December 2019

Laura Weir

The queen of cosy
Laura Weir distills all her wisdom about how to be comfortable, contented and snug.
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Laura Weir distills all her wisdom about how to be comfortable, contented and snug.

“I’m an 84-year-old granny!” Laura Weir says with a laugh, but if that were true, she’d be the most posh granny you’d ever met. Weir is the editor-in-chief of the London Evening Standard’s weekly magazine, a former senior staffer at British Vogue and the author of Cosy: The British Art of Comfort, a book for anyone who worships at the altar of wool blankets, rain on roofs and noses in books. (And that’s cosy with an s, mind you, as the queen intended.)

Despite her impressive resume, Weir feels like your most engaging and comfortable friend, the one you curl up with on the couch, glass of wine in hand and a movie on the television to half-watch as you laugh and chat into the night. As we settle into our Facetime conversation over the Atlantic, she’s loose-limbed and relaxed, throwing her elbows onto the table in front of her and resting her head on one hand.

“I always thought I was quite lazy, really, and I just liked staying in,” Weir tells me. “But to actually repackage it and reframe it as a cosy sensibility allowed me to draw upon a lot of knowledge that I didn’t know I had.” 

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Gift books for homebodies

This propensity toward so-called laziness seems at odds with the outward life of a busy writer and editor. How did someone with days that move as quickly as Weir’s come to write such a charming book about lying around and taking country walks?

“It’s exactly that,” Weir says, leaning in and nodding enthusiastically. “I have such a busy life. But I feel like I’ve always been the queen of cosy. When I’m not working, I’m at home on the sofa or in bed with my cat, just to switch off.” Realizing this might feel familiar to others with hectic lives, Weir wrote a column about this lesser-seen part of her life for the Evening Standard. A book publisher read the column and agreed with Weir, and the rest is warm and candlelit history.

This isn’t the first time the concept of comfort and well-being has moved to the forefront of the world’s consciousness. It would have been difficult to miss the rise of hygge, the Danish equivalent of cosiness that sparked an onslaught of books, candles and Pinterest boards only a few years ago.

Hygge is actually very authentic, and it takes a lot of effort,” Weir says, pondering the differences between the Danish and British ideas of comfort. “Nowadays, hygge has been cultured as very stylish, where I think that the British cosy has an eccentricity to it which is like a patchwork quilt.” She pauses. “And obviously there’s tea.”

“British cosy has an eccentricity to it which is like a patchwork quilt. And obviously there’s tea.”

As any cosy acolyte will attest, tea is a serious thing. “It’s about this idea of having a moment,” Weir says. “We’re all seeking those moments to have a bit of time to ourselves. When you’re making a cup of tea, that’s literally the only time that so many people have to stop, and think, and take a breath.”

Despite her packed hours, Weir is clearly in no mood to make anything in her personal life move any faster. Mentioning that she is in the process of remodeling her kitchen, she shudders at the notion of adding a convenient hot-water tap. “What’s so wrong with filling a kettle?” she says.

One of the largest trends over the last few (politically fraught) years has been, in essence, to retreat back to our dens and wrap ourselves securely in blankets, burrowing away from the outside world—cosiness as anesthetic. “The more turbulent the climate, the more we seek solace in the things that we can control,” Weir says. “Whether you look at the political climate in the U.S. or back in England with Brexit on the horizon, certainly the sentiment moves away from risk-taking and towards wanting reassurance.”

But cosiness isn’t found only in solitude. There’s often a relational quality to it, a desire to share that safe space with the important people in our lives. Weir shares her space with her young daughter, trying to re-create for her the sort of simplified childhood Weir had. “My parents were never preoccupied with what other people thought. They never kept up with the Joneses. My memories are very much just being with my mum and my dad and my sister, camping and going sledging, and there always being a fire on. Probably because we didn’t have central heating!”

Cosiness may seem like a light and frivolous concept, but it offers reprieve from worries about an uncertain future. As Weir so gently reminds us, cosy is being in the moment, enjoying everything that remains precious and beautiful about life and sharing it with people we love.


ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our review of Cosy.

Author photo © Gabrielle Cooper

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ISBN 9780062948168

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