A short rant about the art of Hygge

what is hygge?

Today when I got home it was cold and rainy. I went inside, (after tweeting a picture of the scary mushrooms growing outside my house), and put the heating on.

I went upstairs and put on an extra jumper and my slippers. Cosy.

I came back down and popped the kettle on. While it boiled, I lit a couple of candles. Then I made myself a cup of tea. I took it over to the sofa, my hands wrapped around it for warmth, and pulled a blanket over my knees while the room warmed up.


Regular people know how to be warm and relax. It’s not hard guys! It’s cold outside, so you want to get cosy. It’s the evening, so you want to have a little sit down somewhere comfy with a cup of tea. None of this is new.

Come in ‘the art of Hygge.’ The art of Hygge is the all about lighting candles, gathering blankets, and generally making your life as cosy as possible.

Seriously, what the hell??

Am I the only person who has cottoned on to the fact that this is actually just ‘the art of doing what we already just DO anyway?’ I feel like we are creating a whole industry from nothing. Are we going to start paying vast sums to go to ‘Hygge retreats’, where we just get given cups of tea and biscuits in front of a fire?

Putting your slippers on and having a cheeky hot chocolate or a bar of Galaxy is not an ART. It’s what you do when it’s November, and maybe you have your period and really want some chocolate.

Apparently though, we can’t figure that out for ourselves, we need a trend to tell us how to do it. We need Hygge.

How do you feel about Hygge? It can’t be just me who already knows to put a blanket over their knees when it’s cold?

Maybe there are some people somewhere who are sat at home, shivering, in shorts, drinking tap water, in the dark, wondering why they aren’t feeling happy and snug. Maybe these people need a book about ‘the art of Hygge’ to show them how to do basic things like be warm. 

I do not.

I’ll just stick the heating on thanks.



  1. 9 November, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    I’m sure the Danish will be quick to tell you that there’s more to hygge than lighting a candle. I’m sure our new obsession with all things hygge must be making them blow out their tea lights in despair! I have been doing hygge since before I even knew it was a thing but all this hype is making me want to kick my blanket off. It’s like the avo toast obsession all over again. Ha! Nothing like something becoming a new fad to make me run for the hills!

    • Jo Middleton
      10 November, 2016 / 10:57 am

      Someone on Facebook told be that Sandy Toksvig said it meant ‘come over, bring beer’ :-)

  2. Jane Willis
    9 November, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    Hehe, I keep looking at all these articles about hygge and thinking exactly the same thing. It’s just cosyness with a trendy label.

  3. 9 November, 2016 / 6:10 pm

    Have just recently found your blog and I’m loving the humorous slant to your posts. It’s refreshing to find someone who says what they think and not what they think others want to here xxx

    • Jo Middleton
      10 November, 2016 / 10:57 am

      Thank you very much! I hope you keep reading and enjoying them!

  4. 9 November, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    I have to say, I’ve definitely thought this too!

  5. Judith Allen
    9 November, 2016 / 9:25 pm

    So very true. It’s just to get us to buy more stuff at inflated prices. Still, you did make me smile.

  6. Christine Lockley
    9 November, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    So glad it’s not just me that doesn’t get this latest craze

  7. 9 November, 2016 / 9:47 pm

    Oh my. THIS IS MY LIFE! I am THE art of Hygge! Who knew.



    Love this post – we’re just doing what we’re doing! x

  8. claire sen
    9 November, 2016 / 9:53 pm

    THANK YOU! It annoys the hell out of me. Like people have just realised there’s a name they can put to things we’ve always done, so now it all has to be done in a really thought out fashion. How hip! (not)

  9. Bungo
    9 November, 2016 / 10:14 pm

    I thought it was more about taking time to snuggle up together as a family and have some cosy chats but I only read one article about it so may have missed the point of it being a fad :)

    • Jo Middleton
      10 November, 2016 / 10:59 am

      I think there are definitely sociological roots, I just hate the way it’s been hijacked! One book I looked at literally had hot chocolate recipes and instructions for how to make paper snowflakes…

      • 10 November, 2016 / 11:13 am

        Yes! That book is the baby born of Instagram and Pinterest! I love the whole hygge thing, but it’s just how we’ve been living for yonks.

  10. Hayley F
    9 November, 2016 / 10:47 pm

    I was having this conversation with my mum. She wants the book but i said she doesn’t need a book to tell her what she already does. Yes we were snuggled under blankets with a hot chocolate. I really don’t get all the hype about it x

  11. 10 November, 2016 / 1:08 am

    I’m with you. I’ve been under a blanket every winter i front of our wood burner for years (although I’m not a candle fan). For once I’m on trend. But it is ridiculous that everything now needs a name (and a product range on sale in all the stores!)

  12. 10 November, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    Lol! I have been following you for a while, I love your style of writing, and this epitomises it. I happen to not agree with you view of Hygge, well not exactly anyway. But you put it so clearly and charmingly, I love it! I LOVE the whole introduction of the idea of Hygge – yes it’s something that we all do, yes, it’s normal, but the fact that the Danes consider it to be an actual thing to do – that’s what I like about it. I completely disagree with the whole marketing aspect to it, but I tend to ignore that side of things. Anyway, that’s all a side issue. Just keep up your fantastic posts, I love them!!

    • Jo Middleton
      10 November, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Thanks Roisin for being a fan :-) I can totally see what you mean about it being nice to do it more consciously, as an actual THING. I guess the side of it that infuriates me is the marketing/exploitation of it, but yes, perhaps I should ignore that bit!

  13. 11 November, 2016 / 12:53 am

    Jo, you are totally missing the point. Hygge is not only candles and blankets and the likes. It’s being satisfied with you life, getting a work-life balance, wrapping up warm and going for a walk whatever the weather, having people over for a lovely BBQ or a dinner party… Living life to the full and enjoying the small things. All these are elements of hygge.

  14. Lynne Wilson
    11 November, 2016 / 2:08 pm

    Lol! I’ve just found your blog and not only have you introduced me to a new ‘thing’ I’ve never hear of, you made me spit out my tea with laughter (all over my knee hugging, it’s bloody cold out, blanket) always a winner on a cold November afternoon :o)

    • Jo Middleton
      11 November, 2016 / 7:03 pm

      Yay! I’m glad you found me Lynne and hope you come back :-)

  15. 15 November, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    Funnily enough I coined a hashtag along these lines just the other week on my Instagram account @sianjoseph #cosyisthenewhygge

  16. 25 November, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    Totally agree I really don’t get it. I read someone say it’s the art of doing little things that make you happy. What weirdos don’t already do that?!

  17. Boo Oatham
    3 February, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    Hygge is really a load of commercial blocks (excuse the language!) It is just common sense. As Jo said we all use blankets, fat socks and slippers, hot drinks and candles. We’ve been doing this for years, it’s hardly anything new. Lovely rant Jo!!!

  18. 8 February, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    Hygge is not candles and blankets and warmth, it is the feeling you get when you’ve made a meal with four people you love and sat down to enjoy the fruits of your labour, it’s the magic created for children at Christmas and it’s the togetherness of a night without the TV on. If these are things you’ve always done then good on you but a lot of people live very hectic and busy lives. The Danish concept is about the true warmth of being with loved ones without distractions and ties in very much with minimalist concepts. Anyone who thinks it’s just a fad has a rather shallow and boring timeline on social media and needs to follow some interesting people.

    Rebecca, libfemblog.com

  19. 16 July, 2017 / 6:16 pm

    As someone who spent most holidays as a kid in Denmark with my grandparents and visiting family and friends I can safely say I never saw any blankets but yes candles are part of my mum’s DNA LOL! I agree with you about the hygge bandwagon, it’s crazy, you can’t just buy or do things and think that you have hygge. The only time I’ve experienced hygge in England is when we’ve had Danish visitors, with Danish beer, schnaps and Danish food and of course candles – it’s a culture thing and can’t fabricated. The English interpretation of hygge is somewhat skewed!

  20. 19 October, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    Two years ago I wrote a blog post about hygge. It was a time when if I mentioned the word hygge to friends and colleagues they didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Mind you looking back at my post, I didn’t really know the true meaning of it either. I spouted on about candles, throws and hot chocolate and the need to wear woolly socks! I joined a hygge Face Book page and it was then that my love of hygge nose dived. People were posting photos of anything and everything. I even think someone posted a picture of their Big Mac and calling it their hygge moment! Then of course there was the fact that you couldn’t escape the piles of hygge books on display in every book shop. All that hype had me ditching the candles and feeling blessed that we didn’t have a real fire, just radiators. I might have fallen out of love with hygge, but I’ve now discovered Lykke. I feel a new blog post is on the cards. Oh dear!

    • Jo Middleton
      20 October, 2017 / 1:18 pm

      Oh don’t Brigitte! The last time I went into a book shop there was a WHOLE TABLE covered in books called different five letter words – it was too much!! :-)

  21. 20 February, 2018 / 11:02 am

    I am reminded of a relatives former apartment in Manhattan. This was central Manhattan so it was tiny: one small double bedroom, tiny galley kitchen and a tiny living room. My relative, however, had caught the feng shui (….or however you spell it) bug which was fashionable at the time. I looked around her apartment and found myself feeling a little unconvinced. I can’t help but feel the same way about hygge. It may be very popular in Shoreditch, but I would wager most Scandinavians have never heard of it!

  22. 22 February, 2018 / 3:51 pm

    Exactly this!! It’s like we have finally run out of ‘trends’ So wrapping up in a blanket must be the new thing.. I’m waiting for the ‘out your head in a cupboard and eat the kids chocolate’ trend.. I’m already nailing that!! X

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