Vivez Bien * Live Well

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Have you Heard of Hygge?

Pronounced "hueguh", hygge is a Danish word, loosely translated as cosiness, togetherness, conviviality, comfort and contentment. The Afrikaans word "geselligheid" is a good description.


The Danes are one of the happiest nations on earth so perhaps it's worth paying attention to the concept of hygge. While I don't believe that anyone can be in a state of perpetual happiness (unless you are smoking something which might come with its own set of problems), I do think a state of general contentment with moments of pure happiness is worth pursuing.


So how do we create hygge in our homes? 

It's not about doing specific things, eating specific food or having a particular style of decor. It is more about creating an atmosphere of comfort and contentment that makes you feel happy.


 It tends to be associated more with winter - think fires, blankets, candles and hot drinks....


 but is certainly attainable on summer as well.


It is indulgent, but not decandent....


...it is about togetherness with family or friends...


but is equally achievable on one's own with a good book, a puppy and a glass of red...


It is about casual entertaining, no pomp and ceremony and no need for perfection. Its about inviting your friends over without worrying about your house being a bit untidy. 


It's about lighting candles...


bringing out the board games...


cosy blankets ...


comfort food....


and warm drinks.


It's not limited to home either. A picnic on the beach is very hygge...


...so is meeting a friend for coffee and conversation.


 It is about slow food...


and fresh flowers.


It is about talking rather than texting and books, rather than TV...


It's about knitting, not networking. 


Its about creating family rituals and living in the moment.


...its about hot baths...


and snuggly babies.


And it's about love and laughter.


So why not introduce some hygge into your life? I'm definitely going to bring some into mine. 

Till next time

Sharon x

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Gen on Gin



We have just come back from a relaxing week in Hermanus with 2 of our boys where we did some fun stuff for them and then rewarded ourselves with some fun stuff for us like wine tasting, craft beer and gin tasting. I hadn't been gin tasting before. It was an interesting experience. It was recommended that I try the gin neat first, I won't do that again in a hurry - it was like drinking fire water! Although I have just started watching the TV series "The Durrells" and Mrs Durrell drank neat gin from a bone china teacup. She needed it though, with 4 unmanageable children! I have 4 children too... maybe I need to give it another try.

Gin definitely seems to be the drink of the moment. I'm not complaining... there is nothing quite like a lunchtime gin and tonic sitting in the sun with a beautiful view.  I was in the Knysna area recently and ordered a G&T at the Brenton Blu Hotel. It came in a beautiful glass like a cross between a wine glass and a brandy snifter.


 My sister, who is more hip and happening than I, tells me this is the new way of drinking gin. It also came with just one ice cube, very large and round, bigger than a golf ball. 


I thought it looked absolutely beautiful and I was tempted to rush out and buy myself some of these special  ice-trays, but then when I tilted my glass for the final sip of my gin, the ice ball cracked the side of the glass! So if you get some of these, make sure your glasses are up to the challenge.

While not strictly gin, I recently discovered the best thing to come out of South Africa since Nelson Mandela! The Duchess Virgin Gin and Tonic. I have introduced it to all my friends so now it's time  to share my discovery with the rest of the world.


It has no alcohol content and ... wait for it ... zero calories! It tastes so like gin and tonic that you have to keep reminding yourself that you are not drinking alcohol. It's the perfect lunch time or sundowner drink if you have to drive home afterwards, or if you need to be productive post drinks, or if you are trying to restrict your calorie intake, or just because it tastes delicious. BTW, the folks at Duchess are not paying me for this, but they really should because I am doing a great selling job! Although my one friend, Jacqui, after tasting hers, said " Mmmmm, very nice, if I could  just add a bit of gin, it would be perfect!"


It should ideally be poured into a glass with some ice and lemon, or whatever else you like to accompany your G & T, but since the packaging is so elegant, you would be forgiven for taking it along on a picnic and drinking it straight out of the bottle.

The website list of stockists seem to be based only in South Africa (although there is one little marker in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean -  the Virgin Islands perhaps?)  So if you can't get The Duchess Virgin Gin & Tonic in your country, it's just another reason to visit ours!


Of course, there is nothing quite like the real thing. The local gin's I have tried and love are Inverroche, Hope and ClemenGold. The Inveroroche Verdant is my favourite. It has a delicate floral, herbal flavour that is very appealing. I'm not so keen on the Rooibos one.  I've only tried the Hope Salt River Gin which I really like, still need to try the others, and the ClemenGold had me with the packaging, so pretty, and the gin with its citrus and cinnamon undertones, is delicious. If there are any other distilleries out there, let me know. I'm always happy to have a reason to try a new gin!


Of course when you are serving gin or drinks to your guests, a beautifully styled drinks tray or bar trolley will be much appreciated. A least, by people like me (PLM's). My husband probably wouldn't notice. 


I love this artful arrangement that NetDecor  recently brought to our attention. You can shop here  to acquire all the bits and pieces to put this together. 

Depending on your style and taste, here are some other ideas to inspire you. You could go for an abundant and opulent look like these....






...or for something simple and stylish.





Maybe a beachy look for the summer months....




...or something more tropical for outdoor entertaining.



A male dominated get together might require a more masculine feel...



...and traditionalists will probably want to use decanters and crystal.



A tiered bar cart is useful if space is tight.



Whatever your style...
your guests will appreciate the extra mile...


Happy entertaining!

Till next time

Sharon x


Images via Pinterest