How to have a cosy, well winter

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Winter is the season that just keeps on giving.

It gives you an excuse to wear those fabulous boots you snagged in the Boxing Day sales, when it was 38 degrees and you were rocking thongs, shorts and a crop top.

Winter gives us the chance to get our slow cookers out, dust them off and get our slow-braised shanks and soups on.

Winter is the perfect time to take slightly longer showers, linger by the heater while having breakfast, and pull up a chair for a fireside glass of red with friends.

Winter means scarves and hot Milos, porridge and beanies. And how about those gorgeously clear, sunny but freezing winter skies?

Don’t even get me started on the beautiful late afternoon light and winter’s stunning sunsets.

The shorter days often mean flipping the headlights on when driving home from work – seriously people, put your darn headlights on once the sun starts to set. And if you’re riding your bike at day’s end, firstly, more power to you, and secondly, please, please get yourself a bodysuit made entirely of super reflective hi-vis material. I really want to be able to see you.

Gee I can get ranty quickly can’t I? Sorry about that, but really, a dinky little reflector light is not enough! Okay, breathe, regroup… where was I? Singing winter’s praises. Right-o.

Winter is my second favourite of the seasons; you probably know I’m an autumn girl through and through. Perhaps part of the reason for that is that while autumn has Easter, and falling leaves and the weather changes slowly from warm days to crisp mornings, by the time we get into winter, the days are shorter, and colder, and the dreaded lurgies we all hate seem to creep into our offices, schools and homes.

Luckily, I’ve got a few wintry tips to help keep you cosy, and show those aches, pains and lurgies the door.

First up, head to your fruit bowl. You’re going to need lemons. Yes, lovely lemons.

Sunshine in a bowl
Sunshine in a bowl

The lemon is such a happy fruit, all yellow, juicy and plump. If you’ve got a scratchy throat, whack the kettle on and squeeze half a lemon into a mug of hot water. Sip slowly and you’re bound to feel instantly better. If there’s honey lurking in the panty, squeeze some of that into your favourite mug too.

Ahhhh, sweet relief; not to mention a little lemon-y aromatherapy.

Once you are done with your hot lemon drink, whack the other half of that lemon into a chicken and get that bird roasting. A little lemon goes a long way.

The second thing I recommend may be harder to come by, but I’m convinced that it has magical powers for wintry goodness. It’s a vintage blanket, preferably one that belonged to your nanna.

I am lucky enough to have a couple of gorgeous woollen blankets that belonged to my grandparents.

Family Heirlooms
Family Heirlooms

Every winter, they come out of the ottoman where they spend the summer months. I give them a shake outside, and then re-arrange the cushions on my couch, plumping them and creating a little winter nest for myself.

All through the winter, these lovely blankets are never more than arm’s length away. Is there anything cosier than pulling a blanket right up to your chin? I think not!

Vintage blanket therapy is just the ticket. Perhaps you have a blanket that someone special crocheted for you, or was handed down to you, or that you found while roaming the antiques market on that special holiday. Maybe it’s a quilt or a throw… if it brings the cosy, it qualifies. (Polar fleece ‘blankets’ need not apply!)

Onkaparinga heaven
Onkaparinga heaven

I love this one the mostest. I love the colours in it, the weight of it and the history I feel in every fibre. I wonder whether it was a gift to my grandmother, or a treasure from her glory box (boy, those were the days). Perhaps it was purchased to cosy up my uncle’s childhood bedroom. I wonder if my mother and her sister curled up under it after school, or if it summered in a cupboard in my grandparents’ bedroom. Oh, the stories that blanket could tell.

I believe comfort comes from simple things like lemons and blankets. We don’t need the latest, fanciest thing, especially if we’re feeling poorly. We need things we know, things we can rely on to warm us up and comfort us.

And for those times when even the lemon-iest (What? That’s totally a word!) lemon drink and your cosiest blanket can’t quite do the trick, times when you’ve got a bung shoulder like I have at the moment, or an EOFY induced tension headache, you can always reach into the medicine cabinet for something to help your body over the lurgy beating line.

I’m not one to plod on, sans pharmaceuticals, when it comes to relieving pain. I’ll rest, eat extra well, I might book a visit to the osteopath or my GP, and then I’ll prop myself up on the couch, under grandma’s blanket, and let the lemon drinks, a couple of Nurofen and re-runs of The West Wing work their combined powers, until I’m feeling tip-top again. I call it the 21st century version of a Bex and a good lie down. If it was good enough for nanna, it’s good enough for me.

Winter is undoubtedly a lovely season, but if you wrench your shoulder when digging the slow cooker out of the pantry, or are laid low by a nasty winter lurgy, you may find yourself dreaming of spring time, rather than revelling in cloudless morning skies or building snowmen with the kids.

Here’s to a winter where you reach more for a cosy blanket than anything else. But isn’t it comforting to know that with lemons in your fruit bowl, blankets by your side and a well stocked medicine cabinet, a cosy, well winter is close at hand?

Here’s to cosiness, all winter long.


Hunkering Down & Keeping It Real

I’m a Melbourne girl, so I have to start with the weather – it is super windy, rainy, and cold, and feels like winter has seriously landed! The solstice seems to have acted as a starting gun, not the midpoint of the cooler months. I’m hunkering down, grateful to have a fridge and pantry that can see me through many days too nasty to venture out into.

Now, to more interesting things (I hope).

I’ve been pondering something since I’ve started this blog, and though I don’t have a neat 3 step plan or solution worked out, I thought I’d write about it, and see what you think too. Here it is in a nutshell:

When people write blogs, or books, or magazines, or do interviews on TV; whenever people hit ‘Publish’, it puts a snapshot of who they are out into the world.

As a baby blogger, my snapshot is still in the dark room, developing and coming into focus. I can see the outline of what it can be, this blog, but it is very much still in its chemical bath, under red lights.

Since starting this blog I have been so encouraged by the amazingly community that has come from the awesome Blog With Pip groups I’m part of (next intake starts in July – sign up via the link!). Without this group of women around me, urging me on, I don’t know that I’d have any momentum, or readers! When people from outside that fabulous group read my blog and comment, it blows my mind… am I getting beyond reading my essay at the front of the classroom? Really? Amazing stuff.

I feel like somehow, virtually, and spilling over into the face-to-face world, I have stumbled upon a group people forming a really fun, cute cheer squad and doing amazing hand-clappy, robotic-arms, tumbling routines, and chanting “Go-oooo Verbs!”  That is some kind of feeling. Wow.

I’ve also seen a lot of us being challenged by the ideas we hold around being  ‘good enough’ and whether we have anything to add to the blogosphere (we do!), whether we’re delusional to think anyone will read our words (we’re not!), or appreciate our art, or crafty endeavours, or agree with our points of view. To all those questions, I say this, I’m hitting publish anyway! I hope you are too.

There are challenges a plenty, from coming up with something interesting to write about on a regular basis (or irregularly, there’s no ‘rule’), to the ways we engage on social media, how much of our lives we share, what we choose to share, how we deal with negative feedback, or no feedback (that’s the worst, so if you read a blog and enjoy it, please take a minute to leave a comment!).

Then there are technical challenges – coding, widgets, themes, gobbledeegook that I still don’t understand at all, but for me the main thing is to write. To sit here at my desk, type my words, read over them, give them a tidy, and then hit the publish button.

What I know for sure is that I don’t want to be a blogger that isn’t recognisable in the real world. I really, really don’t.

Here, and in my Blog With Pip community, people tell me I am encouraging and clever and lots of other lovely, blush-y things – things that I need to hear and that boost my confidence, especially in a season that’s peppered with struggle and rejection in finding paying work. I have needed this group so much. That’s why it gives me so much joy to encourage and cheer other Pipsters on. Go girls!

And I am those things, I love to encourage people, it is kind of my life’s mission I reckon, and I love that I can think creatively, and write, and engage with people online and make people laugh and ponder stuff. I love those aspects of my who and do.

BUT they are not the whole picture. They are the snapshot.

I can be cranky, judgey, too quick to speak (and definitely to quick to comment online), rude, impatient and well, frankly, unforgiving. I have issues! We all do. Some of us keep very short records, which is admirable, and some of us lug around our emotional baggage in tattered archive boxes or faded suitcases.

I want this place, where I give you the verbs (god I love my blog’s name), to be somewhere you can come for a laugh, to read something I’m thinking about and maybe think about it after you’ve read it, to see what I’m baking, to hear about my obsession with my #favouritehuman (my niece), and most of all, to have a chat about whatever is going on in your world.

What I don’t want is to build on online persona that is some kind of facade I have to remember to keep up. I’m not saying this as a way to duck my head, peep out from a Lady Di fringe and seek compliments, truly I’m not – I am saying that I am encouraging, and clever, and quick witted, and I can be a cranky pants and a person who has uttered mean words I wish I could take back. I am a single gal, a daughter, a sister and a friend – someone who has had ups and downs in life. I am all of the things. I am working actively on some of the less appealing qualities I have in my archive box, and some of them are marked ‘DO NOT DISTURB”.

So, whether you are an L-plates, still in development blogger like me, feeling your way, or an experienced and got-it-going-on blogger reading this (eep!), heck, basically, if you are a person in this world; juggling home life, work life, friendships, family dynamics, illness, relationships, finances, the highs and lows, I want you to know that you are welcome here, in whatever state you find yourself.

Drop in, leave a comment, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram and say hi, I’m having the best day ever, or just coasting, or I’m having an absolutely shit day. We’re in this together.

This is not my place, this is OUR place.

If it’s just me tap, tap, tapping and nothing else, the publish button becomes kinda redundant.


What’s on your mind today? Who do you want to be? What’s in your archive box? How’s the weather?

Let’s chat.


Annette xx