Last January I discovered (to my joy!) for the first time that there was a word, hygge, which summed up just perfectly everything I love most about this cosy wrapped-up time of year. A year on, and hygge has continued to sweep across from its native Denmark to take our countries by storm, revolutionising how we approach wintertime – especially the post-Christmas part of winter. It offers a softer and more rounded alternative to the out-running, diet-beginning resolve of the new year; in the form of a more achievable balance between good health – with fresh air and long, rambling walks – and indulgent nights in – with a little bit of chocolate, a mug of something warming and some cosy time devoted to enjoying good company and home comforts.
I have recently been reading the very beautiful Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, given to me by my sister as a lovely present at the beginning of the winter, and it has been such a special book to dip in and out of every day.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down. You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life – or just be comfortable in each other’s company – or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea… Hygge may be the closest we come to happiness when we arrive home after a long day’s work on a cold, rainy day in January… this is where most of our lives will play out. Hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance: the everyday.”
This weekend, with snow lying on the ground and frost glinting from every branch of the trees outside the window, felt more hyggeligt than ever. My husband has been working away this week and as both of us are for a couple of days each next week too, we were all the more grateful for a lull in the busy-ness, some time together and the chance to enjoy winter’s cosiness.
The boys have been happy to have us both home too. It has been lovely to spend time with them, and Ty especially has been enjoying the extra company around the house all day. His little face is always there, waiting to see what’s happening next, and he’s been our shadow this weekend as we’ve gone about our days and evenings, enjoying the companionship.
The last couple of days have been very much a blend of wrapping up to wrangle with the biting weather and spending time enjoying the warmth of the indoors. Yesterday I spent the afternoon riding along crisp paths with friends, chatting and patting our fluffy-necked ponies as we did, carefully avoiding still-icy patches on the tracks here and there – the sun setting at 3pm without a true thaw ever quite reaching us. We’ve been for long walks along the bracing but beautiful waterfront, and have been as a matter of routine pulling on hats and gloves before each leaving of the house.
This morning on a venture to my mum and dad’s, spent some easy time chatting and watching the world outside the window with our hands wrapped round coffee mugs, the dogs sleeping peacefully – my old girl Ginny by my feet, the cat stretched along the full length of the settee just under the kitchen heater, making the most of the warmth.
Back home, we have spent our evenings in, under blankets with our favourite box sets playing and a real warmth filling our little house that can only truly come into its own on these very coldest of days.
I love this January-March season partly for the winds of change in the air – the increasing light in our days with every one that passes, the snowdrops brightly lining verges with flashes of hope, and the buds on the trees ready to bloom again; but in a large part too for its retaining of just enough darkness to mean that we can still burn candles, light the fire, eat warming meals and wrap up with books and TV at night. ❤
Hope you have all had a really lovely and hyggeligt weekend too, and have a wonderful week. X
In the last few days, we have taken our first steps into this whole new year before us, returning to work, school and day-to-day routines after the suspension of business as usual the end of December always brings.
Over the last week I have enjoyed the settling back into the normal – the dark evenings at home with dinner cooking and the rats clamouring at the cage door to join in; the mornings curled with them on the settee, drinking the first coffee of the day and watching light ebb into the world outside; the peace and solitude of the barn after work, horses ushered in early; the warmth of meeting with friends for catch-ups at the end of the day, fingers wrapped gratefully round hot chocolates in glass mugs; the brand new notebook open on my desk at work; and the easy reading of book after book in wrapped-up lunchbreaks.
Today, in our little corner of the world, we are not only metaphorically stepping into a new and untouched world stretching ahead, but physically too, surrounded as we are in a bright white blanket of snow.
I love living somewhere where the weather is unpredictable and changeable, where rain bounces off the ground, wind rattles at the barn roof, the sun rises crimson, when the mood takes it, and clouds cast shadows across our days. There’s possibly no weather I love more, however, than the slow tumble of snow to the ground in a peaceful swirl, and the hush that seems to arrive with it, suspending everything else as it falls.
One of the things I love most about snow is the way it changes everything, adds a brightness that otherwise doesn’t exist – you don’t even have to open the curtains in the morning to know that snow has fallen, the light of the room is so completely different, unique to these few days when everything around us is changed by nature.
This morning, slowly and carefully stepping Charmer out for his day in the field, we only had the first hint of it – icy ground, frozen water buckets, a light dusting on the tracks and a white in the sky.
By now, we are surrounded, and have spent the morning watching the flakes fall from the office window.
As I write for the first time in 2017, and first time in a good few weeks, I do have a new (and appropriately snowy) face to introduce to this little blog.
On Christmas Eve we welcomed home a new member of our little animal family, Marley, a gorgeous pink-eyed champagne dumbo rat. We were not expecting to add to our brood, but circumstances had changed for the lovely girl we adopted Reuben and Perry from back in November and she needed to rehome Marley too, who had previously lived with our boys, and asked if we would take him on.
It wasn’t something we could possibly have said no to, and as it happened he was the easiest new acquisition we’ve ever had by a long shot, clearly remembering R & P well and happily curling up with them within ten minutes, no re-introducing required! With us too, he’s been a gem, he’s a total softie and absolutely loves a cuddle.
Our old man Ty is continuing to live alone for the moment, not managing to settle down with any of the others, but enjoying his time out with us, and his limited contact with the others in their neighbouring cage.
Reuben, Perry and Marley are very settled in their new group and forming an increasingly playful rabble on their adventures round the living room at night.
As we step onto the new path ahead of us, I am looking forward to time with all the pets, enjoying both the crisp snap of winter and the first hints of spring, and writing and reading here.
Hope you are all having a good week. X