Winter Hygge

Winter has arrived in all her glory at the bottom of Africa. Icy mornings, winds that make your bones ache and darkness cloaking us from 5 p.m. I dislike winter with it’s brooding shadows and perpetual cold but I recognise its importance.

Fortunately, winter also comes with sunny days. Bitingly cold, but if you can find a sheltered corner and raise your face to the warmth you will start to feel the necessary dormancy of the Earth and translate it to yourself.

I’m using winter to take a break and recharge my heart.

A year ago, I started on a journey to reduce my stress and find hygge in my life. It is expected that a year later, I enter the winter cycle of this transformation. As a human being I am tuned to the cycles of the seasons and it is time for introspection, to turn into myself like a dormouse going into hibernation.

Do I feel that my stress has reduced? Yes.

Did I expand my knowledge? Yes.

Am I a kinder person? Still working on that one.

Did I find my tribe? Yes.

Has my health improved? Somewhat.

It has been so hard and so easy. My time has been better spent, my time has been abused. I’ve gone off track, and found my way home. I’ve lost people and found new people. I’ve given up and persevered. I’ve gone backwards and kept on putting one foot, thought, word and intent in front of another. Conscious living is a disciplined art form and a moving target. A delicate dance between ego and soul.

As I enter my winter, it is necessary to stop and smell the woodsmoke, feel the wind slice my core and savour the first cup of tea while I watch the sun rise over my city. To acknowledge the progress that I’ve made and think about the next steps with no pressure for perfection.

It is time to be grateful for the winter, it is a chance to rest.

To sleep, perchance to dream – William Shakespeare

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Hygge on the Home Front

My beautiful country is gearing up for national elections and the usual naysayers and impenders of Doom are out and about. It’s easy to get caught up in the vitriol or you can do what I did and go and buy some indoor plants.

I love my home. But it is like an errant hairstyle, sometimes it looks Pinterest-worthy and other times it looks like it got dragged through a bush backwards, complete with leaves, sticks and the occasional dead lizard.

We have lived here for nearly two years and it is much bigger that our last home. I think I have a good eye and keen sense of interior design but lately the sheer space of it has left me doubting every idea that I have.

Not one to linger on problems, with swift fingers I got onto Google and found an interior designer who looks like she can help us out. I am hopeful that our cavernous interior can become a place of comfort, warmth and be easy on the eye whilst keeping with the theme of Messy Toddler and Old Dogs.

However, my new best friend can only come and see me next week and I am a take-action-now kinda girl. So off we tootled to the nursery where I persuaded my amused husband that at least six indoor plants in pots or baskets was immediately necessary – the bigger the better. Trees would be preferable.

Luckily for him, you can’t buy indoor trees so I settled for some monstera (très chic), snake plants (emits oxygen at night), some ferny tree-ish looking marvels and the saucily named, Devil’s Ivy. Once they were home, watered and had made the acquaintance of our ex-militia cat, I spent a gloriously happy forty-five minutes shifting them from room to room so as to determine their most impactful nature (I was quietly pleased that we hadn’t bought any trees while I was grunting them around).

We also took a trip to KAMERS|MAKERS 2019 which was lovely. I bought more plants and a beautiful hoopoe inspired notebook to add to my growing collection of beautiful notebooks. The setting in the grounds of St David’s Marist Brothers was a welcome respite from the usual convention centre hell of most expos. This year, KAMERS|MAKERS was all about zero waste which makes me feel fuzzy inside, as it has become my personal mission in life to only throw out one bag of rubbish a week. It was a good day out and my child fell asleep in the car after devouring fish and chips, so we were winning all round.

Winter is creeping up on us and it’s time to get cosy and comfy. True hygge always seems to happen when it’s cold outside and you are warm inside. It’s time for soups and roasts, blankets and pillows, movies and cuddles, fuzzy socks and hot water bottles. Tea, cinnamon, vanilla, coffee and freshly baked banana bread will feature heavily.

A heart must feel hygge too so give some thought to those without this winter. Cast your thoughts to our neighbours devastated by multiple cyclones and our friends on the coast facing devastation from the storms that raged and offer help where you can. Be a part of the kindness movement.

Think too of our country and the future we are fighting to create. If 27 000 ex pats can vote in London, so can you.

Buy a plant.

Go and vote.

Home is not where you are from, it is where you belong – Beau Taplin

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