It’s possible I was Danish in a past life (or an Egyptian princess but that’s another story). Having read The Little Book of Hygge – pronounced Hoo-ga – about the Danish art of wellbeing, I discovered I am quite Hygge-ish already, or Hyggelig as the Danes would say.

So what AM I on about?!

The book came to my attention when researching 11 Reasons to get into the Wild NOW, as the Danes enjoy exercising outdoors, so it sounded very Kids of the Wild.

Written by Miek Wiking, a happiness researcher from Denmark, ‘The Little Book of Hygge, The Danish Way to Live Well’, is all about the things in life that make the Danes one of the happiest groups of people in the world – and spending much of the year in darkness they probably need lots to keep them happy!

It’s a cute little hardback with clean, modern photographs, easy to read text and lots of happy ideas.

Hygge is barely translatable, meaning something along the lines of cosy, homely, people-centred wellbeing. It’s a feeling, smells, tastes and activities too.

The basic principles of Hygge-happiness

  • Ambient lighting and fire
  • Friends and family
  • Getting outdoors
  • Nourishing the soul
  • Eating well (and that’s not always healthily…!)
  • Being closer to nature
  • The right home environment
  • Comfy clothes
  • Feeling safe and secure

The Little Book of Hygge includes recipes, crafts, activities and ideas for being more Hyggelig in every aspect of life including at work, where the Danes even use candles for that Hygge feeling! It’s a lovely book to read and pass on to a friend.

My take on Hygge is that it’s quite like being Kids of the Wild. It’s not about living a cosy, perfect, dream-like ‘Country Living’ existence, it’s about the juxtaposition between the stresses and tensions of modern life and the little things we do to bring peace and calm into the chaos, as well as looking forward to these things almost as much as doing them; – reading a favourite book snuggled in blankets with a hot chocolate, inviting friends to a campfire at the beach, sitting somewhere beautiful in nature, warming by an open fire in thick socks after a winter hike, cooking great food for friends and family, making a cosy and inviting home. No doubt my Danish friends will correct me if I’m wrong!

To better illustrate, here are some photos of things that I feel are Hygge in my life.

Make genuine Danish treats

For some genuine Hyggelig Danish recipes, take a look at blogger My Danglish Family’s posts on Danish Honey Cakes (a bit like German Lebkuchen) and Rice Porridge with Pancakes. Both look delicious.

Buy The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, or try Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness or The Art of Hygge: How to Bring Danish Cosiness Into Your Life.

Let me know what you think and share any Hygge ideas that are in your life already.