Thursday, 8 November 2018

How to holiday 'Hygge' style

I love the term 'Hygge' , which is a Danish word,pronounced hue-guh, used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special. There is no direct translation in English, which I guess is why us Brits have embraced the concept and you can see mentions of it all over Pinterest and Instagram. 
Our October cottage holidays, which we do every year with 'the inlaws', fully embody my take on the hygge theory: 

1. Time together with loved ones and no distractions-

Whilst on holiday we have no where to be on schedule and no time limit to activities, except the parking meter running out. We play games (Dobble and Uno are favourites), do puzzles (they never get finished within the week!), craft together and spend every mealtime eating together at either a table, picnic blanket or around a packet of chips. 
Being together for a whole week means negotiating, collaborating and compromising about the varying needs, wants and abilities of the other family members. All important life skills for children to learn and all the better to practise in the laid back setting of a holiday. I'll be honest, the boy isn't very good at the yet! But he's learning and we're trying our hardest to be sensitive to his age and development, but there were a fair few tantrums and demanding situations.

2. Being at one with nature-

Whether staying on the coast, in the countryside or the top of a mountain, cottage holidays are in locations where it's obligatory to spend as much of the day stomping or pottering outside as you do cosying up inside. We always make sure we take a walk of some description daily, even in poor weather, as the snuggling up with a drink and fire is even more pleasurable after getting cold and wet. It has been known, more than a handful of times, when following my husband or father in law's instinct for wayfinding, that we'll end up not entirely sure where we are. However, I love this quote- "Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost". And as we tell the children in these situations, "we're not lost, we're exploring". Whether it's a beach, a forest, a meadow or a cliff top, walking in nature is mandatory for a hygge holiday.

3. Moments of mindfulness-

Sitting staring at an inspiring view, watching the sunset (or rise- if that kind of thing floats your boat), gazing into an open fire or at a flickering candle flame or daydreaming during a long drive all happen frequently and naturally during a hygge holiday. 

4. Delicious, guilt free munching and sipping- 

Hygge is a Danish concept because of their long dark winter evenings, where traditionally families would need to find ways to survive the winters without becoming gloomy and depressed. One way of emulating the hygge mentality is by embracing the simple things in life, a strong, good quality cup of coffee in a beautiful mug, a plate of creamy brie and crunchy crackers, a spread of afternoon tea and scones, savouring a locally made Cornish pasty.
 Part of hygge is also the routine or ritual that you develop in making the delicious food. We spent hours on Sunday afternoon in the cottage, as a family, chopping vegetables and peeling potatoes whilst chatting and sipping bubbles and the result was a slightly late roast pork. Another perfect example of hygge holiday food, is returning from a seafront saunter to the smell of a slow cooked casserole rich in beef and red wine.  And of course, some of the guilt from eating and drinking too much is eased and your appetite is increased from all of the sea air in your lungs, so savouring the glass of bubbles, rich wine, fruity ale or simply a sweet cup of tea is a must. 

5. Cosy garments 

Holidaying on the coast in October, the staple wardrobe is usually walking boots, comfy jeans, woolly jumpers, rain coats and fluffy scarves or deep red/mustard yellow skirts, chunky boots and soft jumpers. However, this year we had a freakishly warm week until Friday, when the wind at Sennen Cove nearly blew us away. For most of the week the children were paddling in the sea and diving in the harbour, so there was a couple of times I regretted not bringing flipflops for a change. 

The Danes are known to be the happiest nation on earth, so they must be doing something right.  So whilst on holiday, embrace your inner comfy and let the warm and fuzzy feelings flow and if you can bring some of that 'hygge' home with you, even better.

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