2020 will be a year that everyone remembers, for reasons both good and bad. Yes, it was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that saw many of us confined to our home for months, but it was also the year that saw many positive movements: namely fighting climate change, racial injustice and animal cruelty. These overarching campaigns were largely shared through social media, which was the only means of connection for a lot of us. However, smaller ripples, more to do with the individual, were also making their way through the Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr channels. One of them was, and still is, ‘cottagecore’.

Cottagecore came onto the scene in 2018, as a social media term that described slow, off the grid living, countryside aesthetics and an overall nostalgic yearning for the simple life. It’s easy to see why, when lockdowns were implemented around the world, cottagecore’s popularity exploded in 2020. The idea that staying at home and embracing an older, more leisurely lifestyle was good for your mental health and also attainable was very appealing to people shut up indoors.  This movement has it's roots in a fight back against capitalism and as such aims to promote the ideas of simpler living. From fashion to exercise getting back to nature is at the fore. 

Accessing this way of life is definitely harder for some than for others. A Friends of the Earth ordered survey showed that 1 in 5 people in the UK don’t have access to a green space near to where they live. This generally affects people living in built up areas, where the tranquil scenes of thatched roofs, vegetable patches and woodland walks are literally miles away. But the beauty of cottagecore as an online ideal means you can have a little patch of the country life wherever you are. A seed gift box delivered in the form of a birthday gift box can be just the thing to introduce some nature to a small balcony or window box.  The benefits of tending flowers and gardening in general are well known.

Cottagecore has grown as a way of life as a response to modern living. Stripping back is what matters; good food, community and the outdoors. Maybe that’s why climate change is so wrapped up into what the movement is about. Growing food at home is growing ever more popular, and a push to save the bees has gained momentum over the last few years. Here at Ooh Box the bees are incredibly close to our hearts, which is why we have our custom made bee-loved gift box, a gift box to celebrate how we can make little changes to our green spaces, no matter the size, to help the bees along their way.

Mostly, though, the popularity of cottagecore, to me anyway, stems from a desire to pull back from the challenges of daily life and just relax. Life can be so hectic, and a huge part about slow living is slowing the mind down. Sometimes being able to send a pamper box to a friend in need is the perfect way to send a little reminder to them to slow down and take a break. Practicing Mindfulness helps to relieve the stresses of a busy life.  This can be using breathing techniques, exercise and journaling.  Sending a desk set to a friend wanting to slow down could be a wonderful gift. Another fabulous way to take your mind off things is to take up baking.  You don't need to be Mary Berry to enjoy the results, there are loads of simple recipes online and we've created a gorgeous country themed baking set to get you started or maybe you know someone who might like to give baking a go?  A great gift and something that's a bit off the norm.

The world may be opening up again, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up the little bits of stay-at-home magic we’ve found along the way!

August 11, 2021 — Julie Selby