Throughout December, Stylist is inviting you to revel in the simple joy of cosiness. From finding the perfect scarf (and effectively swathing yourself in it), to planning a weekend getaway at a rustic country pub, our content over the next month will endeavor to give you that warm, snuggly feeling inside. Here, learn how to be cosy anywhere. Welcome, dear friends, to the Institute of Cosiness.
How do you create cosiness in the most extreme places? Four outdoor experts share their experiences.
IN THE MOUNTAINS
Rebecca Stephens MBE, mountaineer: “I have a ridiculously strong nesting instinct – and that’s as true in the mountains as in the Home Counties, where I live. But when the wind is blowing so fiercely that it’s a challenge to stand upright and the idea of pitching a tent is laughable, then the one survival tool left in a mountaineer’s armoury is a snow hole. I dug one at 14,000ft on Mount Denali in Alaska in 1992. There were five of us, in fleeces, down jackets, hats and gloves, wrapped up in our sleeping bags. We kept a small stove constantly on the go, melting snow chiselled from the walls to make cups of tea and hot chocolate – embraced, womb-like, insulated from a storm that raged for eight whole days.”
IN THE JUNGLE
Megan Hine, wilderness expert: “The jungle can be pretty miserable and uncomfortable – you feel wet all the time. It’s really important you waterproof the necessities by storing them in dry bags. For me that’s my sleeping bag, dry clothes and my Hennessy Hammock; it has an inbuilt bug-net over the top of it so you unzip it, climb in and zip it back up again, like a pea pod. I use my sleeping bag as a liner – it gives an extra layer. Once you have finished all your chores at night and you’ve got your dry clothes and bed to get into, it feels so, so good.”
IN THE WOODS
Eva Olsson, owner of Blackberry Wood Tree Houses: “In the woods, you lose light earlier because trees block out sunlight. We avoid using candles in our treehouses because of the risk of fire, so instead I have mood and dimmer lighting everywhere. I use orange and red tones, as the further along that colour scale you go, the warmer the glow will be. For extra cosiness, we incorporate the outdoors into the space too, for example, we use the leaves of a pine tree as a doormat. When you’re inside one of our tree houses, it feels like part of the wood, like a bird’s nest, with lots of natural branches around it. While the treehouses are properly insulated and have all the modern technology inside, there’s no doubt you feel at one with nature once the sun has set. Look outside and you’ll see you’re in the middle of a darkened forest. There’s nothing quite like it.”
IN THE SNOW
Johnny Issaluk, Inuit: “When building an igloo, I use only aqilluqqaaq (fresh) snow. It’s important that the snow is consistent in texture and not too powdery. Then, strategically stack augiksaq (snow blocks) of 2ft x 3ft x 5in measurements, so that the finished product is shaped exactly like a half orange. Once built, I light a qulliq (a traditional oil lamp) inside to melt a thin layer of snow, before shutting it off quickly for it to freeze. This seals the igloo and keeps the warmth inside.”