Tag Archives: interiors

A Very British Hygge

What to look for in winter ladybird book

Hygge is the Danish concept of cosiness. It’s that feeling you get when you find warmth and shelter on a cold day. It’s about closing the curtains on a dreary evening, lighting your candles and burrowing into your favourite blanket. Or spending the afternoon curled by the fire with a new book.

Technically, you’re supposed to pronounce it ‘hue-guh’ – although I’m sure I’m not alone in stubbornly referring to it as ‘higgy’ in the comfort of my own head.

The wind in the willows

The concept of hygge has taken Britain by storm – but I have to confess that I’ve always felt a bit annoyed by it.  Since when do we need lessons from the Danes in how to be cosy? Surely the whole idea of an Englishman and his castle is the very epitome of hygge?

Yes and no

Retreating to your castle and pulling up the drawbridge behind you isn’t exactly a cheerful thought it is? Just look at Brexit. The Danes are the happiest nation on earth. The British are not. Hygge is a big part of that.

Hygge isn’t just about battening down the hatches against the storm, it’s about relishing the warmth and vitality to be found in our hearts – whatever the weather.

A Very British Hygge by Simon Sinclair

Which is where A Very British Hygge by Simon Sinclair fits in. It’s a little book published by Everest, full of clever little reminders that it’s easier than you think to be more hygge…

De-clutter. Let your home tell your story by giving it a chance to breathe. Ask yourself if that dusty pile of magazines or pile of odd socks brings you joy. If the answer’s no, then get rid of them. Your home will feel lighter, and so will you.

…but remember to be kind to yourself. The concept of hygge isn’t about creating a scandi-inspired show home.  Perfection doesn’t guarantee happiness. Accept your home’s limitations – and your own too while you’re at it. Hygge is all about making the best of things.

Make your home comfortable and warm. This isn’t just about cushions and fairy lights, it’s about looking after the practical things. Double-glazed windows, decently fitted doors and insulation – they’re the building blocks you need to create a cosy home.

Be sociable. Don’t shut yourself away just because the weather’s lousy. Our homes come to life when we invite others in. Have friends round for a simple supper, or gather all the family in the sitting room to play a board-game.

Plum & Ashby candle

Make the most of light. When we think about embracing hygge we tend to think imagine candles and lamp light – the epitome of cosiness. But don’t forget to make the most of the natural light you do have. Adding a conservatory or a skylight to your home is a great way to enjoy the sun all year round. Or try putting your favourite armchair next to a bright window. Find the time to sit down there with a cup of tea as often as you can.

How do you get a sense of hygge in your home? I’d love to know. For more information on all things Hygge and to download a free copy of Simon’s book click here. 

This post was a paid commission by Everest.

My Week

This week has felt much less stressful than the last. James hasn’t been away, and we haven’t had too many appointments to keep. The weather’s been better too, and that always sets the tone for the week, doesn’t it? It’s not been particularly hot, but it has been sunny and that’s good enough for me!

Scented playdough

On Monday, I got creative with play dough. Tom adores the stuff – especially when it’s homemade. I thought it would be fun to play with some exciting colours and flavours this time. I used orange, lemon, peppermint and almond flavourings. Tom was thrilled when he came home from nursery and spent the whole afternoon squishing and squashing it. Keep your eyes peeled for a more detailed post coming soon!

Vintage Ladybird Art

On Tuesday, I framed these vintage Ladybird book illustrations. It really was so quick and easy – I did it while James was reading the boys their bedtime stories! And all for under £10.

Home Etc

Wednesday brought a lovely surprise. For the last month I’ve been joining in with the lovely Home Etc interiors and gardening blog hop, hosted by Jess and Caro. I was absolutely thrilled when I heard I’d been chosen as the winner of the first month! I’ve really enjoyed joining in every week so far, and it’s definitely encouraging me to be more creative. I love peeking into other people’s homes, and it’s so fun inviting people into mine. Do go and check it out – the link-up is open every Wednesday.

Old Fire House, Ely

On Thursday, James had a rare day off. We had the morning to ourselves. The sun was shining and we had a potter into town together – a very rare occurrence! We had coffee in the beautiful garden of the Old Fire Engine House – which is always such a dreamy setting. In fact, we had our low-key wedding reception there eight years ago. It was really quiet and we practically had the garden to ourselves. On such occasions you can indulge in a little fantasy of it all belonging just to you.

I also picked up this little swan in a new charity shop.

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I’m a bit sad that yet another charity shop has opened in our city (they are so parasitical and impossible to shift once they’re in place – we now have seven) but this one did at least have some half decent bric-a-brac. Proper vintage things, as opposed to the usual collection of empty Waitrose potted stilton jars and ten-year-old bars of soap. It even had a whole shelf of swans (plus more spotted in the stockroom). Still, I’d rather this particular empty shop had been filled with something new and exciting. Maybe one day, it’ll be me opening my own shop – a long-held ambition.

This week I have also been wearing my new denim jacket – a spur of the moment purchase in New Look – which is perfect for this rather cool June. It’s the perfect paring with all my ditsy florals and full skirts. Bit of a bargain too at £19.99.

New Look denin jacket

On Thursday afternoon we suddenly remembered it was a school dress-up and dance day for charity on Friday. The theme? Legends. Your favourite sporting star, fictional character or the ubiquitous 100% polyester superhero. Cue last minute panicking and scrabbling around. We’re not big on superheroes in this house and the Claud the Dog costumes from Book Day weren’t quite right. Gabriel has just discovered the Harry Potter books so was keen to dress up as his new hero.

Harry Potter costume

James still had his old gown from Cambridge in the loft. We dug it out and it was perfect. In my non-Oxbridge ignorance I never knew that undergraduate gowns were special pint-sized affairs – perfect for a six-year-old! It smelt hideously musty and probably still had ancient gravy stains down it – but it had a quick go in the washing machine and survived intact. A neighbour lent us some glasses and I speed-knitted him a rather dodgy Hogwarts tie. He had a great day and now wants to change his name to Harry.

Today – Friday- James had another day off and we caught up with some mundane, but satisfying jobs. Here’s Tom having a little break whilst helping to trim our hedge…

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And now it’s the weekend. Here’s to sunshine, waffles and strawberry picking….

Lizzie x

My bedroom

Scented stocks

Last year we gave our bedroom a big overhaul – new bed, wardrobe, colour and curtains. Before then, it had been in a bit of a sludge-coloured state – with clutter and mess everywhere. Once we’d finished, It looked amazing – but just lately, I’ve let things slip slightly and it’s all got rather tired and dusty again.

I hate it when my bedroom is messy. It’s my girly sanctuary, and when the masculine clutter of the rest of the household starts to creep in (random bits of Lego and the selection of wires and phone chargers that men seem to trail behind them), I know it’s time for a good spring-clean.

So, after a week of on-off tidying, it’s finally looking lovely again…

Botanical bed linen

How beautiful is my new bedding from Yorkshire Linen? I absolutely love the botanical design, and the colours are a perfect match for my curtains. I don’t usually choose patterned bedding – but I’m so glad I did. It’s brightened the room up so much and  I feel like I’m sleeping in a pretty meadow – perfect! It’s also an absolute bargain at £19.99.

Metal bedstead

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Crochet blanket and botanical bed linen

A year on, I am still totally in love with my metal bedstead. I’ve always wanted one and spent ages searching for the perfect mixture of romance and simplicity.

Dressing table mirror

Above the bed, you can see a new painting – created by the talented artists that are my boys. It’s their interpretation of the rocks and the sea near our favourite holiday location in north Pembrokeshire. I’ve had this Ikea frame for a while, and haven’t been able to find anything suitable for it. So last weekend, I let them loose with my paints. I think the boys did a splendid job and managed to work together quite well!

Chest of drawers

Here, above the chest of drawers, is another of my favourite paintings – one of those 1960s flowers in oil which are still very cheap at car boot sales. I know a lot of people will think it’s truly hideous, but I really love that retro style of flower painting.

Bedroom shelves

We inherited these shelves when we moved in and I’ve never been sure of what to do with them. Despite my love for books, I’ve never been a big fan of bookshelves in bedrooms – they look too cluttered, and the clashing colours of the spines aren’t very restful. By opting for these boxes and baskets, I think it feels a lot calmer and more unified, and the mess is mostly hidden away.

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I do allow myself one shelf of clutter though – with a few holiday mementoes and photographs.

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Another favourite find is this little painting which we bought at auction a couple of years ago. We both really liked its childlike simplicity and the bright, sunny colours. It is Paris, painted in 1918.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into my bedroom sanctuary!

I was kindly sent this new duvet cover by Yorkshire Linen, but all words and pictures are my own.

Home Etc

A few of my favourite vintage finds

I love old things. Antique, vintage, pre-loved – whatever you want to call them. Something old looks fantastic mixed with new items, and really lends your home a unique bit of personality. Lots of vintage things are also so much more affordable – especially paintings and furniture.  

I used to collect a lot of things when I was younger – espeically old magazines and vintage china. I’m much better at resisting too much hoarding these days as it all has to fight for space with the inevitable mountain of Lego and general boy clutter. A lot of my collections are now living in the loft, or under my bed, but here are just a few of my favourite vintage finds…  

 

We bought these two watercolours from the 1940s at an auction when Gabriel was a few weeks old. They are by an artist called Clodagh Sparrow, who I hadn’t heard of, but we both really fell in love with them. They were in dingy old frames and weren’t looking their best, so we were able to buy them very cheaply. We had them reframed and they immediately came to life and looked so much better. We did a little research on the artist after buying them, and she turns out to have designed railway posters during the 1930s and 40s. These pictures are a bit reminscent of vintage transport posters, don’t you think?

  

Here you can see a vintage tin given to me by James’ granny, which I’ve had leaning up in various places over the years. I love it! This little dog came in a box of other vintage toys from an auction. 

  

This jug was a recent charity shop find. It was a bit expensive at £10 (charity shops are not what they were!) but it was still there after a few weeks of dithering, so eventually it came home with me…

  

Here is another auction find. We bought a few of this artist’s paintings in the same lot, but this was my favourite. We haven’t done anything with the others yet, but this one went straight up on the wall. I love the colours and it looks great in the playroom. Auctions are such a great place to buy affordable paintings – I think we paid about £35 for the three. 

  
 

I used to collect these little Mauchline ware boxes and still have a few left. This little one lives in my bedroom and is so pretty, if a bit damaged. 

What are your favourite vintage finds?  

Home Etc