These Atlantic storms that keep on battering Britain are bringing some terrible wintry weather our way. It's grey, damp and chilly out there and the school run is proving to be a bit grim, especially when the threat of snow hangs over our heads. I am consistently fearful that the heavens will open and dump their white stuff on the 3 miles of narrow, winding country roads I have to take to get Freddy to and from school. It's a scary prospect, and I am forever grateful that I have winter tyres on my car. I am a bit of a worrier so I also keep a tealight and a box of matches in my glove compartment - apparently it can keep you warm if you get snowed in. I also have a foil blanket and a supply of water (I've done that ever since watching Cujo!) so I am prepared for any unexpected blizzards.
With winter doing its worst to freeze us to the bone, one of the best things we can do is get out our woollies, wrap up warm and do our best to stay cosy in spite of the elements. I love winter clothes. The bigger, the baggier the better! I have a big collection of oversized, chunky knit jumpers and I regularly 'borrow' something from Ian's collection of super cosy men's cardigans that are my defence against the winter months. I like nothing more than to pull the woolly fabric around my body and feel like I am being enveloped in a big, warm hug. My winter clothing colour scheme is a palette of greys, fawns, blacks and browns. (Not that much dissimilar to my summer wardrobe colour scheme if I'm very honest - I clearly have a very predictable attraction to dark and muted tones!)
Being thrifty, I am not one to leave the central heating on 24/7, in fact my older girls mock the fact that my house is sometimes a bit on the cool side. They both live in flats that are always incredibly warm, anyone would think that they were cold blooded. Me, Ian and the two little ones are acclimatised to the temperature we maintain at home, but my big girls do moan about it. My mantra is 'if you're cold put on another woolly jumper and snuggle under a blanket'. I think it's much nicer to get snuggly that way...and it doesn't cost any money!
Comfort food is a big part of coping with this season. But the consequences of indulging in lots of stodgy, carb laden meals does not go well with the newly made annual resolution to eat healthier and lose weight. To satisfy my desire for tucking into warming, comforting meals, whilst not breaking any resolutions, I make big, hearty stews with red lentils and root vegetables topped with wholemeal, seeded cobbler; homemade apple crumble sweetened with maple syrup and fortified with oats and smoky Quorn chilli packed with beans and veggies served with cauliflower rice. They all taste seasonally delicious, while being totally nutritious. Guilt free comfort.
In winter, it is good to get out and get some exercise, especially if the sun is making one of its rare appearances. It is all too easy to stagnate at home and dream of hibernating, but to get some fresh air and blow away the cobwebs is really good for the soul. All you need to do is wrap up warm, grab your wellies and head out for some family fun. Going for a brisk walk out in the countryside is a great way to get the heart pumping. Having a ramble in the woods or a play in the park is energetic, fun and free. A great antidote to the excesses and lethargy of Christmas that gets the kids away from their new technological devices and gets me away from the left over Christmas chocolates.
We may complain about January and the wintry weather, but it definitely has its good points. The new year gives us all the opportunity for a fresh start filled with optimism and determination. It's the month when all the good TV shows come back on, so I'm happily rewelcoming American Horror Story, Scandal, Broadchurch and the Undateables into my life. We get to buy next Christmas's presents, wrapping paper and decorations in the January sales, saving a load of cash and getting ourselves super prepared in advance. And, as previously mentioned, we get to legitimately enjoy wearing our snuggliest winter woollies and steal our husband's cosy cardies!
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