Whether you like it or not, the nights are drawing in and we are starting to think about getting cosy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer sunshine and sitting out into the late evening, but we don’t live in a country where that is how we spend the majority of our time. So we need to make the best of what we have.
You may not know that I am half Danish, so was brought up with a lot of Scandinavian influence. The best part of it, as far as I am concerned, is this wonderful thing called ‘hygge’. You will almost certainly have come across the word. Pronounced ’hoo-ga’, it means more than comfort and cosiness. It conveys a warm sense of family, happiness, warmth, candle light and general feel good factor. (They need this in Scandinavia where the days are short and they live in hours of darkness and cold. Brrr..). I was greeted by the word ‘hygge’ standing out on the welcome desk of a new business I visited in Chertsey recently. Morsø is a Danish brand, established in 1853. The Fire Gallery aims to bring hygge and a touch of ‘Danishness’ to the lives of locals, with their range of wood burning stoves. I instantly loved the place. (If you want to experience hygge, go and sit in their showroom for 10 minutes in front of the wood burner.)
Before the days of central heating, the hearth used to be the centre of the home where family gathered. These were also pre i-pad, TV and social media of course! So the family gathered, kept warm, read and talked. It is still possible to bring back some of those family values with a real wood burner pumping out warmth and hygge (although sadly I am not sure how realistic it is to make the area a mobile free zone!).
What I also like about Morsø Fire Gallery is the attitude to sustainability, another subject where Scandinavia has a thing or two to teach us. Around the show room are candle holders made from reclaimed or drift wood. In fact they are made by a local who forages for suitable wood to turn into household items. I like that attitude. We live in such a throw away society that it is refreshing to see recycling in action.
Taking that concept one stage further I found out that Morsø stoves are also environmentally friendly. 99% of the cast iron in a Morsø stove comes from scrap which has been re-smelted. Yes, your stove might once have been a bicycle! Morsø also take their sustainability further by using water based inks on packaging, and using packaging made from recycled paper.
And hygge is not just for the winter months – How about an outside pizza oven come stove for those warm summer evenings? You get the drift now. It is about attracting family and friends to a central focus, creating social interaction and feel good, come summer or winter. Just grab some candles and a coffee or beer and your scene is complete.
The World Happiness Report sees Norway, Denmark and Iceland taking the top three places in the 2017 report. The UK comes in at a distant 19th place! So dark and cold need not mean sad and miserable. Get some hygge into your life and feel good.