Unless you are currently living under a stone or in a hobbit hole then you will have seen the word Hygge floating about. Whether it’s on your Instagram feed accompanying photos of fleecy throws or candles or on the covers of books on the shelves of WHSmith..telling you how to get more Hygge into your life. It is pretty much everywhere right now. In fact it has been called THE trend of Autumn 2016. I read an article which referred to it as us Brits trying to jump on the “Scand-Wagon”.
So what is Hygge??
Well for one small word it can mean lots of things. Having a cosy night in with your family? That is Hygge. Having a night out with friends – also Hygge. Lighting a candle and relaxing in the warmth of your home – you guessed it, Hygge again. According to Visit Denmark it roughly translates to coziness and it does remind me of the Welsh word cwtch in some ways. Cwtch also has no literal translation but refers to a cuddle with a loved one or a small, cosy place, we also would use it to say cwtched up, for example under a blanket.
Danes who were asked in the street to describe it said the following:
“It’s a comfortable feeling”
“For me it’s cakes..especially when it gets darker” – I do like this one.
“Watching TV shows in bed under a blanket”
Although a lot also say it is very hard to explain in its entirety.
Have a quick search for #hygge on Instagram, with over 1.3million posts, you should get a feel for it.
Hygge didn’t originate in the Danish language but in Norwegian, where it meant something like “well-being.”
Now don’t get me started on the pronunciation, there are many ( and I mean many ) variations if you do a quick google search. From what I have found..with a lot of research which I totally enjoyed whilst drinking hot chocolate with a candle lit and a blanket thrown over me ( of course ) is that it should sound a bit like this:
To me ..if I was typing it and describing it to someone I would type it as Hueguh ( hue as in colour ) with an emphasis on the first H. But I could be wrong.
There is a lot to love about Hygge.
Candlelight. Cuddles with the ones you love. Time with family and friends. Fleecy blankets. Meals enjoyed with others.
In summary, it sounds a bit awesome. But don’t most of us already enjoy most of those things? We just don’t typically label them. Why now? Why do we all suddenly want to be a bit more Hygge?
My guess is this, we live such busy and often independent lives now. Naturally as humans we crave the comfort and pleasure of the company of others, which in essence is what Hygge seems to be about. For those of you living in the UK you will be aware of how often we can be seen as grumpy, ignorant at times and depression rates are continuing to rise. We are also definitely spending less time with others, at least in the physical sense. Great chunks of our lives are now spent at home alone and online ( says the blogger). Of course we now want to mimic what is considered the happiest country on earth. I mean they even have a Happiness Research Institute.
Meik Wiking who along with being the chief executive of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute also wrote The Little Book Of Hygge believes that Hygge could be the “missing ingredient” that leads to Denmark regularly topping world happiness rankings.
“We did studies on why Denmark does well, and talked about Danes’ social security, equality, wealth and tolerance,” he said. “But the trouble with that explanation is that it doesn’t set Denmark apart from the other Nordic countries. Maybe – maybe – hygge is part of that missing piece.” – quote taken from The Guardian.
But the grass is always greener right? Maybe they are happier, maybe they aren’t. Every English person isn’t grumpy, every Dane doesn’t have a permanent smile and believe me not all of the Welsh can sing.
It has taken me some time in my life to get to this way of thinking but these two quotes sum it up:
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
“…in the end you are the only one who can make yourself happy. More important, …it is never too late to find out how to do it.” – Ruth Reichl
However.. if like me you really love candles and if hot, indulgent drinks and good company make you happy then this trend can only be a good thing. Especially now the nights are drawing in and it is getting colder. I am using this as an excuse to head straight to my local homeware stores and buy all of the candles and blankets.
Maybe it’s the blankets and the feeling of warmth which emanates from a lot of the articles I read about Hygge that make me feel Autumn in the very best time for it. Autumn or Fall has always been my favourite season. The golden colours, the fact that you can bundle up in snug clothes without actually being freezing cold and then there are the stews, hot desserts and thick, warm drinks.
“I’m so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers” – Anne of Green Gables.
Some Hygge inspired photos from fellow bloggers:
A mermaid tail blanket..looks lovely and cosy from Foodie Quine.
What looks like the perfect candlelit bath also from Foodie Quine.
Homemade quilt from Fuss Free Flavours.
This is a corner of my lounge, my snuggly sofa along with comfy cushions and this amazing blanket which I found at Homesense last Autumn.
And finally homemade candles from Thinly Spread:
This may strike you as a break from my normal posts so let me correct that and share some recipes that would be perfect for adding Hygge to your life:
Oatmeal or porridge for the ultimate in a warm and comforting breakfast. Try this from The Crafty Larder:
Hot chocolate is key to any cosy evening right? Try out one of these recipes:
Or perhaps a traditional Danish pudding from Fab Food 4 All? It is similar to the traditional rice pudding we know and love but the addition of almonds, sherry and the delectable cherry sauce sound delicious.
An Autumnal comfort food dish, Tortellini In Broth from Fuss Free Flavours:
These Caramel Apple Muffins from Kerry Cooks could not be any more Autumnal, they look awesome:
Is there a more warming and seasonal dessert than crumble?? I love it at this time of year..or any time really. This Blackberry and Apple version from Tin and Thyme looks especially tasty.
And finally this awesome Pumpkin Spice Syrup from Emily’s Recipes and Reviews:
So what do you think? Is Hygge just the new fad? Are you going to embrace it or do you already??