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 🙂
I’m taking a different approach this Pieday Friday and instead of sharing another naughty recipe to tempt you away from your new year health-kick I’m going to discuss ways that you can make your healthy-eating resolutions even easier. You may remember that last week I shared ways in which you can declutter your home and reorganise your wardrobe for a more productive, efficient and relaxed new year and today, I’m focusing on a similar overhaul for your kitchen – more specifically, your refrigerator. Many of us have made a new year’s resolutions to be more healthy, eat better and take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. These are all excellent ideas in order to make 2014 happier and healthier year for you, but there are already things in your life that will stop you from getting stuck into that new healthy eating regime – so I’m having a clear out of my kitchen cupboards in order to stay on track and stick to my good intentions throughout the year.
Festive leftovers – It’s the start of January and it’s inevitable that we’ve all still got tempting snacks, family-sized packs of crisps and those boxes of chocolates we received as a gift still hanging around our homes after the festivities of the previous month. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean that we have suddenly become wasteful, but just because the leftovers are there, it doesn’t mean you have to eat them up to clear them way. It’s your choice whether you eat that box of biscuits before kicking off your healthy start, but you don’t have to – there may be other members of your family who will enjoy them or you can give them away to friends. Or maybe you could have one big ‘finishing up’ party, where everyone you know brings over the odds and ends of their festive food shop and you all finish it off together. Or hold on to them and hide them out of sight, so that when you’re bursting for just one Lindt chocolate, you’ll be able to treat yourself and satisfy that craving without going out to buy a whole box of chocs and end up scoffing the lot. But in the end what you want is a fridge that is clear of all those cheeses and pots of cream and to start afresh with clear cupboards and empty tubs. This will make way for all the healthy options you’re going to treat yourself to during your next trip to the supermarket. If you know you’ve got room in your refrigerator, you might be more keen to snap up saintly salads, fruits and fat free yoghurts. Good on you!
Cupboard clearing – Ok, admit it, how many of you have stacks of old foods at the back of your cupboards? I found some unopened crackers from 2012 in my cupboard only a couple of days ago while I was clearing out for the new year. These are the kinds of foods that you’re probably not going to eat so can easily clear out. Let’s face it, if it has a use-by date of 2010 and you’ve not yet eaten it, you probably won’t ever eat it – especially now that it might be a health hazard! The biggest culprits are dried ingredients, old tinned food, and pots of spices. It’s time to check all the items in the back of your cupboards and make sure they are in-date and haven’t been opened then left to go stale. It’s a good idea at this stage to make a note of what you’re putting back into the cupboards and keep similar foodstuffs together, so that you can organise meals which will use up these items – that’s like having free food if you’re using up something you’d forgotten all about, and it will certainly save you money by reducing the chance of it quietly going mouldy in the dark recesses of a cupboard and being wasted altogether. In the cupboard space that you have after clearing out all of the old food, load it up with healthy choices to snack on such as my favourite Ryvita crackers and plain popcorn, then add pots of lovely herbs, spices and condiments to add flavour to your healthy cooking throughout the year.
I hope these tips will help you to stick to your goals for achieving a healthier you in 2014 and will also save you money in the long-run!