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.
In this age of social media and social sharing, it seems we can’t say we’ve truly enjoyed a meal without having shared it with our Instagram community or Facebook friends, taking perfect shots of our plates in the hope of capturing the moment and enticing the senses of others. As a blogger, I am a totally guilty party on this front, so I was really delighted to be invited along to my local IKEA store here in Belfast to learn some top tips on styling and photographing food and kitchen wares for that perfect Instagrammable shot. As a homes and interiors blogger, I haven’t worked with foodie styling that much in the past, however with IKEA’s gorgeous new Summer 2017 dining and kitchenware ranges in-store, I was excited to get to use their products whilst creating some Insta-worthy shots.
Local stylist and all-round Instagram guru, Eve Brannon, was on hand during the evening helping us create a Swedish ‘smorgasbord’, which is essentially sharing plates of tapas-style food which is enjoyed by family and friends together around the table, everyone helping themselves in true feel-good ‘hygge’ fashion. Eve showed us how to style the various ingredients on our own individual smorgasbords, all the while imparting some invaluable tips on how to make our culinary creations totally and deliciously ‘Instagram-able’, using food and serving ware which can all be bought in-store.
May has arrived in all its glory here and across the country, patio tables and chairs have been dusted down, or in some cases, entirely stripped and repainted (you can get carried away when the sun shines), and friends invited over for impromptu barbecues and drinks in the garden. It’s fabulous!
I was planning a patio tidy up myself recently, when Amara Living got in touch asking me to take a look at some of their summer dining collection. As a blogger, I had initially heard of Amara as they host the IBAs (Interior Blog Awards), however if you haven’t come across them before, they are an über stylish homes and lifestyle store, housing over 300 of the world’s most luxurious home fashion brands, including Orla Kiely, Missoni Home, Ralph Lauren, HAY and Bloomingville, to name but a few. Amara have evolved since their inception in 2005 to build on their brand and product range, however quality of service and luxury style remain at their core and their website definitely reflects this.
Here are some products I want to show you in all their summery loveliness…