Do you Hygge?

If you hygge and you know it

Sip your tea.

Sip, slurp.

Earlier in the year I bought the beautiful book “Hygge The Danish Art of Happiness” by Marie Tourell Soderberg and I adored lingering over every single page in it.hygge in Australia

Hygge is the Danish word for finding happiness in the little things in life and it is closely linked to the idea of cosiness.

This gorgeous little book explains what is meant by the word “hygge” and also suggests a number of different ways you can include the practise in your every day life.

Given all the upheaval and change that I had going on in my  life, this was the perfect little book for me.

I immediately launched into baking fresh bread for breakfast using Soderberg’s recipe. Is there a more comforting experience than eating freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven in the morning?

I got in the habit of mixing dough together at night before bed and then simply spooning  rolls shapes on a tray in the morning and baking it.

Warm, tasty and delicious.hygge the Danish art of happiness

I also experimented with creating cosy little nooks in my house where the children and I can sit snuggled up and surrounded by things that are familiar.

I  introduced some house plants into my home following the suggestion to have a corner filled with greenery. So far they are all still alive and there is something very enjoyable about having living, breathing plants inside my home.

I do wonder about what our unique Australian sense of hygge might look like. Soderberg talks a lot about the importance of retreating somewhere warm, with candle light and blankets due to the cold weather and short days. Here in Australia of course we have lots of warm or moderate weather. We also have long days and an abundance of space and coastline.

I know for me, that lovely feeling of contentedness nearly always washes over me when I hit the road and the horizon opens up to countryside vistas.Apollo Bayroyal botanic gardens melbourne

But I think the most hygge thing that I can think of doing is to sit down with a cup of tea. Growing up, my Mum was the Queen of making tea. It was never rushed and when she made you a cup you always had her full attention. So lovely.
hygge with a cup of tea

tea is very hygge

I would also have to include sitting by the fire, baking and pottering in the garden to my list. being in the garden is very hygge

So, do you hygge?

What do you do in your home that helps it feel like a place of cosiness and comfort?


Why Kids Candy Eating is Out of Control

Does anyone else feel really annoyed and also completely powerless about the infinite amount of candy that our children consume?

FYI I use the term “candy” on purpose to represent the endless pointless permutations of hardened or jellied sugar. Delicious chocolate for instance is not included under this definition.

Today was Grandparents Day at school and my sons teacher was reminiscing with my Mum about the “olden days” where little boys and girls were gifted a great, juicy orange as their Christmas present. That’s right. An orange. As in the fruit.

My Mum tells me that back in post-war Holland, the juicy orange gift was prized and treasured. I love an orange, in fact it is one of my favourite all time foods, but this is hard to imagine.

Now isn’t it fantastic that most of us have access to enough fruit and veg to eat in Australia. I am not making a sentimental suggestion that we head back to post war rations because adequate nutrition is doing us all a big favour (understatement alert).

But I am struck by the thought that the natural sweetness of a fruit could be considered a treasured gift.

Our kids eat so much processed sugar these days in every day food items (I am looking at you yoghurt) but the “lolly” has to be the greatest offender.

So in my  sugar filled annoyance I made a little list of all the times that my kids ate candy when I didn’t want them to.

You can start with the big four. A lot of candy eating revolves around the big four.

  • Christmas. Advert calendars (1 per day for 25 days), candy canes (24 class members), visits to the big, weird, bearded guy (2) and the awful Christmas stocking. That’s just Christmas. 52
  • Easter. The hunt, the gift, the grandparent gift, the present from friends. 15
  • Birthday. Who would begrudge your sweetnums a little bit of sugar on their birthday? 10- 6 million.
  • More recently and unfortunately, Halloween. Great big bags of the stuff, dolled out by strangers or parents feeling guilty about not knocking on the doors of strangers. 12
  • Then you can add in sibling birthdays cause we all  know you can’t keep siblings from cruising the candy at a busy birthday party. 12.
  • How about school/ kinder/ friends birthday party. Even the quietest kids go to at least 4 of those a year right? 4
  • Then any teacher hoping for a shred of popularity will generally doll out the sugary stuff. So I’m thinking music, sport and designated non specific niche hobby teacher. 1 per term X 4 terms X 4 hobbies = 16.
  • Random times you actually wanted to bribe your own children with lollies. I know we shouldn’t but we all do at least once. 2
  • The time they catch you snaffling sweets from the secret cupboard and then guilt you into sharing. 5
  • Melbourne Show. School Fair. Random annual Carnival. 10
  • That friend you have who everyone loves, because she loves giving lollies to her kids. 5
  • The weary supermarket visit where you accidentally say “yes” after ten “no’s.”  Why did I just buy a bag of gummy bears? Or is that just me? 1
  • Icy-poles, come Summer, because I hate to break it to you, but they are simply lollies frozen with water. Infinity
  • Other random foods that are basically candy in disguise. I’m looking at you Cocoa Pops, some ice-creams and sweet biscuits. 12
  • Other random occasions that have become weirdly linked to lollies. e.g. the hairdresser, the GP and/ or lessons or any sort. Thankfully the dentist only gives out toothpaste. 6

Now I don’t exactly love candy, but I’m not really against it either. In fact I think there is nothing sweeter than an occasional  lolly pop. All things are fine in moderation.

It is just that the moderation bit has kind of gotten out of hand. In fact it has gone  over the top, kind of like a kid in a candy store.

I quite fancy giving my kids an orange for Christmas. What do you think?

I guess deep down, although I think it’s a great idea, I’m slightly worried that they might call the police.

So do you have this problem too? What kind of event/ place would you add to the list?

I think that this change has come about so quickly, that parents are not really prepared for it. What do you do to try and limit access to sugary lollies in your house? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Dani xx

The Ups and Downs of Running with Helen from My Home Base

Are you like me, feeling sick of reading horrible, nasty and negative news every day in the papers and online? Then join me in my love a blogger challenge. Spend a little bit of time reading some of the thoughtful, inspired and intelligent writing on offer by your favourite blogger. They probably don’t have a degree in journalism but they won’t have a Masters in Snark either. Most bloggers just write for the love of words and a desire to create something beautiful.

Today we are meeting Helen from My Home Base (one of my favourites).

Dani xx Continue reading

Why I freaking hate Freak Shakes

I love a ridiculously good food trend as much as the next person. Some years ago when all the cool kids started drinking their cocktails out of Grandma’s jam jars, I wanted in.

Like most people I am compelled toward the novel and the next in order to keep my ever dwindling attention span stimulated. Indeed chasing after the novel or the new has been shown to provide us with an endorphin kick and the resulting potential increase in the feeling of happines. Ahh. Continue reading

The day a Bento Box saved me

directory-1161965_1920Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to be working against you? Maybe you begin this special day by spilling a cup of coffee all over your white work shirt and then you quietly think to yourself “I hope this is not a sign of things to come.”

Then sometimes those little niggly bad days join together. They kind of all line up next to each other, one by one, a macabre set of Monday to Friday dominoes all leering at you with ugly faces. And no matter how much you keep standing tall, looking forward, walking straight, you just know that something is going to topple and ruin the whole horrible week.

Me either.


Of course I have. We all have right? (Walk away now if your answer is no, you are not welcome here today oh innocent one.)

Well I was having just exactly one of those days, weeks and months. A perfect Dani flavoured trifecta of misery was upon me.

Continue reading

Why Mums are to blame for everything

Nearly 6 years ago exactly, I decided to run away.

I had two beautiful children. A perfect pair to be precise. A hard working husband who was an awful lot of fun to share adventures with.

“Want to try something new?”


I had a house, a job, a few friends. I even had some rewarding community driven engagements.

“How fulfilling.” I hear you whisper.

But I wanted two more things; a baby and a trip to Italy.

I email my Mum, because that is always the right place to start.

“Mum I am thinking I might travel to Italy in September. I know that it probably won’t work, and I am not even sure that I can afford it, but is there any chance you want to come with me?”

A measly 5 minutes after I press send, the phone rings.

It was Mum, of course. (Who else still calls?)

“Yes I would absolutely love to go with you to Italy. If I can’t work out how to do it, you should go anyway. You will never regret it.

So we did go, my Mum and me. I ran away from my little family and all my responsibilities and the groundhog day routine and I travelled across Italy on a bus with a puking Canadian and I loved every minute of it.

Why Mums are to blame for everything


I am a Superman blogger.

In my “Daily Planet” job I work as a Psychologist. It is not until night time comes that I rip off that suit and let my hair fly out and emerge from the phone booth (Ok, its more like a sturdy silver Mitsubishi family car) as a blogger.

Psychology has taught me one thing (not just one, mind).

It is always the Mother’s fault.

“Tell me about your childhood?”

Well I raise you one humble life lesson, Psychology, and tell you this.

“Of course it the Mothers fault, because the Mum’s do everything.”

TM (Book soon to be released by “Tell her she’s dreamin’ publishing.”

The Mum’s are there through the thick and the thin, the good and the bad. The wiping up and the cleaning down. The building high and striking down. The BFF’s and the frenemies and enemies, the bullies and the brokers.

Mum’s are IN IT ALL.

Case in point, when I wanted to run away, my loving, adventurous mother was right there with me, both literally and figuratively.

Conversely at the saddest, lowest ebb of my little life, my Mum shone through like a Mum/ Hulk hybrid (less green version).

My Dad was dying from cancer you see and he wanted to die at home. I am not really sure that he realised what this would mean when he made his request, but eventually we all came to understand it how difficult it was going to be to grant him his wish. But my Mum, she never wavered. She looked after him tenderly, persistently, carefully and purposefully. She took him on retreat to a hippy-freak organic-fruit-wielding-health-farm and when that didn’t work, she continued the plan from her own home.

She was a hero, draped in curly brown hair and hint of fatigue and a sadness drenched aura.

She was his hero and our hero and her hero and I will forever be grateful.


Back in Italy though, Mum was chastising me or challenging me, I am not sure which one, about nearly everything.

“Just do it. You will regret it if you don’t. You only live once. ”

And so I did. I drank bubbles along the Grand Canal, I shopped on Via Condotti, I ate pizza in Piazza Del Campo and I fell asleep listening to Opera in a cold stone building in Roma.

My Mum is definitely to blame for some of that.

italy with my Mum who I blame for everythingSo if we must go around attributing blame of the “she did not breastfeed long enough” variety, let’s not forget to dish blame out thoroughly.

So right here, right now I would like to blame my Mum for a few things.

  • for cooking for me and my 5 sisters night after night, day after day, year after year, for decades.
  • for picking me up and dropping me off and buying me everything and organising a thousand small things that brought forth my future.
  • for telling me I could when I couldn’t and thinking I wouldn’t when I did (I was a teenager once).
  • for holding my hand through a lot of scary moments, only some of which occurred in childhood.
  • for the warmth and the laughter and the Summer’s by the pool.
  • for teaching me to be brave and forcing me to try new things.
  • for teaching me about loyalty by being loyalty, through and through.

There is a lot more I could blame my Mother for because, indeed, she was just there through it all.

How about you? What would you like to blame your Mother for?

Dan B with her MumAnd one last thing, Happy 70th Val! I love you.


Dani xx




Want to hear more about family life with 6 sisters?

You do for family, the sisterhood edition.

Best friends, family and moving house.

No new clothes for a year.

No New Clothes for A Year

AKA The tale of how one purple shirt started a revolution

No new clothes for a year

I stared at the contents of my wardrobe, half of which were strewn across my floor like some terrible ode to Jackson Pollack. For half an hour I had been trying on various combinations of skirts, jeans, dresses, jackets and tops, and still had not managed to hit on anything that looked even vaguely good. I threw a particularly offensive jean jacket across the room and yelled that familiar cry heard in wardrobes all around the nation:

I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!! Continue reading

What I Learned in High School

Today I am writing with a lovely group of friends over at Meet me at Mikes. Please feel free to join in and share your thoughts in the comments below.

I will never forget my last day of High School.

I am not talking about the official last day celebration where all the Year twelves “ran amok” in socially acceptable, restrained style. I am talking about that very last moment.

In fact it was probably the very first moment following the last day that sticks in my memory. Waking up with the realization that I will never have to set foot in that school yard again was gloriously intoxicating. Continue reading