At the turn of the New Year, it can be a struggle to make our homes feel cosy once the twinkly lights and Christmas decorations have been taken down. For many of us, the January home can feel bare, a little empty and uninviting, yet at this deepest stage of midwinter, it’s more important than ever to create a warming, welcoming atmosphere in the home.
Embracing a little ‘hygge’ in our everyday lives does wonders for the soul, whilst encouraging us to huddle down and embrace, rather than fight, these sometimes murky and cold January days. It’s about making time for yourself, savouring something as simple as wrapping your hands around your early morning coffee, a quiet moment with a book, candlelight in the evening, a shared meal with friends and family, a long walk in the woods, wrapping up in a blanket by the fire… these are all feel-good moments, rituals and activities that are in everyone’s everyday, but we often take them for granted, preferring to focus on the bad weather, the cold evenings, the grey skies of January…
Making small changes at home can help ease your path through these long winter weeks, so whilst trying to create a hygge-positive ambience in my own home, I wanted to share with you some simple ways you too can benefit from this Danish way of living. To help me along, I have chosen a selection of pieces from locally-based company Murmur. Designed in-house at their Northern Irish studio, Murmur’s products and patterns are influenced by the simple aesthetics of Scandinavian and Japanese design. The brand’s relaxed, informal style, where every product works in harmony with the next, is built upon a design ethos whereby simple designs and textured finishes translate into beautiful, practical pieces that can be enjoyed and used in the everyday; a key element in the concept of hygge.
// Share a simple supper with friends…
A lovely way to spend a cold January evening is with good friends over a rustic supper of wine and cheese. It’s a simple meal where everyone helps themselves. This ensures the host can fully relax and the conversation (and hopefully the wine, too!) can flow.
Serve a selection of cheeses, fruits, nuts and bread or crackers on an arrangement of stoneware plates and dishes, layered up with natural linens as a table covering – don’t try to keep things too ordered and perfect – the most memorable evenings with friends are the most relaxed ones. Do as the French do and pour the wine into simple glass tumblers – I used these ones.
Add in some texture with a wooden serving dish, like this one below, made from natural acacia wood. The patterned table runner is the Murmur Shimi in colourway ‘linen’.
I love the leather handle detailing on the dark grey stoneware Puzzle cheeseboard. January is a good time to use up some of the leftover cheese from Christmas that we are all guilty of buying far too much of!
Adorn each guest’s place setting with an informal twist – I picked up these pine branches on a recent forest walk, but you could equally use sprigs of fresh rosemary or eucalyptus.
Set the relaxed tone with lots of candles dotted around the table; their warming, flickering glow will be sure to make your guests feel totally at home and glad to be inside from the biting cold!
To complete my table setting, I used pieces from Murmur’s tableware collection, a carefully curated and hand-crafted range of Portuguese stoneware, featuring slightly irregular shapes and hand finished detailing. I love the informal, artisan feel.
The side plates are the Shimi dessert/salad plate in blue, which I have teamed with stoneware soup bowls in grey.
// Make your bedroom a haven to escape to…
It’s important at this time of year to make time for yourself and recharge the batteries after a busy festive season of shopping and entertaining. Make sure your bedroom is a cosy sanctuary to return to at the end of the day by investing in scented candles and layering up crisp cotton bedlinen with sumptuous woollen throws. Take time at the weekend to enjoy a lazy breakfast in bed, surrounding yourself with a good book and plenty of coffee. Snuggle up and enjoy the happy vibes…
I love my morning cuppa in this beautiful Mosaic conical mug, it’s so comfortable to hold and I love the simplicity of its Japanese-inspired geometric pattern. The bedlinen is the Hama bedding in indigo and the Dew throw adds extra texture and warmth – layers are much needed during these chilly January nights!
// Set aside time for yourself…
Create a cosy sitting corner in your home with your favourite chair draped in a warm wool throw and a small table or shelf nearby for your book and cup of coffee. Stealing a few moments in the day for yourself is crucial to your overall wellbeing as it helps to alleviate stress and gives you time to reflect and relax. So, set aside the laundry, to-do lists and mobile phone and absorb the quiet of your surroundings when possible.
This Speck throw from Murmur is quite possibly my favourite from their collection – it’s so warm and soft, and its charcoal and white weave has a beautiful texture to it.
A gentle candle flicker does wonders for your soul! I always have a candle burning somewhere in the house, it brings such a tranquil feel to a room. Especially now that many of our Christmas fairy lights have been put away, it’s a great way to warm up a room’s atmosphere. Murmur’s range of candles are made from 100% natural soy wax and long after the candle has been snuffed, the pleasant fragrance lingers in the room. I chose a three wick candle in Rare Earth for its slightly spiced, woody notes.
I hope you can find time for some hygge in your life this January and I wish you all a happy and productive 2018!
** This post was written in collaboration with Murmur, however all views and opinions are entirely my own. **