Once the December festivities have passed, the endless cold months certainly feel like “Always winter, never Christmas”, to quote Mr. Tumnus from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I have a habit of always looking forward to the next season: in Summer, I long for falling leaves and jumper weather, and as soon as January rolls around I’m desperate for Spring to bloom. In Scotland, the chilly reality is that this is still some way off. In the spirit of this week’s cold snap and of trying to be a wee bit more mindful, I thought I’d put together a list to remind myself some of the lovelier things about Wintertime.
1) Getting cosy: when it’s cold outside, I love nothing more than making the house as snug as possible – stockpiled throws, blankets and plenty of candles (The White Company’s ‘Winter’ is my favourite). I like to layer up my vintage St. Michael bed cover with my favourite tartan Laura Ashley throw (very kindly c/o) and plenty of cushions. Fluffy socks are also a must (is it just me that permanently has cold feet?).
2) Baking up a storm: this is an obvious one, but there’s no greater comfort than getting cosy in the kitchen and whipping up a homemade sweet treat when it’s cold outside. This year, I’m trying to expand my bread repertoire – the latest experiment being ciabatta, pictured in the lead image. There’s a magic about bread baking that’s hard to beat; it forces you to wait, to slow down – a longer prove making for a tastier loaf.
3) Cold, crisp, sunny days: it seems in the last few weeks we’ve had endless, miserable, dark grey days. When a properly frosty day comes along – as the first one in a while did this week – it reinvigorates my love of Winter; the roofs of the tenements opposite glittering with frost, and the crunch of icy leaves beneath your feet. I love nothing better than a bracing Winter walk, especially with a flask of something to keep warm, and sunrise and sunset on a frosty day are often extra special.
4) Winter decor: the festive season may be over, but I still use the Winter months as an excuse for abundant fairy lights, lanterns, candles and soft lighting. You have to cheer up January somehow! My Mum got me these gorgeous copper wire fairy lights pictured below, and I’ve kept out a couple of sets that have currently taken residence under my vintage-style bell jar (via TK Maxx) for a Wintry mantlepiece feature.
5) Crafternoons: when I have the time, I love nothing more than an afternoon spent indoors crafting – and wet and wild days are the perfect excuse to get out the sewing machine or practise calligraphy! Here is my post about how to make your own cushion cover and these DIY tissue paper pom-poms are simple yet satisfying to make. There seems something extra therapeutic about making something at this time of year!
6) Winter weekend breakfasts and brunches: I am something of a porridge fan, but after months of the stuff, in the holidays I got a wee bit more experimental with wintry breakfasts and brunches. New favourites include apple, date and cinnamon baked porridge (via Deliciously Ella) and Ottolenghi’s Shakshuka (below), both subtly spiced and warming.
7) Hot beverages: continuing the foodie theme, I’ve been experimenting with different warming drinks too. Homemade hot chocolate, made with melted chocolate and your choice of flavours tastes so much better, and I recently tried making my own chai with leftover tealeaves. It’s so simple: boil together half a mug of milk and half a mug of water with the contents of two leftover teabags, a pinch of cinnamon, 3 bashed cardamom pods, sugar if you take it, and a grating of nutmeg and fresh ginger (recipe via Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Love Your Leftovers).
8) Winter layering: it’s no news that I prefer the autumn/winter fashions – I just do; I think it comes with the territory when you can be wearing your Winter coat from October to April! I love layering especially: a roll neck under a vintage frock, Winter textures like faux fur, bright woolly coats and the excuse to wear a hat and my favourite Hilary Grant mittens.
9) Exploring new places: in Winter it’s extra fun to explore new places on your doorstep – whether seeking out the prettiest doors in the neighbourhood, a new part of a familiar place or finding a new coffee spot for your caffeine fix. I loved exploring Duddingston Village recently and I’ve got a couple of posts coming up about some new favourite café and brunch spots, perfect for taking sheltering from the Winter chill.
10) Nature: although the branches are still bare, there’s a stark beauty about Winter. I love the contrast between wooden branches and bright Winter berries, and the eeriness of a forest covered in frost. Plus, Winter means that Spring is on its way: okay, okay – I know I said it was about living in the moment, but hear me out! One of the best parts of Winter is spotting the first signs of Spring emerging from the chill; after all, snowdrops are happiest in the cold and the contrast between a cold day and blooming buds is magical.
Most images via my Instagram – you can follow me @everythinglooksrosie.
Do you love Winter as much as I do? What are your favourite things about the season?