After featuring in House Beautiful magazine's article on Cottagecore, the rising trend of 2020, some of you got in touch to say that you finally had a name to put to that cosy, country, made-from-scratch life that you want for yourself. So, I thought I'd dig a little deeper into what cottagecore is and how you can craft it for yourself.
The Cottagecore aesthetic first emerged on platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit and TikTok as escapist, romantic imagery capturing rural life.
Favourite themes include imagery of woodland foraging, fruit picking, tending chickens, chocolate box cottages, farmhouses and Enid Blyton-esque picnics.
UK cottagecore also has a darker edge, that borrows from Romanticism, traditional fairy tales, children's literature and Agatha Christie - it's Miss Marple meets Enid Blyton.
Cottagecore: The New Hygge?
There have been several articles heralding Cottagecore as the lifestyle trend to topple hygge. I don't really see them as different lifestyles. Both ways of life are driven by escapism, the desire to return to nature, a craving for cosiness, and a yearning for a slower, sustainable and more soulful life.
Hygge (hugh-gah) roughly translates as 'cosiness of the soul' - it's a feeling, so if living out your country cottage dreams gives you that feeling, then that's what matters, rather than how it's labelled.
The cottagecore interiors trend knits together our yearning for a more rural life with our love of nostalgia and our renewed interest in arts and crafts.
UK cottagecore has a quintessentially British feel, featuring faded patchwork, traditional crafts, Cotswolds cottages, chunky knits, tweeds, crochet, florals, vintage ware and pottery. In short, its granny-chic meets the 21st century slow living movement.
Patchwork quilts immediately conjure up images of cosy country cottages, armchairs next to roaring fires and summer picnics in farmers' fields. The scraps of colours, textures and patterns hold cherished stories and secrets of the past. From appliqued motifs, love letters stitched inside the lining or precious pieces cut from children's clothes, a patchwork quilt is a memory box in fabric form.
Use your patchwork blanket to cosy up a squashy armchair, add a comforting layer to your bed, make a blanket den for little ones or spread it on the lawn on sunny days with a book and bowl of strawberries.
In times gone by, thrifty women would often recycle odds and ends of yarn or unravel worn socks and jumpers, crocheting the scraps into small shapes that could then be sewn together to form cushions or blankets.
Beloved by many grannies, crochet's chain technique makes it quicker and easier than knitting. Rows can be counted with fingers and mistakes easily corrected, meaning those with eyes not quite as sharp as they used to be can carry on crafting.
Crochet had a renaissance in the 1970s, which is possibly why many of us have childhood memories attached to crocheted blankets, tea cosies and cushions. Like most trends, fashions are cyclical and 2020's Spring and Summer catwalks were hooked into the trend, from Stella McCartney's lacy crochet dresses to Rosetta Getty's earthy granny square cardies. The trend has gradually woven its way into our homes in the form of blankets, tea cosies, cushions and seasonal decor - hello crochet pumpkins and Christmas stockings!
Keep your teapot warn and snug with a crocheted tea cosy, create a cosy corner with oversized crochet cushions, or add small touches to shelves and mantels with crocheted seasonal decorations.
There's a soft, well-loved authenticity and warmth to vintage objects that's difficult to replicate, as if they have stories and soul. Sourcing vintage items also speaks to the magpie in us all.
One of my favourite pieces is my Nan's old pine dresser, which I stripped and painted. The paintwork is a bit chippy in places, but it only adds to its appeal.
I remember it used to hold her willow pattern china and now it holds mine - it's this golden thread between the past and the present that makes it so precious.
Look out for mismatched china, kitchenalia, rustic pottery, typewriters, faded florals, embroidery, simple farmhouse furniture, linens and quirky architectural antiques to surprise and delight.
If there's one element that will give you the cottagecore look immediately, it's woodland. It's the fairy dust that lifts a fairly conventional country scheme into something more whimsical, but like fairy dust, it needs to be sprinkled with care.
Look out for vintage school wall charts depicting botanical treasures, or homewares with motifs such as squirrels, autumn leaves, rosehips, brambles and toadstools.
If you're after cottagecore wallpaper with a Gunne Sax feel, then Swedish interiors company Borastapeter produces off-beat papers with floral and woodland themes. Closer to home, Morris and Co papers are hard to beat.
If you're going bold on the walls, remember to balance your scheme with simple farmhouse furniture and carefully curate anything on display to keep it fresh and clutter-free.
Cottagecore Lifestyle: How to Start
Celebrate each season's gifts by eating fruit and veg when it's naturally at its best. Have you ever really eaten a beautifully ripe, sweet, juicy strawberry in January? How about a disappointingly crunchy plum in June? Eating seasonally is an easy, delicious way to feel more connected to nature and the seasons, as well as being a cheaper.
Nigel Slater's cookery books are a good starting point for eating seasonally. I've recommended other good seasonal cookery books in this video.
Connect with nature
It can be as simple as spending 10 minutes outside with a cup of tea and watching the birds come home to roost as the sun sets, tidying the garden or going for a walk around your local green space. If you have more time, go on a nature walk and collect wildflowers, autumn leaves, pine cones or gnarled twigs to cosy up corners or use for crafts.
So many people sadly believe they're not artistic. This is a total myth. Every single one of us is innately creative - you only have to watch children who naturally sing, dance, play, imagine and create, to see we're born creative. It's knocked out of us along the way - so many of us have been told we're wasting our time, that other things matter more, or that we're just not good at it.
Here's the thing - when we're creative, we are the truest expression of ourselves and we immediately feel alive. That cosy, made-from-scratch life that you want? This is how you create it for yourself.
Make do and mend
Our grandparents' thrifty spirit of make-do and mend speaks to our very modern desire to live more ethically and sustainably. By reusing, repurposing, recycling and upcycling, we also help to stretch our budgets and our creativity.