17 January, 2008

Winter Warmers

Winter. What a season. For one, it begins with the word “win”. A season of emotional contradictions - protection, hibernation and stocking up, combined with generous good-will. A time for us all to savour the rhyming of the “there’s no need to be affray-aid” with “we let in light and we banish shay-aid”.

In early winter, planning is the new black. Cooking, parties, presents. But as the season settles in, it is time to enjoy some of it's subtler pleasures; food, snuggling down, duvet days, meaningful conversation, wool blankets, contemplation, and food.

Whilst conversing and contemplating (or snuggling for that matter), why not enjoy the heart- and soul-warming foods of winter: hot roasted vegetables like kale, brussel sprouts, parsnip and potato, as well as soup soup soup. Now before you go on a second longer thinking "BRUSSEL SPROUTS?!!" let me just say this: some vegetables are easy to love. Tomatoes and carrots? They're no-brainers. Summer vegetables are like those popular girls who wear skimpy tops with nothing left to the imagination. But winter vegetables, my, my. They’re like the smart girl in school, the one with her own sense of style: you think she’s too weird for you, you'll never understand or accept her. But when she starts talking, and you find out she’s amazing, and she doesn’t even give a damn if you like her? Suddenly, she’s leagues more attractive than skimpy t-shirt girl. ( ...I don’t where this came from. I’m just going to leave it... ) Anyway, it's all about celebrating the best of the season. (And for those times when you’re cold to the core, or not interested in my vegetable metaphors, I’ve got a staggering hot chocolate recipe to bring you back to life!)

Also, to help you “win” I’ve included my list of Winter Victories & Virtues, and some ideas and resources for making your Winter a WINner.

1. First, a health tip: Skin brushing. Do it every morning on awaking to feel re-invigorated. Skin brushing improves blood circulation and lymphatic circulation. Not only does it increase body temperature but it also improves your general immunity.

2. Make soup! (Although February is probably the soupiest month in my book, it is never too early I say!)

3. Homemade Hot Chocolate (with optional marshmallows...mmm...) I get pretty excited about it, but enough words, I’ll let the drinks do the talking. (Or is that expecting a miracle?)

4. Make sure your neck, ankles and wrists are always well covered. (Hodel does!) If these sensitive areas of the body are exposed to the cold, your hands and feet will naturally become colder too, and your whole body is soon affected. Cover them well, (like Hodel. She will send upon you a frozen, gritty, Siberian smile). Check out my fuzzy new hat (thank you D, thank you Christmas). It comes with matching mittens... I know...

5. 'Tis the season to use glitter. Am I alone in my feeling that winter is the time to utilise our crafty skills, and glitter embodies all things wintery? If I am alone, ignore me, that's fine. But I say Craft Out Winter Winner! Get out that glue stick and Go. To. Town.

6. If you are lucky enough to be in a place that has SNOW (ohhh), try this amazing wintery activity. Loosely fill a large glass with FRESH snow (no two week old snow, yuck). Pour a carbonated drink of your choice (i highly recommend Coke or Sprite) carefully over the snow in the glass, and then eat with a spoon, or drink with a straw LIKE A SLURPEE. AMAZING.

7. Brave the cold weather (bundle up!) and check out Time Out's Cozy Winter Places in London.

8. Curl up with hot chocolate, cozy blanket or duvet, and read a Wintery book (additional suggestions welcome):
- If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
- A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
- A City in Winter by Mark Helprin and Chris Van Allsburg
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- The Master and Margarita (Penguin Modern Classics) by Mikhail Bulgakov

Hooray for Winter. Win win win. Stay cozy.

PS) A picture of my Michigan street on New Year's Day...


  1. OOOOHHHHH. I want Your winter!
    Especially if it includes that too-cute-for-words furry hat!

  2. I'm actually in love with the hat.

    If you wake up one moening and it's gone.....

    it has nothing to do with me !




  4. ;o)
    um....yes miss!



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