British Stores Where The Danish Concept of ‘Cosy’ is Second Nature…
If you haven’t yet heard of the phenomenon of Hygge – the Danish word (pronounced hoo-ga) which very loosely translates as cosiness/warm moments/experiences enjoyed in an intimate setting with loved ones and friends – you soon WILL. Hygge may be old hat to the Danes, but it is blazing a trail of excitement all over the rest of the world… perhaps nowhere more so than the UK where bloggers, newspapers and magazines are slowly eeking out the great Scandinavian ‘secret’ of happiness and positive daily living to the rest of the world.
Naturally, publishers have also ‘cottoned on’ and this autumn we can look forward to getting very snug with a handful of frantically thrown together hygge books. Actually, I’m sure they’ll be very good, but you’ve got to love the Great British publishing industry for wanting to cash in on the latest craze!
It’s like finally we have the excuse we have always been looking for to practice happy for no reason other than we are nursing a steaming hot latte beside the fire and feeling all toasty in our bed socks… despite the fact it’s only 4 in the afternoon on a Monday.
Or now we can really revel in that sensation that is freshly baked bread as we walk through the hallway into our friend’s home. We have permission to sniff, sigh ahhh and smile as we imagine ourselves scoffing a slice in a moment… oozing with butter (and another steaming hot latte) while we catch up with our Bestie.
Or simply that we no longer need to feel frivolous for taking the nostalgic idea of a candlelit bath all the way to fruition. It’s something we should have been doing EVERY flippin’ evening as it happens.
So without further ado, let’s make up for lost time.
Let’s look at 9 of the Nicest Hygge Shops.
Because the chances are, you are already a devout Hygge follower… you just didn’t know there was a word for it… and it was called THAT!
1: Cath Kidston
For me Cath Kidston is the ultimate hygge store. Why? Because they stock such a versatile range of products in every colour of the rainbow – from the easily affordable to the absolute luxury, for every room in every house… our wardrobes, and beyond. I am absolutely loving their new Beach Hut range which screams quintessential British seaside hygge. The perfect mix of make-yourself-at-home fabrics and accessories to take on a trip to the sea, even on a rainy day!
“My bedroom with its pale blue walls and striped rosebud curtains, the overblown chintz in our playroom, the coloured formica worktops and gloss paint.”
This quote from Cath herself as she reminisces on the influence of her idyllic country childhood and the way it has shaped her business, says it all. Nostalgia is at the heart of the company’s vision. And nostalgia and cosy go hand in hand.
With 54 stores and concessions in the UK and Ireland, this is accessible British hygge for everyone. And even more exciting… Cath Kidston provides British hygge overseas too. Yes, from China to Thailand, the chances are there’s a C.K shop in your country.
Oh, Whittard! I could spend hours browsing in your stores, regardless of their modest size. You positively embrace hygge with your comforting showcase of teas, coffees, hot chocs and gorgeous chinaware – especially the quintessentially ‘Brit hygge’ Alice in Wonderland range, just adorable. When we walk into one of your shops and do a panoramic spin, we are there in body, but in spirit we’re already huddled beneath a very fleecy throw on our sofa, feeling the magical warmth of Darjeeling (brewed in a proper teapot)/Elephant Coffee/Vanilla Caramel Hot Chocolate from one of your porcelain mugs. Probably with a tub of your Mini Marshmallows by our side…
But Whittard is so much more than that. Even its tea and coffee making equipment has a cosiness all of its very own. The Tea Cosies are self-explanatory, of course. But the Pao Infuser Mugs in their pillar box red and sky blue could easily hail from a funky Danish city apartment. And with gifts such as Mango Teapot Bundles, Flavoured Coffee Syrup Gift Sets, Coffee for Two Bundles and Hampers, it is plain to see Whittard know exactly what it means to self-indulge in precious moments – as well as to gift them to others.
Joules intrinsically ‘get’ hygge. They’ve been getting it ever since Tom Joule, who began selling clothes at outdoor events almost thirty years ago, realised his clientele’s vivacious personalities were by no means reflected through their current garments! Thus an idea was born… Nowadays, Joules is a stunning example of retail success through honouring the things that are important to Brits; Colour, Family, Time Off, Hand-drawn prints, Long Mornings, Style Come Rain Or Shine, Textures, Rolling Fields, Stripes, Home, Timeless Classic, A Good Book, Soft Cotton, Layers, Rosy Cheeks. The above words lifted directly from their website.
They’re my go-to for bright comfy quality knitwear and trousers. Their wellie boots are weepingly beautiful, bringing comfort to a muddy orchard trek. Their baby and children’s collections make me coo with delight in a wonderfully non-Kardashian couture way. And their scarves and picnic accessories make me swoon as I fandango around the store, deliberating over my purchase… and trying to work out if I can justify one treat or two. But then this is hygge we’re talking about, so actually, why not three?
As I say, Joules really do know ‘cosy’. And I’m especially loving their Happy Birthday Ma’am red, white and blue inspired collection in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday, proving even the regal can do cosy!
4: The White Company
Simplicity is at the heart of The White Company, known particularly for their white (naturally!) hygge hotel like feel. And it can be no coincidence that many a boutique hotel does turn to the store to weave its cosy minimalist luxurious magic into their bedrooms. Think hand-stitched, attention to detail which puts quality over quantity and you instantly have a brand whose ethic is the perfect match for hygge. From gorgeously fluffy towels that you could almost wear through to exotic and fresh smelling candles, the purest of baby clothing to the softest of cashmere, and sheepskin bean bags (could anything offer more comfort?) to glossy white breakfast in bed trays, this company eats, sleeps and breathes the very best of contemporary British hygge.
And with the introduction of their Wedding, New Home, Baby Shower and Christening gift ranges, what better start to new life could we give others than encouraging them to revel in as many hyggeligt fabrics and moments as possible?
5: JoJo Maman Bebe
Family time with the children is a huge part of Danish life, and the unique way that JoJo Maman Bebe honours tradition over modern makes this store the perfect fit in the toy department alone. With retro-inspired wooden puzzles and activities, skittles and rocking horses, the company offers a refreshing alternative to the plastic which pervades so many of our nurseries!
But that is just one fragment of the business. JoJo pride themselves on a colourful range of soft, bold and layered baby and children’s clothing, as well as beautiful maternity wear, made with the kind of quality and care that is essential to cosiness. At JoJo it’s all about easy fastenings and bright, bold I-just-want-to-hug-you-and-share-cookies-and-hot-milk animal prints with a burst of nautical French (but equally oh, so Danish) stripes. An afternoon and a cuppa curled up in a chair with a JoJo catalogue alone is enough to induce a deeply relaxing sigh as you browse through the latest fuschia flower, sail boats and wildflower prints selecting the perfect party dress for your daughter and images of cupcakes and little china tea sets at a teddy bears’ picnic float by…
Reading of course IS hygge. And so no list of our favourite cosy shops would be complete without a bookstore. And whilst Waterstones may well be the biggest in the nation, I implore you to set foot in the likes of Waterstones’ flagship Piccadilly store in London and not feel like you are a million miles away from the city, enveloped in a bubble of sheer comfort. It even has a bar! And the children’s floor is an utter dream. So many corners in which to lose yourself with a book in another world. But let us not forget that Waterstones offers so much more by way of hygge than just books… Board games, notebooks, journals and fluffy, cuddly children’s book characters fringe every Waterstones – as do whimsically designed diaries and tote bags. And if your local Waterstones comes complete with its very own cafe, well, hygge really doesn’t get better than that, does it? A fresh and exciting new novel coupled with coffee and cake.
7: Jo Malone
Well this entry hardly needs explaining! What’s not to love? Perhaps this is taking hygge to the height of expense but it is one of the prime examples of self-love and living for the moment to light a Jo Malone candle on a random Wednesday night. Just because. We spend enough of our lives putting off things (including using/wearing them) for Sunday Best. But life is now. And Jo Malone knows that. As a brand whose campaign seems to be all about everyday luxury, here’s another store that truly understands the concept of hygge. However, Jo’s offerings certainly don’t stop at scented candles! As a trained perfumer, she entices us with a range of uplifting, rejuvenating treats for the senses – from the divinely sounding Blackberry and Bay Soap to Lime Basil and Mandarin Shampoo, Nectarine Blossom and Honey Cologne to Acqua di Limone Linen Spray and English Pear and Freesia diffusers to Dark Amber and Ginger Lily Dry Body Oil. There’s even a home-from-home array of travel candles so you can take hygge with you on the move. Fabulous!
8: Hotel Chocolat
I only have to window shop and I am drooling… at the sheer parade of indulgence, not my sugar-struck reflection. Although, I do polish up very well too, if I do say so myself. What’s not hygge about Hotel Chocolat? I don’t think there could be a single thing. Intimate moments in time are what hygge is all about. And savouring the delicacy that is handcrafted chocolate, is definitely top contender for that in my book. With a sumptuous range of individual chocolates, and varying shapes, sizes and assortments of beautifully wrapped boxes, Hotel Chocolat caters for the self-loving purchase and the gift-giver alike. And if that shopper were me, then on a personal pleasure note, she would absolutely be walking away with a bag of Supermilk 65 Chocolate Puddles which look and sound out of this world, Marzipan and Amaretto Selector and okay then… something a little grander… a six month subscription to the taste club – well, why in the heck not? That way I make sure I am up-to-date with all the new flavours… in the interest of research purposes, of course.
9: Laura Ashley
And last but by no means least, the most vintage of the hygge stores on my list has been showering us with wistfully elegant hygge for decades, making Laura Ashley the perfect ‘cosy’ store to round off with. As with many a great store, Laura Ashley started life from fairly humble beginnings and has therefore always remained true to its unique style, shunning the fads and trends for what it knows works; floral, pretty, textured and attainable British luxury. It’s a simple formula and it has served the store well for it continues to have a place in many of our hearts. Some of the most exciting current products which exude hygge can be found in their city dwellings range. Whether you are looking to update your sofa or redecorate with their Josette Seaspray Wallpaper (seems British hygge is all about the beach this year!) or an ever-so-kitsch but must have Michael Caine framed print, L.A proves it’s about more than just clothes. And while we’re talking of the latter, I am officially in love with this Denim Pocket Detail Tunic which is about as cosy as you can get in jean material. In fact, their entire summer collection will appeal to cosy-seeking fashionistas of both sexes, all ages, shapes and sizes and every style from lounge wear to the traditional floral wedding outfit. And that’s why we so LOVE L.A…
What are you waiting for? It’s time to hit the shops (or laptop) and share YOUR favourite hygge stores with us today!