One Little Happy Thing

Quirky home decor & lifestyle blog

Tag: hygge

My ultimate guide to spring time hygge.

Hygge was official buzz word for 2016, and it doesn’t seem like the hype is dying down in 2017 either. You know why that is? Because hygge is something which speaks to all of us. Modern life is hectic and non-stop, and hygge is like the antidote to that.

Hygge is taking a step back and enjoying the smaller things in life. I’ve written a couple of other posts about it How I used Hygge to survive winter and My top ten tips to bring Hygge into your life and since first implementing a touch of hygge to my life, I haven’t actually looked back.

But the thing is with hygge, almost everyone assumes that it is only a winter time thing. Think cuddly blankets, candle light and flickering fires. Probably because it is synonymous with Scandinavia and their well-known harsh winters. But as the season’s changes, so does the way you can bring hygge into your daily life.

Hygge doesn’t translate to anything in particular. It’s a feeling of simple comfort, so why does that have to be restricted to the winter months? Why can’t we feel this way through the whole year? Now that Spring has sprung I’ve been thinking of things we can do to bring the essence of hygge into the sunshine.

My ultimate guide to spring time hygge

1. Invite your friends over for a BBQ.

Buy some charcoal, some booze, some burgers, and have a casual party with your friends. The weather doesn’t have to be particularly amazing because it’s the company which makes up for that (everyone from the UK knows what I’m talking about, if you plan a BBQ guaranteed it will be overcast that day).

One of the main points of hygge is to spend time with people you find comforting. Invite those people around and indulge in simple food and good conversation. BBQ’s, to me, are the most basic and yet most fun way of eating. If I could have a BBQ every night, I probably would. And it’s also fairly healthy. Tonnes of salad, and if you’re a meat eater then at least the fat is dripping out of it.

2. Take your family on a picnic at a country park.

Some of my fondest memories with my family are of family picnics at our local country park. If the sun was shining bright enough my Mum would immediately make 1 million sandwiches, throw us into the car and take us.

Make some of those precious memories with your own family! It doesn’t take much, just a few sandwiches, a bottle of drink and a comfy blanket to sit on. You could even bring some games if you have younger kids which need entertaining.

Again this is about getting back to basics, spending time with the people you love and experiencing the great outdoors. We’re lucky to have a couple of country parks within a 10 minute drive, but if you don’t then plan ahead a bit. It can be done.

3. Read your favourite book on a sun lounger in the garden.

Is there anything better than being outside, hopefully in the sun, and doing pretty much nothing? I don’t think there is. Grab your favourite book and lounge outside reading for a bit.

Even if the weather is pretty chilly I still like doing this. Normally I wear a hoodie and grab a blanket to keep warm, and have a nice drink at hand so I don’t need to move again after getting comfortable.

Hygge isn’t always about spending time with other people. It is just as much about spending time with yourself and being comfortable in your own company. Reading is a perfect way of getting used to spending time alone.

4. Make time for a spring clean.

The dark light of winter hides a multitude of sins when it comes to cleaning, but as soon as the sun light pours in you’ll start noticing those annoying patches of dust in hard to reach areas. Reserve some time to clean the whole house, thoroughly, from top to bottom.

You can also use this time to throw away or donate your unwanted belongings. Give yourself a fresh start and tonnes of space for the new season ahead.

Hygge and minimalism sort of walk hand in hand together. They’re both about living simpler. Nothing could be simpler than a clean uncluttered living space. Embrace the cleaning. Grab yourself some silly rubber gloves and have some fun with it.

I know whenever I get the house completely spick and span (regardless of how long it actually stays that way) it’s like a massive weight lifted from my shoulders.

5. Don’t turn your lights on until the sun has set.

During winter we probably spend more time in artificial light than natural, and it’s not healthy. Even when the light outside is getting dimmer, don’t be tempted to pop on your lights. Open your curtains or blinds wide to let as much light in as possible (the point above also helps as you should have nice clean windows after your spring clean).

Leave it until the last possible moment to switch the lights on. During the height of summer I tend to avoid artificial lights completely, preferring candles if I need it. So long as you can still traverse your house without stubbing your toes, do you really need it?

6. Get some fresh flowers.

Spring, to me, is synonymous with daffodils. My partner knows this and buys me bunches occasionally. But it could be any fresh flowers. It doesn’t have to be a particularly special arrangement either, just whatever you can afford.

Bringing the outdoors indoors is guaranteed to make the room feel brighter and more natural. Hygge is also so much about getting back into nature, and what easier way is there than to bring nature indoors as well!

7. Put up some solar lights in the garden.

I love my garden. We have 8 foot walls around 2 sides, with a small fence separating us and the neighbours. It needs work, but now the weather is getting better we’re going to start on it. And the first thing we are going to do is hang solar lights across the walls.

You can get really awesome solar lights on strings which you can hang either on the walls or running across the garden, and they look spectacular (our neighbours actually have some and so have inspired us, thanks neighbours!).

Instantly the garden at night time goes from being dark and uninviting to comfy and special. Twinkling string lights have a hint of magic to them. And I love it.

8. Keep your fruit bowl well stocked.

Winter hygge is all about comfortable stews, mashed potatoes and dumplings. Spring hygge is all about fresh fruit and vegetables, simple cooking and nothing heavy.

Make sure your fruit bowl is always well stocked, and your vegetable drawer full. If you make sure they’re always to hand you will always have a nice healthy snack available.

Salads are also the best meal for when the weather starts getting warmer. Who wants to eat something heavy when you’re sweating? Not me. A salad accompanied with either your favourite meat or falafels is perfect.


 Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration for bringing hygge into spring with you. Let me know in the comments how you get on!

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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My top tips to bring lagom into your life

lagompinterestpin

Wait, whats lagom?

The culture wave of hygge is finally starting to settle, and in it’s wake we’re learning about all new aspects of Scandinavian culture. Lagom is a Swedish word which means just the right amount. It is not too much, not too little. No excess, no deprivation. Everything in moderation. Its a principal which could be used across so many different aspects of your life. And that’s what makes it so interesting.

Lagom could be a game changer for so many people when it comes to simplifying and improving their lifestyle. Scandinavian countries always fair well in the world happiness report, Denmark winning out again for 2016, and there are so many reasons for this. The principle of lagom is one of them, Scandinavian countries aren’t well known for their consumerism, preferring a modest lifestyle instead. This is also one of the many many reasons I love them. So far I’ve only been lucky enough to visit Norway, which was one of the most spectacularly beautiful places I’ve visited. The above photo was taken on my trip there, stunning right? Maybe I’ll be lucky and get a chance to visit the rest of them sometime soon. But I digress…

Here’s just some ways you could bring the spirit of Lagom into your life.

Your Home

  • An uncluttered home is a lagom home. Everything should have purpose, and if it doesn’t then maybe it’s time to get rid!
  • Do you really need anymore books, or cushions, or ornaments? Stop buying and enjoy what you already have.
  • When friends or family are visiting don’t be tempted to show off your home, let them enjoy the space.
  • Keep it neat and tidy, but do you really need to be able to eat your dinner out of the toilet bowl? Probably not.
  • Got 3 wardrobes full of clothes? You know what I’m going to suggest. Keep only the clothes which you wear regularly and donate the rest to charity, sell them on ebay, or give away to friends and family.
  • Have space in your home for family photos. Don’t plaster the walls in them, pick your favourites and hang them proudly.
  • Same goes for art work. Don’t be tempted to cover every inch in beautiful pictures. They will look all the more beautiful for having space to be beautiful.
  • Don’t leave your home spartan though, it is your home, your personality should be evident from those key pieces you choose to display.

Your Diet

  • Don’t be tempted to over eat. Listen to your stomach. Leftovers can easily be stored and eaten the next day.
  • On the flip side, don’t leave yourself hungry for hours just because it’s not a meal time. Enjoy a light healthy snack to keep you going.
  • Moderation is key. Fancy a piece of cake? Have a piece of cake, just not every day.
  • Carry water with you, you don’t want to leave yourself thirsty for extended amounts of time.
  • Ask yourself before eating: “Does my body really need that?”. If the answer is no then step away and go for something else.
  • You can’t be too tough on yourself for the occasional binge. Just accept that it happened and say to yourself “not again”. I find actually thinking the word lagom when eating sweets stops me from eating too many.

Your work

  • Don’t take on too much, know your limits and stick to them.
  • Don’t do too little, procrastinating literally doesn’t achieve anything, be pro-active and don’t put anything off.
  • Work your allocated hours and then leave. If your shift finishes at 5pm, leave at 5pm, don’t stay longer. Unless you’re asked to, in which case consider it if you real up to it. Some days I don’t mind doing the extra work, other days I make sure I’m out the door before they get a chance to ask.
  • Take your lunch break. Have a real break. Get completely away from the work environment if possible.
  • Appreciate that your manager, boss, co-workers all work at their own levels and you shouldn’t feel the need to compete. Know you’re own work levels and don’t draw comparison to anybody else.

Your social life

  • Seeing friends is great. Make time for those people you love, go out for dinner, go to the cinema, just go for a walk together.
  • Know you don’t always have to say yes. If you really don’t feel like spending time with them you don’t have to!
  • Sometimes the best nights are the ones which go on until the early hours of the next day. Sometimes they’re the ones that end at 8pm. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you which one it is, and don’t feel bad for cutting plans short.
  • If your friends have organized an event which really isn’t for you, don’t feel bad for not going. You don’t have to do things you don’y enjoy.

Your spending

  • Do you really need that? If the answer is no, don’t get it.
  • Allocate money for the occasional splurge. Life without any sort of excess would be highly boring. I let myself have one special treat every month, and since doing this I’ve saved quite a bit.
  • Give to charity. It’ll give you a little boost and the charity will appreciate it. Consider signing up to a monthly payment plan. Pick something you believe in and you won’t miss the money.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. But don’t be too harsh on yourself if you don’t manage, budgets are tricky and for the first few months can be a struggle. Give yourself a break.
  • Before borrowing any money consider if what you want to buy is essential or not. Sometimes borrowing money is necessary, and sometimes its not. Don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary debt. It’s a burden you don’t have to carry.

The above list isn’t exhaustive. Lagom is a principle, a way to consider every decision you make in your life. When making a decision think about the overall effect it may have, living a much more simple life is brilliant, I know from experience. Steer clear from the unnecessary. Think lagom.

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