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 🙂
Ok I know it’s cheesy to say it, and I hate it when anyone tells you to ‘Cheer up’, but a smile really can make the world of difference – not just in terms of looking nicer, but feeling better too. I’ve been reading up about the effects of a smile and here’s what I’ve learnt:
Smiling is good for your health: It may seem silly, but when you’re stressed out or anxious, all you have to do is smile and you will relax. When participants in a smile study were recovering from a stressful situation, those who smiled experienced a lower heart rate than the participants with a neutral or negative expression. Smiling can even help to fight illness by making your body produce more white blood cells and therefore strengthens your immune system.
Smiling makes you happy: You don’t have to work out to get a “runner’s high” from endorphins – simply smiling will release endorphins, and these extra positive chemicals in your body makes you feel happier. This sound great to me, because I’m super-lazy, so I’m going to make smiling my exercise! Just the action of smiling lift your spirits, and try smiling in a mirror – chances are you’ll end up laughing at yourself!
Smiling is contagious: Studies report that just seeing another person smile activates the area of your brain that controls your facial movement and often results in a reflected smile. So if someone is down and you want to cheer them up, give them a smile and they are likely to mimic the expression.
Smiling makes you attractive: The European Journal of Social Psychology discovered that smiling actually makes you appear more attractive as it projects positive personality traits such as being friendly, kind, empathetic and easy-going. No amount of expensive make-up can make up for a sour expression, so go back to basics and slap on a smile – that’s all you need to look prettier, and it’s free.
Smiling will get you friends: People are more willing to engage with those who are smiling and will seek out social interactions with smilers. Think about your friends vs the people who are not your friends – why is that the case? Chances are it’s because they don’t smile enough when they are around you – and who has time for miserable friends?!
So if a smile is that important, and you’re going to be flashing it at every opportunity, you want it to look good, right? I’ve therefore investigated some of the ways that you can jazz-up your smile easily and effectively.
1. Try a different colour. If you’re not someone who wear lipstick, give it a go! If you always stick to nude shades, try a funky coral or pretty pink. If you’re feeling bold – go for it! – wear red! Any colour or product that you wear on your lips will certainly draw attention to your smile and will make you look even more attractive when you flash it.
2. Keep your teeth sparkling. Clean, white teeth are important when showing them off with a big, beaming smile, so it’s a good idea to brush with an electric toothbrush (I do four minutes each time – 2 on the top teeth, 2 on the bottom) which gives more brush-strokes per minute than a manual tooth brush. There are lots of ‘whitening’ toothpaste out there or if you’re a massive fan of tea and coffee like me, you might want to consider a professional teeth whitening treatment from a dentist or reputable clinic such as MYA.
3. Use the right products. There are lots of lip glosses that promise to plump up your lips, which will improve your smile, and Avon do some good ranges of lip-treatments to smooth wrinkles around the mouth. But imagine if you could also get a lip gloss that helps to whiten your teeth – yes, it does exist! In fact, any lip colour with a bluish undertone will help to make teeth look more sparkling white, so choose your lip colour carefully and really look at how it makes your teeth look as well as your lips.
And that’s it! Now you have a beautiful smile that will cheer everyone up, improve your health and make you look prettier!