Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, hygge is the latest wellness trend taking the world by storm.
Originating from Denmark, which was recently voted the ‘happiest nation on earth’, hygge is defined by followers as the concept of living cosily, embracing life and being content with what you have.
Branded a “global life-style trend” by Danish media and credited with ensuring good mental health, it is even believed to contribute to Denmark’s huge demand for candles.
Although there is no direct translation, hygge is similar to the English word ‘hug’ and first appeared in Danish writing around the late 18th Century.
The craze has triggered a demand for books on the subject causing Long Row book store the Five Leaves, to sell out, while Waterstones has created a special Hygge display on its ground floor.
David Whalley, book seller in Waterstones, on Bridlesmith Gate, said: “We have seen an influx in people buying books on hygge – it’s the new ‘thing’.
“We originally stocked three books on it and now there’s seven.
“We had to bring the display downstairs because so many people were asking about it.”
The books explain how activities such as enjoying coffee and cake, spending time with friends and family, reading the Sunday papers and relaxing by an open fire are all hygge.
“The thing about hygge is you can’t define it.
“It’s the feeling of warmth and cosiness, like the feeling you have when you’re with someone special.
“It can be at home watching your favourite movie with a cup of hot cocoa, but it can also be out with friends in a pub or anywhere you enjoy.
“It’s about interior and creating cosy surroundings – like sitting in a café where the lights are dimmed, listening to relaxing music and sipping something hot.
“Another nice place is Wollaton Hall in the summer – picnics in the park are very hygge – although it is a concept mainly associated with the winter months when the focus is keeping warm and cosy.”
So where are the best places to do it in Nottingham?
Independent coffee shop The Curious Manor, based in Trinity Square, offers the perfect setting to enjoy a steaming hot drink and sweet treat.
Assistant manager, Becky Wilson, said: “We have comfy sofas, window seats and a great selection of teas, coffees and cakes.
“Our large windows look out over Trinity Square so it’s the perfect place to people watch.”
The quirky café offers a variety of vegan and gluten-free cakes as well as a selection of seasonal drinks.
Becky said: “For winter we are introducing mulled wine, warm cider and Baileys hot chocolate as well as our usual afternoon and clotted cream teas.”
In the evening a range of cocktails, wine and draft and bottled craft beers are available when the café transforms into a bar.
Becky said: “In the evening there’s a very chilled and relaxed atmosphere.
“We have dim lighting, fairy lights and lots of candles so there’s still a very cosy feel.”
A short walk away, hidden behind Pelham Street in Hockley, is Cobden Chambers – a discreet courtyard which is home to a number of small independent stores and a contemporary outdoor seating area.
Its residents include stores selling vintage clothes, home interiors, unique jewellery and its latest addition – wholefoods store Amala Living Foods, which has been open for six weeks.
The store specialises in healthy, vegan and gluten free food, 90 per cent of which is organic and from independent local sources.
Shop owner, Xanthea Heynes, said: “I really like the Chambers – it’s like an oasis in the heart of the city.
“It feels tranquil and is a good place to meet up with friends away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.”
Currently offering a selection of chilled food, smoothies and cold drinks, Xanthea hopes to introduce a hot food menu in the near future.
She said: “There will be vegan dhal, hot soups, herbal teas and lots of warm comfort food.
“I love winter cosiness and want to create a relaxed environment with lots of home made decorations, fairy lights and fresh seasonal food.”
Amala Living Foods is open from 12pm – 5pm Monday, and 10.30 – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday.