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Last week I posted about the Danish term Hygge which became THE word of 2016. But as soon as I posted I discovered there was a new trend being sent over by those lovely Scandinavians. And this one was called Lagom – pronounced Lar-gom. This time it’s the lovely Swedes imparting the wisdom of their favourite little phrases to live by. Lagom basically means ‘not too little, not too much. Just right.’ Everyone has been saying it’s not as much fun as hygge – claiming that’s all about indulgence and this is all about being frugal and denying yourself. But I feel these Swedes have been a little misunderstood. You see Lagom is about your approach to life in general, about living less excessively. So whilst hygge is about making the most of the little things, this is about being satisfied with what you do have and not always needing more. And it’s also about saving the environment – win, win.

Here are some ways I think you can live more Lagom:

  • Have a clear out

It’s the perfect thing to do in January and is it too early to think about a spring wardrobe too? Go through your clothes and fill some bin liners for your local charity shop. A neat, clean closet and a charitable donation will make you feel all warm inside.

  • Keep a spreadsheet of your finances

I know, boring, boring, boring. But it is a great way to set up your year and have money to invest in things you actually want to do. Hello sneaky March holiday (Sweden anyone?) But seriously I’m going to try and keep a note of all my expenditure from now on just to see where it all goes? Then at the end of the month I’ll roll out the spreadsheet, categorise my spending and see where I can cut down.

  • Grow your own plants

After my little foray into making lip balm for Christmas presents, I want to start making ingredients I can use in them too. I’m thinking maybe mint and aloe vera. And plants look so pretty on the side too.

  • Save, save, save

My friend gave me the idea to save a little bit every day. You begin by saving 1p on 1st January, 2p on the second, 3p on the third etc. etc. And believe it or not in the end you’ll have £667.95! Genius.

  • Plan your lunches for the week and make them on a Sunday

I’ve done this the first few weeks of January and it’s really changed my life. I’m enjoying my lunches so much more and love not having to think about it every night, it was becoming such a drain. Try it, you might just love it.

Give these a go and see that Lagom isn’t all that bad after all!

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I have to confess I’ve had a bit of bloggers’ block this weekend. I had hoped my New Year optimism and wave of ideas would last a little longer than the second week of Jan but hey ho. So I decided to take it back to basics, to think what would I like to read? When even that proved too hard, I went back even further – when would I like to read it? And the thing is, I love to read blogs first thing on a Monday morning. Recently I have been loving Louise Pentland’s Motivational Monday posts. There’s something about reading that little bit of go get ’em advice at the time of the week when I’m usually feeling most negative – 7.30am Monday sat on a commuter train to London.

So I’ve decided to start this little new blog series – every Monday morning. Sometimes it’ll be a little update about my week, a highlight perhaps, sometimes my musings on a certain subject or sometimes just a little bit of inspiration.

Monday feels even harder this week because I’ve had the best weekend. In fact I would go so far as to say I’ve had the best weekend I’ve had in ages. I went to see La La Land Friday night and loved it, I’m still humming the songs now (although that might have something to do with the fact that I’ve listened to the soundtrack on repeat ever since). I haven’t seen a film at the cinema (unless it was for work) in an age and it’s made me remember how much fun it can be to grab a couple of mates and some popcorn (from the corner shop nextdoor which you then hide in your bag because your not paying the extortionate cinema prices – anyone else?!) and to become absorbed in a whole new world. Then Saturday I spent chilling on the sofa with my best friend, eating too much and laughing lots. That evening I got dressed up and had the first date night with my boyfriend that we’ve been on in WAY too long. We went to a bar called Three Six Six, drank some crazy cocktails topped with foam and candy floss and then had the yummiest dinner in a little Gastro pub called The Abbeville. Sunday consisted of more lying on the sofa (a little hungover if I’m honest!), watching Mother’s Day with my mum and sister and a lovely long bath. How was your weekend?

So whether you’ve had a good weekend or a meh one, today marks the start of a new week, and although Monday can sometimes be the hardest day to get through just remember this:

‘Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle’

Whether it’s an annoying colleague, that stupid alarm or just Monday in general. Don’t let it dull the sparkle you might have felt yesterday.

Happy Monday all!

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If there could be a word of a year, I would say Hygge would have been pretty up there in 2016, everyone on the internet was talking about the little Danish word (pronounced hoo-ga, as I’m sure you already know) that can’t quite be translated into English.

I must have gone on about it so much that the boyfriend picked up the hint and bought me a book on the term for Christmas, result! And actually I’ve decided that January is the perfect time to practice hygge. See whilst it was great last autumn, we still had Christmas and bonfire night which guaranteed warm, comforting feelings. Now it’s dark, depressing January, we’re all poor from Christmas and cold from this ridiculous weather (when did it suddenly turn?!). SO nights in front of the fire with yummy food and friends sounds just perfect. Here are my ideas to make January a hygge filled one…

1) Board games

I always thought a board game was just for Christmas, not for life. Turns out I was so wrong. It’s very hygge to round up your family and friends, get the hot drinks in and have an evening of board games.

2) Nacho nights

Hygge is all about slow cooked, warming foods, which is great when you have a bit of money and time to spare. But it’s also all about having friends and family round and sharing together, so why not make a giant plate of Nachos with all the trimmings. Everyone loves it and you’ll all be enjoying it together which is the important thing.

3) Cosy winter walks

I haven’t seen so much of this in the hygge posts flooding the internet but according to the definition of hygge I’ve discovered, winter walks in all your warmest layers definitely count. It’s all about wrapping yourself up so you’re nice and toasty and embracing the fresh air and natural light while it’s still out there – you see the Danes don’t get all that much of it so have to make the most of it when they do.

4) Going all out on the hot drinks

I love a hot drink all year round, but January is definitely the month to indulge in the best of the best. Whether you fancy a hot chocolate, a mulled cider or just a great cup of tea, throw everything minus the kitchen sink at it, and you will be hygge-ing right.

5) Watch the sunset/sunrise

There are some gorgeous sunsets at the moment, full of pinks, yellows and oranges. There is something breathtaking about watching the sunset wherever you are. And you can watch it from the comfort of your window so you don’t need to get all cold.

6) Make a den

They’re definitely not just for children. Get all your cushions and blankets in one space, light a few hundred candles and create your own sofa den. Then grab your favourite person and settle down for a night of Netflix.

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I know I’ve already done a very long New Year’s resolutions post (if you missed it and have half hour to spare, you can find it here). But please forgive me, I’ve got one sneaky extra one to add. You see I was just sitting here writing some thank you notes to friends and family for the lovely Christmas presents they bought me and it got me thinking. How nice is it to send someone a little card every now and again?

A year ago one of my lovely uni friends sent me a card and a mini pot of Hotel Chocolat buttons, inside she wrote a note saying it was a little parcel just to make me smile. And that made me so happy and has stuck with me all this time.

Like me, you probably receive very little post these days. I even got excited about a letter from Boots with some store vouchers that I got this morning. All the rest is bills, bills, and more boring bills. It’s so rare that I get a handwritten note from someone, usually only on my birthday. And it means so much more than a text or an email. It’s that extra effort they’ve put in, it’s not something you just read and then forget about, it sits on your shelf for a few weeks and makes you smile again and again.

I make a point of always sending my friends birthday cards in the post, at the beginning of the year I mark my diary up with all their birthdays and then pop into Waterloo station’s Scribbler a few days before. But this year I really want to make an effort to send more handwritten notes, cards for no reason other than to make people smile. Because why not? Why don’t you join me?

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Looking back at my New Year’s resolutions, one big one was to focus a little more on self-care and make sure I have more me time. I’m pretty sure it’s a resolution we could all make. With long London hours, commuting, occasional evening work, friends, family and constant plans, it’s sometimes so hard to find the time to actually spend on you and it can get bloody exhausting. I’m a typical perfectionist, I only do things that are going to be of benefit for me. I can’t remember the last time I sat down and did something mindless (actually that’s a lie, I made it a priority for the Christmas break). But apart from that, I get home from work late and spend the evening exercising to get fitter, blogging to be creative, making to do lists to achieve more etc. It’s a little bit ridiculous. My family say my catchphrase is ‘I have so much to do!’ Enough! 2017 is the year I spend a bit more time on me, doing things because they make me happy rather than things that get me further. And here’s how I’m going to do it…

  1. Schedule it in: I’m going to put aside at least one night a week for me time this year, and it’s going in the diary so it’s like an appointment – immovable.
  2. Eat healthily: I would eat better if I gave myself more time to prepare food. But I always have something better to do or something better to spend the money on. Not this year, breakfast and lunch are going to be prepared and thought about in advance and I’m going to spend more on healthy snacks too.
  3. If you miss pilates, do it at home: I’m so guilty of double booking my pilates class with work or something similar and not doing anything about it. I love pilates, it’s good for my mind and body so from now on if I miss it (and I only should if I really have to), I’m going to do a pilates class to a Youtube video at home instead.
  4. Sleep: I’m getting better at this (touch wood), I always hesitate to set sleep goals as a recovering insomniac. Any sleep at all is an achievement for me. But I want a bit more of a sleep routine from now on, less lurching from under sleeping to oversleeping.
  5. Drink water: I HAVE to nail this this year. I’m drinking two litres of water a day. End of.
  6. Read a fiction book always: I want to always, always have a fiction book on my kindle ready for me to read. I find reading so relaxing and it’s perfect for those days where I don’t want to be productive on my commute, and why shouldn’t I?
  7. Expand my chill-out playlist: I’ve begun a chill-out playlist on my Spotify but currently it’s three tracks long. I already find it useful, particularly if I’m walking to work and feeling a little nervous about the day ahead. I need to commit and expand it a little now.
  8. Say no and don’t feel guilty: Tying into point one, this year I’m going to say no to things I don’t want to do, and more importantly, not feel guilty about doing that!
  9. Let go of things that don’t matter: Another important one for me, I worry about such rubbish, things that everyone else forgot about three seconds after they happened. It’s so tough but I’m going to keep working to let those things go.
  10. Write down three positive things every day: I’ve been doing this since mid-January 2016 and I want to continue. Not only is it going to be fascinating to see what I’ve been doing that day through the years, but it’s good to end the day remembering that no matter how bad it’s been there have been things to smile about.
  11. Go for one country walk a month: I love a good country walk, it refreshes your mind and body. I live in the flipping countryside so I think I should be able to manage this once a month!
  12. Don’t feel guilty if you spend all day at home in your pjs: On the other end of the spectrum, some days you just need to not leave the house but I always feel terrible if I do this. Not anymore.
  13. Aim to walk 10,000 steps a day: Now I’ve discovered the Health app on my iPhone I can keep track of this. With my walk to and from work I usually do about 7,000 anyway, I just need to squeeze in a break from my desk at lunch and I should make the target.
  14. Have a pamper night once a month at least: I love a pamper night but I always feel you really have to commit to them and feel guilty taking a whole evening off to do it. Once a month is a reasonable aim and I’m sure my body will thank me for it.
  15. Switch off and stop scrolling: Ugh, the internet. I need less of you and mindless scrolling in my life. I find it so hard to switch off my phone but spending some time away from it always, always makes me feel better. This year I’m going to do it more.
  16. Be mindless: Finally I’m going to do more things that benefit me in no way at all e.g. reading trashy novels, playing Theme Hospital, watching endless Netflix. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it, so there!