Top 5 ways to add Hygge to your life this Winter

As the nights lengthen and colder weather sneaks in around us, it’s not unusual to feel a little down, grey and flat. However, this winter it is time we turn to our Danish neighbours for some advice on how to embrace their concept of Hygge. Pronounced (hoo-guh), it incorporates embracing the small things and creating a safe space to relax.

 

The Scandinavian lifestyle is one that we could all do with embracing, with Denmark being ranked as the happiest nation in 2016. Coming 1st out of 156 countries, residents said it was because they had ‘no worries’, so we took some tips on how this chilled out nation de-stresses.

 

1. Candles Candles Candles

Picking the right candle is essential for creating the right mood. Source: Google

 

It is impossible to have Hygge without candles. If you want to create instant intimacy and ambience, a few candles and tea lights scattered about gives a more chilled and subtle lighting, instantly making you take a deep breath and chill out. Picking the right scent is also important. Everyone is particular with what kind of candle they love to light – but the more mellow and soft, the more relaxed the scent swirling around the room. For example, here are a few calming winter candles that will instantly set the mood. 

 

2. Fairy light up your life

A cosy setting is needed for Hygge. Source: Google

 

If candles are a fire hazard for you, or just too much effort, get yourself to a discount store or bargain shop and stock up on these twinkling little gems. Whether its waterfall lights draped behind your bed or long strands pinned around the walls in your lounge, it instantly draws the room in and takes away the need to pop on bigger, harsher lights. Hygge is all about creating warmth  and the effect fairy lights can give is exactly that.

 

3. Big Chunky wools and knits

Winter woolies are perfect for a cosy night in. Source: Google

Danish and Scandinavian style is renowned for its simplicity and beauty. Furnishings have a minimalist and neutral tone to them, with muted colours and elegance. There is no need to go over the top, and a few classic attributes instantly can transform your room into a relaxed Hygge haven. For example, chunky wools and knits like these cushions and blankets will make a space feel extra cosy without it looking brash or bold.

 

4. Get some friends round

An important part of Hygge is spending time with your loved ones. Source: Google

One of the most common descriptions of Hygge is ‘building a sanctuary and community’. So once you have built your little sanctuary and its glowing with all those candles you have lit, why not invite a few friends round to enjoy it with you? Hygge is also about embracing the small moments and making the most of it, so there is no need for fancy plans. Ideas as small as:

-A couple of beers and some card games

-A hot drink and a gossip

-A glass of wine and a film

-Some cosy socks and a nap

 

5. Just relax

Take time to yourself and appreciate your surroundings. Source: Google

 

To create your own well being, you need to be relaxed. So once you have made your space somewhere to enjoy, it is important to learn how to leave all the stresses of winter at the door, take a deep breath and enjoy what you have around you. If you struggle to switch off, why not try listening to relaxing music or a podcast, getting lost in a book, or treating yourself to a pamper evening.

 

And there you have it, a few simple tips that can change your attitude towards stress and appreciate what you have around you. So good luck, or ‘held og lykke’ as the Danes would say, and let a little Hygge in your life this winter.

 

Love a good Christmas market?

It seems like Christmas 2016 was only yesterday. Now it is only 6 weeks until Santa scurries down our chimneys and through our doors once again.

 

If Starbucks’ festive cups, or John Lewis’ eagerly-anticipated advert didn’t herald the merry season for you, then perhaps Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is what you have been waiting for. It is due to arrive in its usual spot, East Princes Street Gardens, on the 18th of November.

 

The nearby ice rinks and funfairs will be re-erected, and the city’s theatres will be jam-packed with audiences of all ages, in traditional Winter Wonderland fashion. This year the joyous-spirit will be spread across the New Town, with a second market making its debut on George Street on the 17th of the same month. So, after you’ve taken your ‘standard’ Dome selfie outside the restaurant’s gorgeous light displays you can take a wander through the array of stalls which continue to sell everything from arts & crafts to tasty bites.

ed market

Crowds at the Edinburgh Christmas market. Source: Google

The expansion merits the capital’s success in providing a globally celebrated event along the years. And nearby Glasgow is reaping the same rewards. Glaswegian’s reveal their The St. Enoch Market this coming Thursday and, like Edinburgh, will open an additional market in the following week on George Square – alongside an ice rink and amusements.

 

The Edinburgh and Glasgow markets prove us Scots know a thing or two about drawing in traders and food vendors from all over the world. But, who is our main competitor

 

Zagreb, Croatia has twice been hailed as the best host of any European Christmas market and its success is also mirrored in the form of an expansion.

 

The city will switch on their seasonal lights on the 26th of November, but their main proceedings will begin on the 2nd of December.

zagreb market

Zagreb’s Christmas market. Source: Google

So, what makes the Croatian Capital’s Christmas event so wonderful? Its main appeal is their ability to merge a traditional festive feel with a modern twist. If you head into Kaptol, you will see a live nativity play takes place, while in Tomislavac, an ice rink and amusements will be in full swing. It’s not unusual for spectators to follow a conventional Christmas Carrol Choir with an edgy DJ set.

 

While the whole city is draped in dazzling fairy lights, the main square -Trg bana Josipa Jelačića- sets an iconic Christmas scene. The fountain at the heart of the open space is encircled by a large wreath, and an artificial forest covered in snow enforces a majestic touch. The main market is on Bogviecs Street, where lovely wooden cabins host traders selling everything from sweet almonds, to beautiful handcrafted souvenirs. Be sure to try the traditional Croatian pasty desert, fruitile – and you shouldn’t have to look too far for some mulled wine to wash it down, either.

 

If you do venture abroad this festive period, Croatia can be a world-class choice. Of course, Christmas is about who you spend it with, rather than where.

Top 5 Scottish foods for the coming winter

1. Haggis
Possibly the most renowned Scottish food, Haggis is a savoury pudding, a love or hate food that is best made in the heart of Scotland and will leave you satisfied.
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2. Scottish tablet
This delicious sweet treat melts in the mouth and is the perfect end to any evening.
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3. Scottish shortbread
While shortbread can be bought anywhere, Scottish shortbread has a buttery texture, a light and sweat taste and is perfect next to a warm drink on these peaceful September evenings.
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4. Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The perfect drink to stock your cupboards with before Christmas, Single Malt Scotch Whisky will warm you down to the toes.
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5. Walker Black label, blended Scotch Whisky
This whisky is a favorite around the world, and is best enjoyed in it’s Scottish home looking out across the rolling  hillside as the trees turn to a burning orange.
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