How we can be as happy as the Danes

Do you know about Hygge?

As colder days draw in let’s look further north for some winter inspiration



How can it be that the 5 top ranking countries in the World Happiness Report all have long, extremely cold winters? Personally, even the word winter makes me feel a little less optimistic.
While I love to see the leaves turn and feel the air getting crisper, the end of summer is always tinged with a little sadness. Socially we tend to withdraw in the winter, seeing less of our friends and family as we rush around in the dark or sprawl out on the sofa feeling as though the day has to end with the sunlight. We turn to winter comfort foods but then feel guilty for that apple crumble we never would have thought to make in the middle of summer.

 

Denmark has now been listed the happiest country in the world three out of the four years the index has been compiled. How, with temperatures as low as -30 degrees, and very little daylight from October to April, is everyone so happy? Here in the UK we have started to look to the Danes for some winter inspiration and we have not been disappointed. One newspaper asked recently if the latest trend might be ‘the biggest Danish export since Lego’ and I think they might be right!

‘The art of creating intimacy by candlelight’

Hygge, pronounced hoo-gah, is the secret to Danish happiness and contentment. It roughly translates as cosiness, warmth or comfort. Danish author, Meik Wiking, describes it as “the pursuit of everyday happiness – the art of creating intimacy by candlelight” and it really is embedded in the Danish way of life. The secret is to enjoy all the simple pleasures of life and make them a little bit extra cosy. You can bring a little hygge to your life in the simplest of ways. Candles, my personal favourite, are the most popular and most effective. Danes burn more candles per person than any other country. The simplest dinner can be transformed by a few candles, turning a functional activity into one that becomes a moment of real joy and reconnection with the ones you love.

I like to find a personal moment of hygge in the simplest of ways. Next time you’re about to have a cup of tea at home, think to yourself ‘be more hygge’. Take two minutes to make the living room cosy and light some beautifully scented candles (try my Bath Roman Roses for a deliciously warm, heady scent). Now set a tray with a tea pot and add something special, maybe send another nod to the Danes and choose a delicious pastry. Head back to the sofa and take a few minutes to sit and enjoy the simple pleasure of having a cup of tea while reading a good book and feeling wonderfully cosy. This is the epitome of hygge, turning a simple act into something that wraps you up in warmth and comfort and leaves you feeling completely content.

Be more hygge!

So as the days get colder I have made a promise to myself that this year I will be more hygge. This winter I am going to fill my house with cosiness, from cushions and throws to hot chocolate and, of course, candles, lots and lots of beautiful candles. Instead of being sad at the thought of chilly mornings I am going to light a candle in my bedroom as I’m getting up in the mornings and enjoy the warming glow and relish the idea of wrapping up. The Danes have a saying which translates to 'there's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing' which I just love! 
 

In my last blog I hinted at a new, limited edition candle being on the way soon and I am delighted to tell you the wait is over. Christmas Chestnuts is here. I am so excited to be sharing this beautiful new scent with you. Warming, luxurious, indulgent, this comforting scent brings to mind chestnuts roasting at a traditional Christmas market. Captures the sweet caramalised scent of roasted chestnut with hints of Pecan, Brazil Nut and Vanilla. But it is a limited edition so when it’s gone, it’s gone. 

Love Helen x

Helen Arthur