get your protein and calcium from. It has some pretty tasty recipes too.

A more basic home.

Back in November we moved into our first place together. We both had bits and pieces of furniture and art but nothing particularly cohesive, so we’ve had the basics but have expanded a lot over the last few months. We’ve stuck to neutral natural tones, dark wooden furniture and a few cacti and succulents. The place feels more homely than any other place I’ve lived in. We’ve kept everything basic, only “splurging” on a new sofa and arm chair (it barely counts as it was over 50% off, with a 15 year guarantee and fits in like it was meant to be).

These are just some of the ways the spirit of hygge has impacted my life over this winter, and has genuinely helped bring some sunshine into some pretty gloomy days. I genuinely believe everyone should take some of the basics and bring them into their lives. It really does make all of the difference.


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The art of Fika

the art of fika

Fika basically means “to have coffee”. It’s a concept widespread across Sweden and Finland, similar to afternoon tea in the UK, where you meet with loved ones, have a cup of coffee with a pastry or a cake. In Sweden pastries are called fikabröd, literally meaning fika bread.

Fika breaks are common place across Sweden with many workplaces having 2 throughout the day. It’s a good time for colleagues to get together, chat and relax. Not to dissimilar to a tea break across the UK, however it does generally include eating something, whether it be a pastry, a sandwich or even some fruit.

As this isn’t a concept which has managed to reach other parts of the world as of yet you may think that bringing fika into your daily life could be a struggle, but with some minor adaptations to your day it could be achieved.

learn how to fika

Fika can be broken down into 3 main parts: a drink, something to eat, and a break from your daily routine. These are essential.

The Drink

Traditionally this is coffee, but it doesn’t have to be. I really dislike coffee but a cup of tea is a perfect substitute for me. Consider your options: what do you have available and what do you really want. If you’re in a café the world is your oyster but if you’re at home or at work you could be limited in your selection. Pick the beverage which you can see yourself enjoying.

The Food

It is commonplace to enjoy fika with a pastry, biscuits or cinnamon bun, but if you’re like me and trying to maintain/lose some weight, this may not be the right option for you. Consider having a lighter snack such as a piece of fruit, or maybe even a small sandwich or wrap.

The Break

This, for me, is the most important element to fika. It is a purposeful way of removing yourself from work and enjoying a short amount of time with friends, family or colleagues. We all know taking a break is good for our mental wellbeing: it gives us time to process information and lower the amount of stress we put on our brains. It’s also a good way of building, strengthening and maintaining the bonds we have with other people. We’ve all been there, we’ve lost track of time and before you know it we haven’t spoken to our closest friends for days, weeks or (if you’re like me) months. Use this as an opportunity to get back in touch.

There are so many ways of bringing a touch of fika into our lives. It doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence if you really can’t manage it. It could be a weekly treat. A weekly fika treat.

If you work and have allocated breaks, consider spending one of these breaks with another colleague. Have a chat about work and your personal lives. This is a prime time to build a bond with someone you otherwise may only see during working hours. Bring in some pastries or biscuits, put the kettle on and sit down for a chat.

Outside of work you could maybe organize a weekly fika break with friends. Make an occasion out of it! Get together at your favourite coffee shop and shoot the breeze. Remove yourselves from your general day to day activities and have a break with friends.

Fika is a fun concept and I hope you take some inspiration from it. My plan is to bring some fika into my Sunday routine. Let me know how you get on!

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