Middleagedmum.com: In praise of soft


Whenever we have friends over for dinner we always end up sitting in the kitchen all night. I light the fire and lots of candles in the living room, but no-one ever quite manages to make the move from the table to the sofa. The last time I suggested we get more comfortable after dinner, my friend said “yes lets go and sit soft”. It was a term her grandma had used and I loved it.

Then at a girls dinner recently, we all turned up in track suit bottoms (on a Saturday night – it was bliss) and another friend said “I love a night out when I can wear soft” and it got me thinking about the concept of soft and why it could be a great way to live…………..

Sitting soft: A giant squashy sofas preferably velvet is key to sitting soft and one should be able to visibly sink into it. Lots of giant downy cushions and a mohair blanket are also vital in order to feel enveloped in softness. Pets (dogs cats or both) should also be allowed to snuggle up for maximum soft, or if you don’t have any pets a small non wriggly child is also quite cosy. A real fire, candle light and a glass of red wine or cup of tea are also advised.

Wearing soft: Any natural fibres particularly cashmere are vital here. My favourite soft outfit is a pair of Lucca leggings with a roll over waistband and a cashmere jumper and socks. Other essential soft items include brushed cotton pyjamas, micro fibre dressing gowns, fleecy tops and sheepskin slippers. Cashmere shawls or pashminas are also good for wrapping oneself in while wearing soft – assuming you don’t have hot flushes.

Speaking softly: The wonderful Angela Flanders told us at our Salon, when she wants to be heard she speaks more softly than usual as it makes people listen to her. This is a great idea and actually makes you feel calmer in stressful situations – plus when you do actually loose the plot, shouting works much more effectively!

Exercise soft: Enough with all the jogging and aerobics, going for a long walk, doing pilates, yoga or even just a dance round the kitchen to you favourite Kate Bush song (try not to let anyone see, as they may not understand you particular form of interpretive dance) is a softer approach to exercise.

Living softly: Means being kind to yourself and others and taking time to rest and enjoy the simple gentle things in life that don’t cost anything but make you feel good – chatting to friends, lighting a fire, having a cup of herbal tea in a bubble bath, making soup or meditating – are all great ways of living softly. Giving other people the benefit of the doubt is also a more gentle approach to relationships. If someone is acting strangely or being unkind, I intend to stop and ask myself whats going on in their life and try to work out why they’re being that way – maybe they’re unhappy and need a friend.

January and February are hard months, dark, cold and unforgiving, lets all give ourselves a break and try to live softly #livelifeintracksuitbottoms



  • Elaine says:

    thank you.

  • The Danish have a lovely word for this: ‘hygge’, which means creating a warm atmosphere (usually with candles), keeping cosy and enjoying the good things of life with your closest friends – their way of surviving those long dark winters and staying happy. ‘Living softly’ is a great expression of this – thank you. I’m off to wrap up in some cozy cashmere and light a candle or two.

  • Jane says:

    Thanks Juliette love that expression

    J x

  • Sarah says:

    Love your thoughts on living soft. What a great philosophy for the dark months, am envious that the Danes already have a word it.

  • sue evans says:

    Loving this Jane. I have to say since moving here the winter has felt long and cold — much more so than in London — and I seem to have naturally adopted a “soft” lifestyle. Snuggly has taken on a new meaning, whether it’s big soft scarves ( and they have replaced my signature necklaces — I feel naked without them ) or a blankie when watching tele. Uggs are my new Grensons ( sorry but tiled stone floors may look nice but are a killer ……..) and who knew stretchy bottoms were the way forward. Thank you Uniqlo …. Heat tech tees layers under big tunic knits and I’ve even been known to wear ( ssshhhh) a H.O.O.D.I.E ………
    I DO think it’s a general trend though. Everyone appreciates soft and comfy as a way of combatting our frenetic always “on” digital lifestyles — hence the peculiar success of the Onesie. I’ve not gone down that route I hasten to add. Uggs are one thing …………

  • Liz Shedden says:

    I love all this. When we were in Copenhagen a couple of years ago i noticed blankets outside cafes for people to cosy up in. My mother always wore soft fabrics – never anything crisp – I have followed suit. I try to create hygge at betty loves bryan. It’s cold and bleak outside but I have the candles alight and hot chocolate on the go! Keep up with the soft life!

  • Monix says:

    And the German speaking world call it “gemütlichkeit” – being cosy with a feeling of oneness ( with kaffee and Kuchen, natch).

  • Jane says:

    Yes Liz I love that blanket idea – when I have my tearoom in Southwold I’ll do that and I love the sound of Betty Loves Bryan? Jx

  • Liz Shedden says:

    Thank you Jane – if you are ever in whitstable – pop in for a cuppa and a sticky bun( good bakeries here too)

  • Jane says:

    Would love to Liz

    J x

  • Jane says:

    Sue Evans in Uggs and a hoodie confirms soft as a trend.

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