The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Kent Edition

We all need a little Hygge

14 Oct 2016

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There’s a word that’s attracting a lot of attention at the moment and – unless you’re intending on living under a rock for the foreseeable – you’re likely to be hearing it even more as the autumn/winter rolls in: hygge. Pronounced hoo-ga. A Danish word, it roughly translates to ‘cosiness of the soul’ and is a concept that the Danes embrace (with gusto) to get them through the long, dark months (of which there are six in Scandinavia – can you imagine? Oh yes you can, we live in Britain!).

From fluffy blankets and socks to candlelight and rich hot chocolate, the Danes are experts at cosy-ing up. They are in fact, research proves, the world’s happiest nation – so they know what they’re talking about and this is apparently their secret weapon. Here’s how to add a little hygge to your life:

1. Embrace the outdoors:
Sod the gym – get on your bike, go for a walk or sit on a deserted beach looking out to the horizon; fresh air puts colour in your cheeks and boosts your circulation. Then head indoors to cosy up by an open fire.

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2. Enjoy a meal with family and friends:
Meals around the table with family are very hygge – Danes getting together to enjoy a roast or supper at least once a week.

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3. Drink coffee:
Danes drink a lot of coffee but – unlike us – they don’t grab a cup on the run but take time out of their day to sit with friends and enjoy each cup. Known as Fika this daily break often includes cinnamon buns or pastries.

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4. Eat without the side of guilt:
Hygge is all about eating what you want to eat, when you want to eat it – whether that’s sticky buns, fresh bread and homemade jams or fish and chips. Big owls of porridge, steaming mugs of hot chocolate and mulled wine are all very hygge – you’ll walk it all off on your bike ride or walk tomorrow.

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5. Sing for your spirits:
The Danes drink a spirit that’s a bit like Gin and sing a song together before knocking it back. Called Aquavit, downing this gut-boosting spirit without a song is a bit like serving a roast dinner without gravy.

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6. Cosy up:
Make your home as cosy as possible with candlelight, fairy lights, open fires, and fluffy blankets and rugs and bunker down when the wind bites.

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7. Read a book:
When was the last time you lost yourself in a good book or read an entire paper? Hygge is all about taking time to enjoy the simple things in life (a bit of Carpenters on the turntable does it for me!).

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8. Turn it over:
Be in the moment by putting your phone face down and out of reach.

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9. Grab a loved one:
Whether it’s your child, dog, cat or partner, hygge is best enjoyed in the company of someone you love.

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10. Dress for the (non)occasion:
Oversized jumpers that feel like you’re being hugged, fluffy sippers, thick socks and warm pyjamas are essential.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Kent Edition