This November, we’ve decided to really embrace cosy. The combination of winter weather and darker evenings makes staying at home a far more enticing prospect than going out (and let’s be honest, most of the UK can’t go very far, anyway). Different cultures have different ways of approaching cosiness, from snuggling up in front of the fire to adopting a more simple outlook on life.
In our latest blog, we take a look at some chilled-out ways to enjoy chilly November evenings indoors. We’ve dried off the dogs, stuck the kettle on and lit a few candles (naturally), and are settling down to enjoy some hygge, niksen and cwtches.
Pronounced “hue-gah”, this Danish word snuggled its way into the English lexicon a few years ago. People all over the world were captivated by the idea of cosy contentment, combining snugness with good company and hearty food. Now deemed by the lifestyle-conscious as slightly passé, there are so many articles with “Is this the new hygge?” in their title.
Actually, we don’t want a new hygge as we rather like the old one. It’s all about woolly socks, comfort food and mugs of hot chocolate, meals shared with loved ones and fireside conversations. Even if you can’t share your soup with friends at the moment, close family, pets and a favourite book are all perfect hygge companions.
The best candle for hygge? We love the uplifting, mulled-wine warmth of Spiced Orange.
Still in Scandinavia, the Swedish lagom can be translated as “in moderation”, or “just enough”, and relates the state of finding joy in simplicity. There is no need for complexity or being surrounded by lots of material things: be with the people and things that make you happy and content, no more. Armchair, DVD, the dog… perfect.
Similarly, back in Denmark, pyt (pronounced “pid”) is more about mental and emotional wellbeing than physical comfort, although of course, the two are often linked. It’s about taking a breath, focusing on the positive, and encouraging your mind not to dwell on the negatives.
For a pared-back, mindful feeling, try lighting a lavender candle, made from just one simple and relaxing fragrance.
The Dutch concept of niksen is about simply doing nothing. Find a comfy place (put that phone away) and just drift off into your own thoughts. Give yourself the luxury of idleness for a while. If you find it hard to sit still, niksen still allows “semi-automatic” activity. So if you’re an experienced knitter, for example, you can carry on knitting.
It’s advocated as a means to avoid burnout, and is also a great way to problem solve. Don’t sweat over a whiteboard or Word doc: just sit back and see where your thoughts take you.
For a thought-clearing fragrance, we’d light a fresh and clear-feeling Wild Mint candle.
Here in Dexter & Mason’s Welsh HQ, we were using the adorable term cwtch years before Gavin and Stacey made it fashionable. This cosy word looks unpronounceable: just overlook the lack of English vowels and pronounce it to rhyme with “butch” (OK, that’s dampened the cosy feel somewhat, but it’s the best match). A cwtch is a real, heartfelt squash of a hug, not the sort of polite, patting embrace you’d give a mere acquaintance.
To understand how a cwtch differs from a standard cuddle, it helps to realise that its dual-meaning is “small cupboard” or “cubbyhole”. Welsh homes have their “cwtch-dan-star“, Wenglish for understairs cupboard. Both meanings imply a sense of being safely enfolded. A cwtch on the sofa with the dogs at the end of a long day is perfection, and let’s look forward to cwtches with our human friends soon.
The comforting Hope House Solace candle is the closest a smell gets to a hug (and it’s sold to raise money for a Welsh children’s hospice).
A cosy atmosphere and a return to simple pleasures could be the nicest way to enjoy the longer nights and colder days. We’re off to curl up with a cuppa, accompanied by the fresh, autumnal aroma of Blackberry & Bay.