Winter is coming and I’m quite excited as it means I get to indulge in things that are frowned upon in the summer months. Summer is a time where there are unrivalled stresses to look good and take part in certain activities – see my post http://spicenotsugar.co.uk/summer-feelings/ but in winter we can be indulgent. I like to fill the winter months with treats and luxuries that don’t even require me to leave my sofa and as a true Brit I feel I need to reward myself for enduring such cold weather until at least March!
- TV box set and long novels – Suddenly it’s ok to stay in and watch TV again as it’s dark and cold outside. Autumn/Winter is a golden time for TV with lots of gritty crime dramas hitting our screens, feel good programmes like Strictly and scary blood thirsty gore like new Walking Dead to make you double lock all your doors before settling down for the night. For £6 a month you can really plunge into box set madness and get Netflix which is worth it for the new series of Charlie Brookers Black Mirror alone.
- Candles make things smell great and feel so cosy. Yankee candles are great – worth the cash (what £15 for a candle!!) as they last ages and the smells just transport me to different places such as the Buttercream (popcorn) and coconut and lime (mojito anyone?). For me though, I discovered Woodwick candles last year after someone bought me one as a gift. www.woodwickcandleshop.co.uk Not only do they have some beautiful fireside fragrances that rival Yankee, they crackle as they burn; it’s like having a real fire in your lounge only better smelling.
- Treats in the post – I have become a great fan of sending myself little cheer up gifts to make the winter nights cosier. Hotel Chocolat offer a tasting club where you get sent a beautiful box of chocolates every month (they have some great joining offers) http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/tasting-club and have offer different options depending on taste and budget. If chocolate isn’t your thing then try Birch Box https://www.birchbox.co.uk/ where you’ll be sent five full sized beauty products each month; lovemebeauty.com offer a cheaper version but it’s quite poor in comparison. If you want a cheaper cheer up then just a simple magazine subscription to curl up on the sofa with brightens your day. Subscribing is often half the shelf price and you’ll often get free gifts just for signing up.
- Unapologetically stodgy food – Diets are off the menu in winter so have a look at some of the great recipes that involve all of the things that you’ve been frightened of all summer – potatoes, meat, gravy, pasta bakes. The best thing is, with winter bakes and casseroles you can make these kinds of meals in advance and freeze them for later occasions, freeing up your time. Another idea is to invest in a slow cooker. Coming home from work to a delicious casserole is just heavenly and what’s more heavenly is knowing you have already cooked tea and can ‘cheers’ yourself for being so clever with a glass of wine before serving up.
- Cosy clothes – It’s official that legs look better in black tights. It means you can wear your skirts shorter, not worry about tanning and generally let your self go. Things get gloriously baggier and softer. Feet are covered up so there’s no pressure to have perfectly gelled hands and feet, no strangers get to see your bikini line and people stop wearing crocs and Birkenstocks, saving my eyes and gag reflex. This year there are some fantastic tartan collections through collectif.co.uk and H&M are rocking the casual lux look in their trend collection www.hm.com
- Christmas markets – I love travelling to different places in Europe to visit Christmas markets as the cold air, smells and atmosphere is addictive. Unfortunately I’m a bit skint this year but I’ll still stretch to Winter Wonderland in London and visiting the Manchester Christmas markets that run from November into January. These both offer traditional Christmas treats such as gingerbread, German sausage and cheese stalls and mulled wine plus plenty of live entertainment.
- Glitter – everything is so much more exciting when coated in glitter and this time of year is awash with it. Pastel colour clothing is out of the window and replaced with gold, silvers and glittery lushness.
- The sights and smells – Leaf mulch is my all time favourite smell for autumn and the smells that accompany winter range from cinnamon to mulled wine to pine to street sellers cooking chestnuts. London especially smells nice in winter where as in summer all the bin bags on the streets makes the place STINK.
- Beauty treats – Even though the fake tanning and vanity summer ‘coat of paint’ type treatments dry up, I swap these in favour of some hardcore pampering to improve my skin. My recent discover are Templespa products at http://www.templespa.com/ through a friend of mine who works as an air hostess and has transformed her skin by using these. They smell delicious and make your skin feel so pampered and treated. I was always an advocate for Decleor and Dermalogica but have switched to these recently and love them. Baths become a bigger feature this time of year too. The body shop sell a miracle oil that can be used for massage, your hair or just added to your bath; just a few drops give you beautifully soft skin and the smell is amazing. It’s only £14 and a bottle lasts all winter.
- People are accepting of bad habits – Drinking wine on a weekday to warm yourself up, lying in until noon, getting a cab rather than walking, working from home with a slight dusting of snow and eating giant roast dinners are all put down to that marvellous ‘comfort’ as if we Brits need to reward ourselves 24/7 for our terribly bad weather.
Indeed every other country embraces winter but I am a true Brit in the sense that I like to reward myself for enduring it, as if keeping myself happy will add to my survival. All of the recommendations above my genuine loves – nothing I have been endorsed to talk about as a blogger so I hope you’ll adore them as much as me.