The Art of Hygge

November 24, 2015

When winter comes I really get into the whole hibernation thing. You know what I mean? Scented candles, blankets, red wine, pillows, Netflix, stew with dumplings. Think of the inside of Father Christmas’s house crossed with a Diptyque x Habitat x Le Creuset concession and you’re just about there.

Until this year I thought the big love I had for hibernation was laziness more than anything. Like, really Alice? You spend your evenings in leggings and big socks cuddling up to multiple hot water bottles? What a slob.

But then I read about the notion of ‘Hygge’ in Helen Russell’s The Year Of Living Danishly and realised, duh, inside me there’s just a cosy Dane trying to get out. I’m not actually lazy at all!

You see, the Danes (who are incidentally the happiest of nations according to statistics) have a movement called ‘Hygge’ which is apparently difficult to translate into English but more or less means “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things”.

This little word may be pronounced ‘heurgha’ as if you’re coughing up phlegm (cosy, that is not) but it seems to embody everything that’s warming and lovely about the winter. If I think ‘Hygge’ right now I can see my favourite vanilla candle, a good book, cosy corners lit with lamps, my knitted blanket and, in place of a woodburner, an HD fire on the telly. So modern.

(Try it, I promise it’ll make your evening warmer)

Which is why this year I have been embracing my internal slob, I mean, my internal Dane. I’ve thrown out my old ratty leggings, fixed my bobbled cashmere and embraced the comfy clothes. I’m no longer ashamed of lounging round the house in my PJs (because I have fancy new ones) and I can just about get away with wearing my new Hygge wardrobe on the school run. I’ve realised that you don’t have to wear uncomfortable clothes to look pulled-together, sometimes a carefully curated combo of lycra and jersey work too! And my poor legs, previously clad in restrictive skinny jean denim, are all the more thankful for it.

In addition, as a huge bonus, I’ve noticed since I stopped shying away from feeling lazy for putting my PJs on at 8pm I’ve become way more relaxed, peaceful and plain happy.

Firstly: huge thanks to Verry Kerry for sending me a gorgeous kimono dressing gown to kick-off the cosy living. I usually bowl round the house in a battered Primark number with one of many old and ratty band tshirts and my baggy pregnancy knickers underneath (is it any wonder I don’t have a boyfriend?!), but having such a gorgeous dressing gown to slip into every evening and morning has completely changed the way I feel about what I sleep in. I even own nighties now!

Secondly: get yourself to the following shops. This Hygge-wear is unrivalled, says this reformed lazy slob; here are my picks for the (cosy winter) season.


Short Kimono Dressing Gown, £95, Verry Kerry. Jersey Pants, £24.99 (sale!), Gap. Cross-back vest (I have these in every single colour), £12.99, GapFit.  Fleece Trousers, £39.95, GapFit. Nike Roshe Run Trainers, £69.99, Office (I WANT these in every single colour). Essence of Arcadia Essential Oils starter kit, £19.99, Essence of Arcadia (I mix the lavender with coconut oil for a gorgeous before-bed moisturiser). Knitted Jumper, £14.99, H&M (my current favourite!). Clear Intention Pendant, from £185, Rock and Raw jewellery.

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  • Reply Carie @ Space for the Butterflies November 24, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Oh now I’m longing for the warmth of the real thing! I think I can definitely get behind the concept of hygge, it’s got quilts and snowflake knitwear written all over it!!

    • Reply alice November 25, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      I know what you mean – an actual fire is the DREAM

  • Reply Jojo Humes Brown November 25, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Me too Alice…I have recently read this novel and loved it…Let’s book a flight and escape to Jutland! We can build Lego in our cashmere onesies by candle light, join a few clubs, and eat our body weight in pastries…and we will be happy.

    • Reply alice November 25, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      That literally sounds IDEAL. Mostly the pastries. And the Lego.

  • Reply Mama November 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I feel much happier now that ‘wearing pjs from the minute you get home and generally acting like an OAP’ has a posh cool name. Bring on the Horlicks!

    • Reply alice November 26, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      especially as now they use Horlicks in all sorts of fancy recipes these days. It’s totally acceptable now!

  • Reply Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper November 25, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I need some decent loungewear, considering I spend a great deal of time at home in it!

    • Reply alice November 26, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      decent loungewear has revolutionised my life ;)

  • Reply Lottie :: Oyster and Pearl November 25, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Ooh, I want all those picks! But especially the fleecy trousers. Is A Year of Living Danishly good? I’ve been recommended it a few times, might be time to give it a read.

    • Reply alice November 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

      It’s really good Lottie! Made me think on a few ways re: how we live here. Highly recommended. x

  • Reply Fritha November 26, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I love the look of these dressing gowns I find it SO hard to find one I like, in fact I don’t think I ever have done yet! x

  • Reply Metropolitan Mum November 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    HAHAHA! You’ve nailed Danish to a T! It definitely sounds like someone is coughing up phlegm. Btw, the Swedes have something called ‘mysigt’. Which is cozy & comfortable and a bit lazy all in one. We have been getting very mysig here recently. You should come. The guys are feminists without even realising it, and even single mums are allowed to have a sex life ;-) Dxx

  • Reply Laura November 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    How do I get this fake fire on my TV?! I NEED IT.

  • Reply Heaven April 20, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    This is the perfect way to break down this inaromftion.

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