“Hygge is one of those words that can’t be translated into a single word or phrase, but can at once be described as a state of being and finding joy in the simple pleasures of everyday life – from watching the sun rise to sharing a meal and good conversation” The Joy of Hygge, Jonny Jackson and Elisa Larsen.
The concept of Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) is often centred around the concept of living in cold places, such as Scandinavia. And while the images and suggestions are all very lovely and cosy, they are highly impractical when you live in a hot and humid climate such as Darwin, Northern Territory. I have yet come across a book to help translate the Danish Hygge into tropical climate practicalities; therefore, the idea for this blog.
Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale – Hans Christian Andersen
From the Joy of Hygge – A recipe for Hygge: Candlelight, cozy blankets, an impressive log pile, a day spent in the wild, a friend to share it with and a hot chocolate.
My tropical version of a recipe for Hygge: Citronella candles/ Tiki torches, fantastic fans and air conditioning, day beds by the pool, a weekend away camping, friends to share it with and an after work beer at the pub.
In the Home
Taking another leaf from The Joy of Hygge, here is how to create the Hygge mood in the tropical home:
Make use of tropical building methods to ensure that there is as much natural air flowing through your home as possible. Noting that often outside it is still and humid so make sure those fans are strategically placed to keep the air flowing.
Get cozy with natural fibres, wooden floors boards or tiles and never owning a doona ever again. Leather couches need to be band from being sold up here (hard lesson learnt). That doesn’t mean you can’t have beautiful soft furnishings, just make sure that the furnishings are 100% humidity approved and suited to this climate. Note: lighter coloured furnishings do not retain the heat. Instead of woollen throws, think pillows, lots of comfy pillows.
Introduce nature into your home with herbs, palms, flowers from the garden or items picked up from walking outside in the marvellous hot weather, e.g pebbles, shells, driftwood etc. Nature acts like a healing balm, Doctors even recommend walking in nature to help reduce mental health disorders, so it makes sense to bring nature indoors as well as leaving it outside. Bunnings has a fabulous range of indoor plants for the hot climate or if you’ve got a friend with a green thumb, see if you can get some cuttings. Personally, I love Aloe Vera, here is why…
“Your home should be your sanctuary, a place where you can unwind and feel completely rested”. Many of us live outdoors, when it’s not too hot, so making sure that your garden, porch, balcony or other outdoor space is well ventilated, clear of rubbish and a pleasure to sit in is essential. A friend of mine gets the greatest use out of his small balcony, it’s his gym, cooking/BBQ space, bar, thinking & entertainment space with some of the most stunning views over looking the marina. Lovely right?
And while I could go on and on about things you can do to bring Hygge into your home, here are some simple tips:
- Set your table with a few simple decorations
- Have fresh flowers in a vase
- Succulents look great and are easy to care for
- Light some candles and have essential oils diffusing
- Make sure that what ever you have in your house brings you joy, happiness and comfort
- Clear out the clutter, open and light spaces that a cleared of crap are the way to go
- Make little crafty things
Food and Cooking
Hygge with food in the tropics, now this is my favourite. Entertaining and spending quality time with the people in your life is essential to Hygge.
Some of the foods recommended are: cookies, hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts, ginger bread (yum), mulled wine and soup.
Ok, that isn’t going to cut it, here are my tropical suggestions:
- Soup – Laksa (It’s THE Territory dish that everyone loves, perfect for the hangover)
- Iced tea – pick up some lovely teas from T2, brew and set in the fridge for later
- Wine and or beer, you won’t survive long in the heat without these
- Yummy salads
- Tropical fruit
- My favourite for entertaining, making pasta. Not everyone’s cup of tea to be sure.
Living in Darwin means that we essentially have endless summer, so there is no opportunities to snuggle indoors while it snows outside (unless you really crank that A/C). Occasionally in the dry season is dips beneath 20 degrees and everyone makes a comment about how cold it is, but this means that we can do pretty much anything outdoors all year round, except for the occasional pesky cyclone.
Here are some of my favourite spots in Darwin that bring me Hygge:
- Lameroo beach
- Tipperary Waters or the Waterfront for a sunrise
- The Darwin Ski Club, Mindil Beach, fish and chips down on the grass at Cullen Bay or wine at Sandbar at Skycity for a sunset
- Bike ride along the walkway down to East Point or through the George Brown Botanical Gardens
- Lazing at in the park down near the Deckchair Cinema
- having a wine at the Dinah Beach Yacht Club (with lots of insect repellant)
- check out my Instagram for some stunning pictures of these places.
- Hanging out in a pool, any pool is good.
- Bush walking and swimming in the waterholes out at the national parks
To finish this blog off is another picture and quote borrowed from the Joy of Hygge. I hope you’ve enjoyed my Hygge in the tropics blog and if you have any suggestions you think I should add, just comment below.