Happiness, Home and Hygge

Hygge who? 

It’s almost the official start of winter and in these chilly, dark months some find it hard to maintain their cheerful summery attitude and slump into these groggy, drizzly days with a harsh case of the winter blues. But here at Portlebay we like to see winter as one of our favourite season. Why? you may ask- because it’s the perfect time for a lil hygge!

Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a phenomenon that has been blissfully introduced to us by the Danes and captivates their obsession with cosiness and contentment. Hygge isn’t as much a physical thing as it is about the way you feel and is most commonly described as a feeling or moment that is charming, special or cosy.  Hygge can be embodied through candle lit rooms, mindful moments, good books, campfires with friends and taking life one cup of tea at a time.

For us there’s no better way to spend the winter than snuggled up with a bowl of popcorn watching our favourite movie, tucking into a sweet packet of Cinnamon swirl popcorn whilst playing a board game on a rainy day or making pretty decorations for the Christmas tree out of this tasty snack!

According to the telegraph news paper the countries that are most devoted to the hygge lifestyle (Finland, Denmark and Norway) are the top three happiest countries in the world! England is humbly placed at number nineteen in this list, and whilst that certainly means we aren’t miserable we believe there’s a thing or two we can learn from slowing down, enjoying the present and soaking up a little more hygge.

With this in mind we decided to kick of this beautiful frosty season with a hygge inspired blog post, influenced by a few quotes that truly promote that hyggelig feeling!

Here’s some tips on how to plan your very own wintery hygge weekend! After all weekends away are the best way to create hygge memories which are simply worth their weight in gold (go on, give it a try!).

Step 1 -C’mon lets get Hygge with it! 

First of all, to fully indulge in hygge, you have to take a step back, grant yourself some time off work and choose a weekend to get away from all the hustle and bustle of your every day life. Planning a weekend away is a wonderful process in itself. There is something truly satisfying about the little spark of excitement you get from finding the perfect venue and contemplating all the fun things you can do there (for us this involves dreaming about the large amount of popcorn eating that will take place- YUM!). Looking for a location ripe for hygge means you want somewhere rural and relaxed where an opportunity for campfires, long walks or log burners is a definite possibility. Saying this however, it is arguable that hygge is less about where you are and more about who you are with. Therefore, ensuring that a few candles, board games, books, tasty snacks and good friends are on your packing list means you cant really go wrong!

hygge quotes 1

Step 2- A little means a lot

A hygge weekend is all about doing wonderful little things with the people you love and all the little ways you let the people around you know you love them. For this we would recommend cooking meals together or lending your cosiest jumper to someone who forgot theirs (There’s always one!). Here are a few other perfect little hygge gestures-

  • Making friendship bracelets.
  • Putting fluffy socks on the radiator to warm them up before you all put them on.
  • Bring someone coffee in bed in the morning.
  • Baking some sweet treats to enjoy after a long walk.
  • Reading a book out loud together (we would recommend something spooky or a childhood favourite!)

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Step 3- who’s up for an adventure? 

Nothing quite screams cosy and content over the feeling of stumbling back into a warm house after a long walk on a crisp winters day.  The way the warm air hits you in the face and turns your cheeks rosy and gets your mouth watering for a delicious hot chocolate is simply perfect! The best way to find a beautiful countryside romp is to look up the local area online or pick up some local hiking brochures! Picking somewhere with pretty views and preferably a couple of pubs along the way makes the adventure even better. However, no matter how long and lovely the walk will be the best part is getting home and collapsing onto the sofa; achy feet, red nosed and above all happy.

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Step 4- the realisation

So by now the question you are probably asking is ‘how will i know if i managed to achieve a hygge weekend?’. This daunting question is one that you shouldn’t let press to heavily on your mind, after all the aim is to relax, slow down and be comfortable in your surroundings not spend the whole time worrying if your hygge enough! Either way here are a few bench marks that we tend to go by;

  1. You will feel truly cosy to your very core.
  2. You’ve made memories to last a life time.
  3. Your loved ones feel just that little bit closer to you.
  4. You’ve never felt more grateful for the little things in life.
  5. you’ve eaten your body weight in popcorn.
  6. And you feel like you have truly had a well earned break!

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What to pack for the perfect hygge weekend 

  1. Cosy Socks
  2. Candels
  3. Books
  4. Board games
  5. Lots (and lots) of popcorn
  6. Comfy clothes only!
  7. Fluffy blankets
  8. Comfy walking shoes
  9. Plenty of warm hats, scarfs and jackets
  10. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate (and mini marshmallows if your really cheeky)
  11. Essential toiletries (forgetting this would make a stressful weekend)
  12. Face packs, hand cream and bubble bath bits for a DIY spa night
  13. One or two good movies
  14. Craft materials
  15. Recipe book

Sources:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/discovering-hygge-in-copenhagen/eight-ways-to-be-happier/

https://www.hyggelife.com/blogs/news

The Portlebay Team go to Clip n Climb

In an attempt to start the year right our Portlebay team decided that we would chose an active and energetic team building activity. Living in beautiful Devon, surrounded by beaches and water based activities, our team couldn’t quite reach a consensus to jump in the water during this cold, drizzly winter period, and so, we decided Clip n Climb was the perfect group activity!

 

 

If you aren’t familiar with Clip n Climb then you certainly need to be! A bright and colourful world of climbing challenges, which although has been designed for the youngsters of today, is a truly great and enjoyable challenge. With over 30 climbing walls and obstacles to chose from and more than 35 Clip n Climb centres in the UK, this really is something we would recommend for all adults and kids (even if you don’t have little ones!). If you are also looking for a holiday activity when abroad look out for Clip n Climb, as the centres which started all the way over in New Zealand, are now all over the world! Ohhhhh, cool!

Our team pulled on our favourite Portlebay tops, laced up our trainers and very excitedly headed to Clip n Climb. Once we arrived we were greeted by the marvellous array of colours and very friendly smiling staff! After a quick briefing, we hopped into our harnesses and were let loose! Straight away there was an intense air of competition between all of the staff. We battled against each other on the timer, speed wall, the see-through, Face To Face wall which allows you to see your component on the other side and the ultimate, The Stair Way to Heaven. The Stair Way to Heaven (in the picture below) was our favourite climb.

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Stair Way to Heaven

Although it was a climb that only one person could do at a time, we each watched and cheered each other on, as we conquered the very intense green poles. One by one we took a deep breath and marched (or bum shuffled) our way to the top pole, where you then have to jump down to be reunited with the floor.  This really highlighted who was a brave Portlebay warrior and who was… less of a warrior.

As you can tell we all had such a great time, even those that were a little unsure at first, and we will definitely be returning to improve our climbing skillz.

Christmas Eve: The Final Portlebay Advent Competition!

The final competition of our Portlebay Advent is truly something not to be missed! Day 24, along with a box of Portlebay Popcorn, is offering two vouchers for Fistral Surf School AND a £100 voucher for the clothing company Joules! OHH LA LA! If you want to be in with a chance of winning this magnificent prize head on over to our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and follow the instructions!

Here’s a Little Bit of Information About These Two Lovely Brands….

Fistral Surf School

As we are very lucky and live in Devon, we are surrounded by many beautiful beaches! Although the beach is normally a sunny destination, a winter beach is just as charming and many of us popcorn-enthusiats visit all year round! We even have some wild members of our team that have no reservations about jumping in the sea and will spend a couple hours splashing about on surf boards! (Others prefer to just spectate and keep warm in our woolly hats and gloves!)

With our love of the beach in mind, we are absolutely thrilled that The Fistral Surf School have partnered with us! UntitledFistral Beach is the undisputed home for British surfing with its big sandy beach and famous waves. Sitting at the top of the beach is Fistral Beach Surf School, a family run business that has its doors open all year. The school offers surf, bodyboarding and stand up paddle boarding coaching to all ranges of abilities and ages. Their dedicated and friendly team have over 20 years of experience, and strive to provide professional coaching. All equipment has been carefully handpicked, providing the best quality possible to ensure that you have maximum satisfaction and all equipment is included in the lesson prices. Open all year round, the surf school and hire centre has all the equipment to keep you stoked and toasty no matter what the Atlantic Ocean throws at you, from toasty summers to frosty winters the hire centre has you covered.

Joules

Joules, the very lovely clothing company that is all about family and colour, started over 25 wonderful years ago when Tom Joule started selling clothing at country fairs and events. As our Portlebay Poppery is located in a rather rural part of the country and we looooooove the countryside life, we have to admit Joules is a big YES from us!

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Joules Clothing

The brand have created bright and typically British clothing for all family members (including dogs!) and today they have even expanded to home and footwear!

Don’t forget to enter our last Christmas Competition on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, oh and…HAPPY CHRISTMAS FOR TOMORROW!

As Sweet as Sweet Cecily’s

The very wonderful Sweet Cecily’s have kindly partnered with us for Day 16 of The Portlebay Advent Competition! If you haven’t yet heard of this lovely brand then we do urge that you have a little peak at their website here! For a chance to win this competition, head over to one of our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and silly follow the instructions!

Some more about Sweet Cecily’s…

Sweet Cecily’s is a pioneering natural skincare company specialising in the personal touch. Their unique formulas and flavours have been largely generated by suggestions made in forums on social media sites.

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The Sweet Cecily’s Prize!

The project is part of an existing family run business which researches and manufactures herbal medicines, this experience in the field has helped brother and sister duo Cecily and Hugo to develop a truly natural and handmade range of skincare products.

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The Sweet Cecily’s Team

The concept has been built in a truly collaborative way with their customers and it is hoped that by doing this, Sweet Cecilys’ can become an exciting and interactive brand shared and guided by the people involved.

They believe in using only the best natural ingredients and as such, all products are free from Parabens, Petrochemicals, Harmful Preservatives and SLS!

Don’t forget to enter The Portlebay Advent Competition and GOOD LUCK to you all!

Portlebay Hot Chocolate Recipes (seriously good!)

Winter is the time for hot chocolate. It’s cold, we all like chocolate treats and we love being a big kid from time to time! So, we took the time to experiment with some Portlebay Popcorn inspired hot chocolate recipes and they were delicious! Have a read below, experiment and pop us a message about your hot chocolate experience! (It’ll be yummy we promise!)

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with a Splash of Rum, inspired by Lightly Salted Portlebay Popcorn 

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Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

You will need:

  • 25ml of spiced rum
  • 2 tsp dulce de leche or thick caramel
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 75g milk chocolate chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Whipped cream to serve

(serves one)

Step 1: Mix the rum and dulce de leche in small bowl, until they are smooth.

Step 2: Warm the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it starts to simmer. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and pop in the chocolate, stir until the chocolate has melted.

Step 3: Pop the saucepan back on the medium heat until warm and then add the rum mixture along with a pinch of sea salt. Pour the chocolate goodness into a mug and add the whipped cream and raspberries!

Alcoholic Raspberry Hot chocolate, inspired by Very Berry Portlebay Popcorn 

chambord
Alcoholic Raspberry Hot Chocolate

You will need:

  • 250ml milk
  • 140g of dark chocolate chopped
  • 100ml double cream
  • 25ml chambord
  • Whipped cream, jam and Raspberries to serve

(serves one)

Step 1: Add all ingredients excluding the Chambord, whipped cream and raspberries to a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the chocolate is melted.

Step 2: Once the chocolate has melted continue to stir, as the mixture should thicken. Then add in the Chambord.

Step: Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream, jam and raspberries.

Chilli and Cinnamon Hot chocolate, inspired by Cinnamon Portlebay Popcorn 

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Chilli and Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

You will need:

  • 250ml milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 150g milk or dark chocolate chopped
  • whipped cream to serve

(serves one)

Step 1: Heat the milk and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over a medium heat, for 6-8 minutes or until boiling. Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse.

Step 2: Strain the milk into a clean saucepan and discard any captured solids. Heat again over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until hot (don’t boil). Then reduce the heat to a lower temperature and add the chocolate. Stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted and add the chilli powder.

Step 3: Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream! YUM!

 

 

How to Beat Those Winter Blues

Although winter is the fun and festive period of Christmas (EEK), yummy food, cosy nights and delicious hot chocolates, winter can make us all a bit down and miss those wild summer adventures! So, we have some handy tips to keep you (and us!) as chirpy and cheerful as possible!

Keep active

Although it’s super tempting to snuggle up and indulge in those tasty treats, getting out and about, and running around (walking works too!) has proven to raise spirits and keep us happy, happy, happy! Not only does staying active reduce stress, anxiety and depression, it also helps us with weight loss too- woo!

Here are a few fun ideas to get you moving:

  • Get walking and enjoy the crisp winter season
  • Convince your friends to get involved and do some fitness classes together- get competitive
  • Jump into the swing of Christmas and take to the skating rink- Ice Ice Baby
  • Remember that everything counts- run up those stairs, walk to the shops, have dance and a jiggle while the kettle is boiling
  • Get your family involved and go on a mini adventure- Castles, beaches, National Parks
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Getting involved in a fitness class at our local Super Tramp!

Make sure you spend time your friends and family

The winter is typically a time that you spend with your nearest and dearest, they know how to make you smile and will brighten your day! Socialising has a super positive effect on mental health, so get chatting over a good ole cuppa!

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Take up a new hobby

Taking up a new hobby can be a great way to keep you busy! If you choose something creative you could even busy yourself with making your friends and family Christmas goodies- cards, decorations, cookies, wreaths, there’s so much to make!

If you aren’t the creative type perhaps look to get involved with a sport. Team sports are great and there lots of sports that aren’t only for the summer periods!

Eat Happy Foods

Before the times of flicking a switch to heat up our homes and the wonderful technology we have today, keeping warm was far more difficult. As we have evolved and can keep cosy all through the chilly season, we must not forget that it is super important to maintain a healthy balanced diet. Along with our wonderful Christmas treats, we also need our good old greens! A healthy diet will help prevent that winter gloominess taking over!

Here are some foods that aren’t just healthy but have also been proven to make us happier (YES PLEASE):

  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Quinoa
  • Dark Chocolate- (HOORAY)
  • Green tea
  • Apples
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Coffee
  • Oranges
  • Eggs

Checkout our blog post from September for a super healthy banana oat pancake recipe, to inspire your healthy (but still yummy) lifestyle!

Photo 29-09-2017
Our scrumptious banana oat pancakes! 

Let’s not let the grizzly winter get the best of us this year and make the most of what those cold and winter days do bring! Happy winter from us all at Portlebay Popcorn!