Hoo-gah. Honestly, that’s how you pronounce it. Lagom is slightly a tougher one… lar-gohm. If you’re already over hygge, then maybe lagom is for you. With the new year in full swing, the Scandinavian concept of ‘everything in moderation’ may be better suited to you (especially if you’re making changes to your lifestyle and diet) than the full-on snuggle-up-and-get-cosy-during-deepest-darkest-winter concept of hygge. Lagom means ‘just the right amount’ and is a slightly more matter-of-fact approach to living a more balanced and thriftier lifestyle. As a very thrifty gal, it’s no wonder I’ve become intrigued by this concept, is it?The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that I received a book relating to this topic for Christmas. Yes, I finally own a copy of the famous Hygge book by Meik Wiking. You know, the one that instagrammers seem to be posting photos of daily during the autumn and winter. The Danish art of hygge doesn’t necessarily have a certain look or design philosophy, it’s more about the feeling and atmosphere that a room gives you. It’s about appreciating the small things in life and about the times you have felt at your happiest. Recreating that vibe throughout your home is hygge, pure and simple. Lagom is very different and there are four ways to embrace lagom this year; eating with the seasons, reducing your environmental impact, stressing less, and enjoying things in moderation. So you can see that this Swedish concept is more about lifestyle as a whole, rather than focusing on creating a feeling of cosiness in the home like hygge. It’s about having just the right amount of food, achieving the ideal work/life balance and doing your bit for the environment. Sounds like a set of new year’s resolutions, doesn’t it? I already feel like it’s more serious concept than the warm-and-fluffy idea of hygge, but maybe that’s just my natural reaction resolutions in general. What a rebel.In contrast, home interior specialists Baytree Interiors have come up with the four elements needed to create the perfect winter sanctuary with the Danish concept of hygge. These are: textures, small spaces, natural colours and low lighting. Firstly, rustic materials such as wood and leather work well to create hygge-esque textures especially when combined with cable knits, faux fur and fluffy rugs. Secondly, larger rooms will benefit from being divided up, to make a series of cosy spaces. Thirdly and neutral colour scheme using brown, gray and cream will give a sense of bringing nature indoors. And finally, lighting is the most important element in any Hygge home and it’s the easiest way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Lamps and candles create soothing pools of light around the home, and the Danes are said to light more candles than any other country in Europe!I can see how the two ideas can work hand-in-hand. For example, if you’re practicing the lagom idea of stressing less, you’ll be wanting to create a lovely hygge environment in which to relax in. Food and drink can be hygge too (I’d call it comfort food…) and the lagom idea of having everything in moderation means that you really can enjoy that hot chocolate with squishy marshmallows without feeling guilty, because you’re just having one mugful. And of course, switching off the electricity to sit by hygge candlelight, couldn’t be more lagom in terms of reducing your environmental impact, could it?These two Scandinavian concepts aren’t in competition with each other, but they have both become really popular this winter and it seems like a good idea to learn a thing or two about lifestyle from the happiest nations in the world, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to introduce some of these concepts into my own home and life in 2017 and try to embrace a happier, cosier and more relaxed approach to life. So if you find me tucked up under a blanket that I’ve knitted myself rather than doing any work, that’ll be the reason why! Let me know if you’re inspired by these Scandinavian ideals or if you’ve been adding a touch of hygge to your home this winter by leaving me a comment below 🙂
And I’m talking about the scent of autumn. It’s at this time of year that I start getting out my scented candles and enjoying cosy evenings by candlelight. I know lots of my friends choose to use scented candles all year round, but after Christmas I tend to forget to light them and eventually my candles all get put away until the following year. I’ve decided that this week they will all be making a reappearance and I’ll be adding a few new scents to my collection to infuse my home with the lovely scent of autumn. The crackling sound of a burning candle reminds me of fireworks night – the spitting bonfire and lighting sparklers from tealights – and candles are essential for illuminating pumpkin carvings so I’d say that candles really are an important part of the autumn season for me.
I think that burning candles in the evening just makes the whole room feel more snug and cosy, and I don’t know whether they actually give off much heat, but I feel warmer almost straight away after lighting candles. Perhaps it’s a placebo effect but at least it makes me feel cosier and happier so that’s got to be a good thing, right? At the moment I’m enjoying a fresh honey scent in the evenings with these BeeFayre candles and I’ve chosen this range because the products are made in the UK from natural ingredients, plus the brand donates 3% profits to bee conservation and research. I almost can’t wait until dusk before lighting it and filling the room with sweet smells!
It doesn’t seem appropriate to light candles when it’s still light outside during summer (apart from citronella candles to get rid of bugs when you’re enjoying summer evenings on the patio, of course!) so the one good thing about the nights getting darker earlier is that it feels right to light candles and enjoy the soft flickering light on a dark evening. If you’re really being frugal, you could turn off all your house lights and cosy up in candlelight, but I had to live like this for a week last autumn when our power went off after the storms so that’s kind of taken the fun out of it a little!
I don’t want to go all Christmassy too soon but I couldn’t help myself from heading into the Christmas shop when I was looking to spend some gift vouchers that I have for John Lewis. So now I’ve got a few festive candles on my hit list for this December including a Winter scents candle and my Christmas essential: the advent candle! One of my favourite things to do from December 1st is light a festive advent candle to measure the countdown to Christmas. It’s a fun ritual and it always seems to burn too quickly to start with and you might accidently burn down a couple of days without noticing, and sometimes you’ll miss a day because you’re out for the evening so you need to double-burn the next day to catch up. I enjoy this process and it’s a real signifier that Christmas is approaching. Plus, it’s always the healthy option – no chocolate in that advent calendar haha!
Are you sitting the bathtub, trying to relax with that bright white fluorescent light? Not very calming, is it? I’ve often just turned the light off and left the door ajar with the hallway light diffusing into the bathroom so that I can enjoy a little ambience while I bathe! Of course, you’ll need the right lighting to do whatever it is that you like to do at home and will be a mixture of task lighting (hence bright lights in kitchens and bathrooms) and mood lighting. You need ceiling and wall lights so you can see important stuff – like your fingers when you’re chopping vegetables, and your face when you’re applying makeup – but also softer, indirect lighting to help you relax in the bath, to chill out while you’re watching TV or to create a romantic atmosphere when having dinner with your partner and there are plenty of ways of achieving this on a budget:
Candles are great at creating mood lighting – they emit a warm glow and, depending on the candle, a nice scent too. If you plan on using candles regularly, then there are a few things that you should know. If you live in rented accommodation, check that it’s acceptable with your landlord, as some prohibit it in their rental agreement. You should never leave candles unattended; with fire, no matter how small, there is always the potential for catastrophe. If you can, opt for a soy candle. There are lots of reasons why soy candles are better than regular beeswax – it burns for longer, it is sustainable, better for your walls, and your health.
What did you get up to for Valentine’s Day yesterday? Are you celebrating today instead? I know a lot of my pals are making it into a weekend-long celebration but for hubby and I we did all our Valentine-ing yesterday and really enjoyed ourselves. I was completely spoilt with the biggest bunches of flowers that I’ve ever seen in my life plus a couple of gorgeous notebooks with stitched-binding, a teddy-bear Russian dool (very appropriate for the Winter Olympics right now!), a Beautiful South album and a book on graffiti. I went all out cheesy with a Christmas-stocking-esque heart-shaped gift bag full of ‘bee mine’ bumble bee chocolates, love-heart boxers and every other tacky Valentines gift in the £1 section of the market! Plus the coat that I was planning to get for my husband for Christmas but didn’t get round to buying was reduced to £7 and his size was the only one left on the rail – if that’s not meant to be, I don’t know what is!
Anyway, we didn’t go out for a big restaurant meal and instead we cooked up some new recipes that we’ve never tried before including Morroccan Lamb with couscous, homemade tortilla wraps (yes, even I was impressed!) and a big strawberry and apple crumble for pud. We shared some Champagne that we’d been given by our lovely friends for our 10th wedding anniversary back in the summer and scoffed out valentines chocolates – it was practically Christmas day number 2!
I thought I’d better share some photos so that you can get an idea of how very cheesy the day was – just the way we like it! Did you notice my awesome napkin folding?? I have an old book on napkin folding and this heart design was really easy to do – it’s only 6 folds so I guess it shouldn’t be too challenging for me! I hope you also had a lovely Valentines day, wherever you are and whoever you were with. Let me know what you got up to – especially you can beat my cheesiness!
This week I’ve finished creating my Christmas sideboard display and I thought I would share the world’s easiest tutorial with you for DIYing your own festive tea-light holders. It’s simply a case of saving up some empty jam jars, soaking them to remove the labels and giving them a quick clean. Then all you need to do is stick a length of double-sided tape around the base of the jar (or wherever on the jar you like!) and rolling it in glitter. I’ve used sparkly white glitter to resemble snow and have made about 9 of them so that my display sparkles and glistens when the tea-lights are lit.
I’ve also included a few pewter tankards in the display (and a little santa one!), my silver birds, candlesticks and some more mini tea-light holders. I’ve positioned them all on a mirror so that the sideboard surface is protected and the mirror reflects the warm glow of the tea-lights. I used a photo frame that hubby and I were given for our anniversary by one of our best friends as a backdrop – the backs of the frames were chalkboard, so I wrote the words ‘let it snow’ in chalk to finish off the display.
Let me know if you give this a go – it’s super-easy and so quick to do but gives a great effect! 🙂
Please could you stop by the National Blog Awards website and vote for my blog in the fashion and lifestyle Categories? That would be the best Christmas gift ever! Here’s the link to my blog awards profile: http://blogawardsuk.co.uk/blog-entries/cassiefairy-blog-2/ thanks so much 🙂