When I first spotted Rune’s market stall in my local town centre a couple of years ago, I knew we had to be friends. A perfectly styled selection of vintage wares combined with the most mouth-watering array of Scandinavian baked goods. I treat myself to a pack of Rune’s ‘Macarunes’ whenever possible; they are crunchy on the outside and chewey on the inside and nutty and delicious and dangerously addictive. Last week Rune let Dave and I run around his house snapping his stuff (and eating his baked goods- oh my) He has very kindly written a guest post for the blog, AND offered to give away 10, yes 10, packs of Macarunes to 10 very lucky readers! Scroll to the end of the post for giveaway details. Its been a pleasure to work with you, Rune!
Hygge', this distinctly Scandinavian all-encapsulating-word, is widely used in both Denmark and Norway, and has recently been the talking point in various magazine articles, on radio, and not forgetting social media. If you look on Instagram you'll be overloaded with images brimming with 'hygge'. In this short and sweet guest article I'll try to conjure up some authentic 'hygge' from a Norseman's point of view.
Originally from the blustery west coast of Norway I ended up in Rochester, via stints in Scotland and London, five years ago. I've always been interested in baking, and food preparation in general and so a few years ago I decided to get a market stall and introduce the world to traditional Scandinavian baking. Using my gran's recipes I've developed my own range of macaroons, or Macarunes as I call them, and at my weekly market stall I have these alongside other Scandinavian treats. Besides my baking I have a love for French vintage interiors, decorative items and linens. I visit France on a regular basis to search for treasures. I have a monthly stall at a vintage fair in Faversham, Kent but also try to attend other fairs throughout the year.
The word ‘Hygge’ comes from the old Norwegian word 'hyggja'...a feeling, a sense of something, the mood it creates, rather than being a physical thing. It is difficult put into words. You can feel 'hygge', you can make 'hygge', and you can also use it as an expression of speech: 'hyggelig to meet you’ (the equivalent of 'nice to meet you' but with more feeling). It is a feeling of wellbeing, relaxation, safety and familiarity; whether you're sharing a meal with family or friends, having a cup of tea or hot chocolate whilst snuggling up underneath some lovely blankets or arriving home to a house filled with the scent of home baking or freshly brewed coffee – this is ‘Hygge’.
Whilst writing this piece I'm seated in my festively decorated kitchen - candles lit - a soft glow shimmering across the linen table cloth - a cup of freshly made coffee and homemade bread with my favourite homemade fig jam. This for me is a personal 'hygge' time. I think it is important to make time for these little moments.
Here are some tips to incorporate 'Hygge' into your home.
- Candles, candles, candles! Candles, for me at least, is the easiest way of adding some 'hygge' to your home, and daily life. From October through to March the first thing I do when coming down to the kitchen in the mornings is to light some candles. I will normally keep the candles lit throughout the morning, and if it's a particularly grey day I might keep them lit throughout the whole day.
- I have a cupboard (a small one I hasten to add) for all my candles, and it is never empty. I actually get a bit concerned if the candle cupboard is looking a bit bare so needless to say I'm always stocking up. I can't have a meal without lighting candles. An evening watching movies or TV is done by candlelight, and evenings in general my house is filled with candles. I shan't go on any more about my love for candles...I think you get the idea.
- If you don't own any cosy blankets/throws then may I suggest you get thee to a shop for a stock up, or to a market for a retro or vintage piece. My favourite throw is from The White Company, and I couple this with a crocheted smaller one for a layered effect. Get a few blankets and pile them up on your sofa to use whenever you feel like it.
- Fresh flowers and/or plants will add another ‘Hygge’ element to your home. Again, it doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate stuff. You could forage for things when out walking, or from your garden (or a friend's). My favourite is to get a large bunch of eucalyptus leaves and bunch them in a large container for a scented and visually stunning display. Or a small jam jar filled with greenery will have a similar effect placed on the table where you have your meals.
- When eating why not set a beautiful table for every meal? It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but a table cloth and napkins would be a lovely start. Perhaps put some flowers/greenery on the table, and of course you'll need a candle (I know I know, my last word on candles).
Christmas is perhaps the pinnacle of 'hygge' and the most 'hyggelig' time of the year. When midwinter is at its darkest, and where a lot of time is spent inside, this is the time when 'hygge' really becomes part of your day (mine at least). Everything from creating simple decorations, getting the tree, and eating comfort food and preparations throughout the whole of December. I hope I have managed to conjure up some 'hygge' whilst you've been reading this little post and that you now go forward to create your little moments in your home and with family and friends.
And remember...'Hygge' is not something you can overdose on, so please don't hold back - embrace 'hygge'...you know it makes sense!
My mister, a portrait photographer, took Rune's portrait when we were there and I love it so much!
I hope you've enjoyed Rune's guest post- there are so many lovely tips to take away there. Rune has very kindly offered to give away 10 packs of Macarunes to 10 very lucky readers! Simply leave a comment below telling us your favourite way to Hygge up in winter time. For Multiple enries Tweet/Facebook or Instagram about how you're incorporating Hygge into your home, mentioning the giveaway, and tagging @seedsandstitches/@hanbullivant so we know you've done it. We'll choose a winner in one week, on Tuesday 15th December. That way, you’ll have your biscuits in time for the Christmas period. Hurray!
UPDATE!: Congratulations to Linda, Pip, Alex, Lucy, Helen, Jo, Melanie, Rachel, Laura and Lucy (yes, both Lucy's!) for your amazing answers. Please send your addresses to Rune asap to get your biscuits sent out! firstname.lastname@example.org