September 27, 2016

The concept of Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is taking the world by storm.

 This Norwegian word, used by the Danish to describe a moment of comfort, warmth or happiness has been around for centuries as a way for the Danes to get through the long cold winters and is perhaps the secret to being the happiest people on earth.

To embrace Hygge first of you need to remembered the following few things...

1. Hygge is about togetherness - be it inviting friends round for a late brunch or as simple as putting up your favourite pictures of friends and family on the wall.

2. Everyday can have an element of Hygge - its about the simple things in life

3. Hygge is for everyone. You don't need to overhaul your interior or wardrobe to be more Hygge. with just a few little additions you can make your life more Hygge.

Here are my top 10 ways to be a little more Hygge.

1. Light candles - there is nothing more serene than cosying down on a warm night surrounded by candles flickering. It adds a little romance and peace to a space and can really make any room, however small feel like a secluded piece of heaven.

2. Enjoy getting dressed on a cold morning. Put those ballet flats away, pull on the softest socks you can find, tug those winter boots on for dry warm feet - you body will thank you as will your friends when you don't come down with a cold  at the first signs of winter. 

3. Get some hot chocolate - a good quality hot chocolate is a good thing to have stashed away in the cupboard as the nights draw in. Make your hot chocolate with hot milk rather than water will make it creamier and more delicious.

4. Invest in a good, warm coat. This past week we have been able to enjoy the sunshine and we haven't quite succumbed to tights yet but if you can face it this is the best time of year to get a good winter coat. They have just hit the shelves so you have the pick of the bunch.

5. Visit a second hand bookshop and pick up classics cheap as chips to read on a cold night, (surrounded by candles or course) second hand bookshops are treasure troves and a good way to appreciate time away from screens and delve into another world.

6. Eat pastries. Have a croissant even if you haven't been to Gym the night before, or plan to... Danes love a good pastry and eat them a lot. Sometimes you need a treat to keep you going and hygge is all about allowing yourself that treat after a tough day, or when you just feel like you need it.

7. Get outside more. When the temperature drops its tempting to stay inside and get the latest series of Narcos up and binge. Instead, wrap up in your cosy coat, soft socks, hat, scarf and gloves and venture outdoors to a park, grab a takeaway coffee on the way (maybe a pastry) and encourage a loved one or friend to join you to stretch those legs and enjoy the outdoors.

8. Embrace the change of seasons and all the great food that comes with it. Hunt for a perfect pumpkin, have a Halloween get-together, find a local bonfire night and watch the fireworks before coming home to some of that delicious hot chocolate, light all the candles, turn on your fairy lights  and settle down with friends to watch that latest episode you have been hankering to watch all week.

9. Cook more. (or take up a new hobby if cooking isn't your thing - learn a language, practise yoga, brush the dust off your camera) The Danes love to bake, be it a fresh batch of cinnamon buns, a warming stew or a slice of home-cured salmon. Try something new and seasonal, be it a pumpkin pie or a hot buttery sage pasta dish,  get cooking a hearty dish, enjoy it without any guilt and take comfort it is a whole seven months till beach season.

10. Enjoy the simple things. And really appreciate them. Hygge is about indulgence, not extravagance. Enjoying the space that you are in and making it feel special.  Your living room doesn't need to be styled to perfection, neither do you need to throw a huge dinner party and invite all your friends round. Make your own space feel like an escape, have a area, a chair or even a little time before bed when you read, meditate, enjoy that cup of sleepy hot chocolate, pull on cosy socks and light that candle even if just for a few minutes just to bring the day to close and feel thankful for it.

Let me know how you get on adding a little Hygge to your life!

The best new books of Hygge ;

September 05, 2016

Click here to see my new photography website! Let me know what you think! 


After 10 days exploring first Tokyo and then Kyoto we were craving some wild landscapes, fresh air and something a little less high tech.

Having heard of the cobbled 7km path between two traditional postal villages up in the mountains, steeped in history and with rich pine forests and the occasional bear sighting we thought that this would be the perfect break from the hectic, bustling metropolis of Tokyo and Kyoto.

The two villages are called Magome and Tsagamo. You can start at either, we decided Magome and arrived later afternoon just in time to catch the wooden clad village in the most beautiful early evening light.

We checked into our traditional Ryokan and were told to be back and dressed for supper served at 6. this gave us a  good few hours to wander the winding main street and capture this beautiful village in the dusky light.

Our meal was beautiful. Prepared by the owners of the Inn everything was laid out at once creating an incredible spread. 

After a filling meal, full of surprises and local delicacies (tofu everyway) we headed up to our room and drifted off into a deep sleep. We were woken in the morning, 6:30am with traditional music being played through all the Roykan, it was then a race for the shared hot bath down stairs. Once clean and kitted out for our hike we headed down for another amazing breakfast spread.. this was a little trickier and consisted of much the of same dishes as the night before, longing for a croissant but intrigued by each dish that had clearly been prepared the night before we managed almost everything. The sticky rice and soy being the saviour of the meal.

Once finished we packed up, left our bags of at the forwarding service (amazingly convenient and surprisingly cheap) we headed off into the mountains along the cobbled path keeping our eyes peeled for bears.. and snakes.

The walk was beautiful, and we pretty much had the path to ourselves for the whole 8km.

After a long journey back to Tokyo, we spent out last two days exploring the fish market....

and buying those few last minute souvenirs before waving good bye to a fascinating country, culture and a fantastic two weeks.

If you are planning a trip to Japan and fancy doing the mountain hike find all details here...

We stayed in this beautiful Roykan.
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