Photography: Angus Fergusson | Story: A Festive Toronto Home Boasting a Cottage-in-the-City Vibe
Everything you need to know about 2019’s big lifestyle buzzword
A few years ago, the Danish concept of hygge was everywhere. Pronounced “hoo-gah,” it promised that the secret to happiness was found in coziness, chunky throws and the liberal consumption of treats like kanelsnegle (cinnamon buns to us non-Swedes).
In 2019, however, there’s a new claimant to the True Contentment throne: Coorie. It’s a Scottish concept that hews closely to hygge in a lot of ways, but is subtly different, and might help fill in some gaps that perhaps the Danish didn’t quite fill. (And no, it’s not just exchanging your Cos knit for a tartan blanket scarf).
To help us parse the nuances — and offer some practical ways we can all bring a little more coorie into our lives — we chatted with Gabriella Bennett, a Scotswoman who not only lives this concept daily, but literally wrote the book (called helpfully The Art of Coorie) on the subject.
Style at Home: First things first: What is the correct way to even say “coorie"?
Gabriella Bennett: It's pronounced COO-rie!
What's the quick definition of coorie?
Coorie is about drawing inspiration from what's directly around you to live better.
How is this different than hygge?
It's my understanding that hygge pursues happiness through candles, coffee and togetherness. Coorie seeks to make the most of what comes from Scotland to feel satisfied. It is more than simply being cozy. Sure, it's linked, but it's also about working out how to be in tune with our surroundings to evoke that feeling. The new coorie represents a way of life where peacefulness comes from engaging with our heritage and landscapes.
What does embracing coorie look like on a macro, lifestyle/mindset level?
A coorie way of life practises small, quiet, slow activities. Being coorie is about taking things back to basics where possible and living more simply.
What does it look like in everyday behavior or specific actions?
We can become more coorie by assessing our buying habits and trying to support local businesses in Scotland (or wherever one might live). Learning more about the world on our doorstep whether historical, natural or otherwise helps us to figure out our own identities too.
What do people get wrong about coorie?
That it's a middle-class pursuit for rich folk. Coorie isn't about spending money. It's about getting the most out of life by doing the opposite — by drawing energy from landscapes and people. Doing things that encourage us to put down our phones and feel useful (knitting, walking in the woods, building-spotting in the cities) is what coorie is all about.
How do you personally embrace coorie in your own life?
I love wild swimming so my coorie moments are the ones directly after plunging into a freezing cold loch when I'm sitting in my car with the heating on full, munching on my jam sandwich and drinking my flask of tea with a blanket over my knees.
Are there certain items/gear/products etc that can help us embrace coorie? Do you have any favourites?
I love my Lab6 candles, which infuse the smell of a Caledonian forest into the wax. A Scottish wool blanket, my comfiest hiking boots (a bit battered with wear now!) and my wetsuit. A balance of cozy and outdoorsy.
What is the most coorie moment you've had or thing you've ever done?
Anytime I jump in the car and put on my Art of Coorie playlist full of Belle & Sebastian and Beta Band tunes and drive up north ready for a new adventure, I feel like I'm living the coorie life to the fullest. Or waking up in the Highlands to the sun coming up and putting my porridge on the hob, ready to make the most of the day.
How do you do coorie in the concrete jungle when you don't necessarily have easy access to wild spaces — or even much green space for that matter?
Heading to your local park to do some tree ID-ing is a coorie activity. Or booking a history tour of a cathedral, learning more about the place you inhabit. Each person's perception of the city they live in and how they use it is a reflection of their own internal architecture. Finding your coorie spot — whether a favourite nook in the library or a coffee shop to while away the bad weather — is a very personal thing.