Woohoo! Here’s the second instalment of our interview series, A Simple Path, which explores how inspiring, creative people are doing more with less.
This month we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Erica Lee, @thehyggewife on Instagram and creator of thehyggewife.com. We are huge fans of Erica’s stunning photography and admire her commitment to living a simpler, more intentional life. Sit back and enjoy – we think you are going to love this one.
- Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
Most of what I do revolves around my life as a wife and mom. It is where my motivation and inspiration comes from every day. In addition, I am a writer, photographer, homemaker, and connoisseur of all things hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that means, in simple terms, ‘coziness’, but that I consider to be a lifestyle. I live my life around it and have devoted my blog to inspiring others to find hygge in their lives.
I haven’t always lived a simple, intentional life. However, one day a year ago when I was exceptionally overwhelmed I began reading about hygge. Everything about it just really resonated with me. For me, it wasn’t just tea cups and blankets – I learned to build a lifestyle upon it.
I then started my Instagram @thehyggewife. Being the wife of a Norwegian (the word ‘hygge’ is Danish but originated in Norway), the name The Hygge Wife became my online journal for documenting our lifestyle. I aim to inspire others to also look for cozy moments, find meaning in the little things, and live more intentionally.
If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass onto your younger self, what would it be?
I have always been kind of an old soul. I love white and grey and, growing up, that was seen as kind of weird (though funnily enough it is now an appealing color scheme). I love to write more than anything, and I love to take notes! I’ve finally realized that it’s okay to be myself. I’ve always been interested in a simpler way of living, and I’ve always been afraid of how most of the world would view that (even now, I often get comments like, ‘Simple living? But why? You’re still young!’). However, when I finally found hygge and decided to build and document a lifestyle around it, I learned that there will always be those that don’t understand, but so many who will. No matter how ‘weird’ you think you are, there are people out there like you, waiting for you open up and make them feel like they belong somewhere. I hope that those out there looking for a simpler lifestyle will feel like they’ve come home, when they happen upon my feed or website.
What is it about the simple life that you find appealing?
When you live more simply, you feel more deeply.
I don’t know of a better way to explain it. Living with less allows us to slow down, consider, come to terms with things we may have been neglecting or work on things we want to improve. We can focus on what matters, we can realize that we don’t need to always have ‘the next best thing’ in order to feel good about ourselves. When we eliminate the unnecessary things, we can take the time to serve others, strengthen our friendships, feel more connected with our children or significant others, and follow our passions.
How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
I wish I had better advice for this one! It can be hard to find a balance, because you want to capture your ‘real life’ for your audience (and for yourself), but you also want your images to look good. I would say, just get into the habit of taking your camera with you wherever you go and get quick at using manual mode. That way, in a beautiful moment, you can snap the picture quickly and then get back to enjoying that precious moment.
Who inspires you?
Kim Klassen. Oh gosh. What can I say?! Kim has been my biggest inspiration as I’ve navigated through my creative journey. I love her theme of ‘finding stillness’, and the beauty she conveys in simple moments. Kim is also a mentor and friend who gives me great ideas and cares so much about seeing me succeed. She is an amazing photographer and entrepreneur as well.
Angie Wendricks, from @countyroadliving, lives in a simple, yet beautiful country home. She shares everyday on Instagram about her minimalist lifestyle and it is such an inspiration to me. I hope to one day achieve the level of simplicity that she conveys.
My husband: He pushes me to keep striving and never to doubt myself.
My baby: He finds joy in the littlest things, like touching my hair.
What are your essential homeware items/things you couldn’t do without?
Candles and string lights: We have white string lights decorating our bedroom, and candles throughout the house. I light a candle at my desk every time I sit down to work, and every time we sit at the kitchen table for a meal. Even at breakfast, my son and I share our breakfast muesli and porridge by candlelight. It marks the beginning and ending of each activity, and candles help me to stay present in the moment, and let everything else melt away.
I’m currently reading ‘The Danish Way of Parenting’ (which I’ve written about on the blog under ‘Motherhood‘), and I’m also in the middle of ‘The Book of Hygge’ by Louisa Thomsen Brits.
For cookbooks, I love ‘A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in my Farmhouse’. It’s not Scandinavian, of course, but I love her emphasis on simple ingredients and finding time to cook. Another I use often is ‘Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.’
Linen bedding and table linens: Just so many linens! I love the natural and rustic look of them. We have linen bedding and napkins, and I am currently trying to sew linen baby blankets, so we’ll see how that goes...
Cake Platters: Every Friday, we have ‘Friday fika‘ at our house. It is a weekly tradition of gathering on a Friday evening, chatting about our weeks and the weekend to come, and indulging in a made-from-scratch treat. I usually bake something Scandinavian for it, but not necessarily. I love looking forward to it at the end of the week, and it is such a wonderful way to mark the beginning of the weekend, sitting and chatting and eating together.
Our shaggy rug: We have one of those giant, shaggy rugs. Not only does it provide a soft place to land, but cozy materials like this bring more hygge into the home. It has become the center of our home and is where we tend to subconsciously gather.
Nature at home: Bringing nature into our homes actually makes them feel more cozy. It gives our homes a natural element and reminds us of the wonder that lies outside our doors.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years time?
Oh gosh! So many things! Most importantly, I plan to have a bigger family, and to be raising kids to live simply and cherish each other and the outdoors. I hope that in ten years time I will be continuing to do what I love, which is to inspire others to find meaning and beauty in simplicity, and to teach them about how I’ve built a lifestyle around the concept of hygge.
I just published a guide to hygge and Nordic living on my site that is free for my email subscribers. It’s all about hygge, of course, and gives you applicable ways to ‘hygge’ in your own life. However, in the future, I would love to write a full-on book about hygge.
And I would also love to host workshops around the world on photography, writing and simple living.
Thanks so much Erica! It has been a delight to dip into your world, and we look forward to following your adventures with hygge in the future.
Let’s face it – planning a dinner is great, but preparing for it takes a lot of time and effort. The most terrifying and excruciating work that needs to be done before the dinner party is to iron your tablecloths and dozens of napkins. If you are having tough time ironing, maybe you are doing it wrong. When done properly, this work actually doesn’t require a lot of your energy and the results can be quite astonishing – neat lines, no mess at all, that’s how tablecloths should look.
Create a vintage-inspired table setting perfect for afternoon tea with beautiful natural linen textiles from beautiful LinenMe collections. Offering everything you need to create a truly inspiring spread, from tablecloths and napkins, to decorative runners and placemats, LinenMe is the place to go for superior quality fabrics at pleasantly affordable prices.
Quality linen napkins are an essential part of a tasteful setting of the table, whether it’s a casual weekend breakfast with s spouse, a festive dinner or some stylish party for friends. Sizes and designs of linen napkins have varied greatly over the years and today we have a huge assortment of linen table napkins available.
The function of table napkins is very simple – they are meant to wipe food and drink from the mouth, and they also can be used as a protection for clothing while eating. Napkins – and especially linen napkins as they are extremely absorbent – are also used as coasters when serving a drink, or serve as a dishtowel to soak up small spills of liquids at the table.
As we all probably know well – linen fabric or weave is produced of fiber of the flax plant. Its softness, natural origins, durability and strength, as well as its antifungal and antibacterial properties are the reasons linen fabric is loved by its fans for. And of course there are various types of the linen fabrics – distinguished from each other by the texture and weave pattern.
Damask linen fabric is a type that is woven on a jacquard loom, using a mix of plain and satin weaves. The fibers most often are flat and reversible, and therefore damask fabric has a smooth texture with a reversible pattern. To make the design and pattern stand out, damask usually comes in one color and is usually used for linen napkins, linen tablecloths, linen table runners and other home textile pieces.? A variation of damask is a Venise linen fabric. It is very finely textured and characterized by large floral patterns.??
If you use, like we advice, your linen tablecloths and linen napkins in your daily life and do not save them for special occasions, of course there is a need to wash them periodically. Although it is not a tough task, washing linen tablecloths and napkins properly requires being careful in order materials and methods used would not compromise the integrity of the fabric.
To most, the ideal linen closet is the one you can see everything at a glance and find exactly what you want in a moment. Making your closet orderly is easy – just as sorting, folding and stacking. Here I present some advices and steps how to achieve this in minutes. So, read this and head on to where you store your cotton or linen bed linen, towels, tablecloths and other home textile.
It seems everyone decorates their surroundings during Christmas. We all want our house or yard or windows are decorated with Christmas lights, we all decorate Christmas trees and mantles and place lots of candles everywhere. But what about the dining room? Are your best table linens ready? Would you like to purchase something new? Or will you match your old favorite linen tablecloth with new linen napkins?
It’s crystal clear – if you want your Christmas dinner guests feel the holiday season mood immediately upon entering the dining room, you have to prepare your dinner table thoughtfully. And your table linen are there to help you. Decorating beautifully the table for Christmas dinner is a perfect way to make the day even more festive and memorable.
Why to write about linen napkins? For us they are a symbol of revival of true things and values. The world is dominated by cheap fast food chains, people do not have time to sit and enjoy meal. To oppose that true values are coming back. We want to reclaim real, slow dinner, the dining room table, real beautiful plates, real tableware, real cloth napkins and other real accessories. More and more people are returning to slow enjoyable mealtimes and also to stylish table linen and functional dining room decor! Moreover – growing numbers of people are looking for eco-friendly living solutions; paper towels and napkins go out of fashion while linen napkins come in.
Tables at our homes are the functional pieces of furniture that are used to eat meals, keep things etc. But apart from that they are elements of our interior design and bare tables not always look good. A beautiful good quality tablecloth is essential for a pretty looking table. And when we say “beautiful good quality tablecloth” we of course mean a linen tablecloth. Tablecloths are not only a piece of cloth to cover the top of the table but they also are an important detail of interior design. They create cozy and welcoming atmosphere in the room.