Baby, it’s cold outside. So why bother venturing out? Stay indoors, indulge in some creature comforts and cocoon in style. Here are our top hunkering down tips
1. Hearth-warming fire
A cosy night in by the fireplace is the stuff of winter legends. And, if you can’t have a real fire because of local council regulations, a wood burner or gas fire with lifelike flames could be the go. Otherwise, step outside and stoke up the fire pit, meditate on that burning fire and feel the heat.
2. Make scents
Warm fragrances such as amber, lavender or vanilla will help create a welcome environment and act as an olfactory hug. Burn scented candles, use diffusers or room fragrance to set the mood. Particularly effective in your makeshift bathroom-as-spa.
3. A Netflix-ready sofa
Couches get a good workout over winter as we binge-watch our favourite TV shows, so now may be the time to upgrade the old one and get a generous sectional settee the whole family can make themselves at home on. Throws are mandatory for settees at this time of year for cosy indulgence and everyone should have their own to stop potential fights over who gets the blanket.
4. Your bathroom, your sanctuary
A long soak in a hot bath (those in the know say warm, but we like it north of that) will not only take away that bone-chilling cold it’s near guaranteed to de-stress by relaxing all the muscles in your body. Add some bath oil with a calming scent, such as lavender to step the luxury up a level and use candlelight to create a soothing ambience for your at-home spa. When you’re ready to pull the plug, wrap yourself in a warmed bath sheet.
5. And so to bed
How good is an early night on a cold and stormy night? High-thread count everything is just the tip of the iceberg. You need good sheets, an abundance of pillows to keep you propped up if you’re reading, a textural throw and good bedside lighting to avoid eye strain.
6. Loungewear worthy of the name
We may think we know loungewear thanks to lockdown, but it’s time to really up the ante and invest in pieces you wouldn’t mind being caught outside in if you somehow lock yourself out. The best loungewear is made from natural fibres such as cashmere (we’re setting the bar high here), feather-light jersey or soft bamboo.
7. Get a hobby
Take time to be still and do something as uncomplicated as reading a novel, learning to embroider, finishing a paint by numbers or try a DIY craft kit. Simple pleasures matter.
8. Seasonal flowers
Whether you grow flowers to pick for inside or you buy a bunch to arrange each week, you can’t go past the feel-good factor of flowers. Hellebores, snapdragons, stock, sweet pea and ranunculus – put simply, they bring cheer to the gloomiest of days.
9. After-dinner drink
Whatever your poison, whether it’s a cup of hot chocolate or glass of Central Otago pinot noir, make a communal drink part of your winter routine to signal that it’s okay to do nothing more than be mindful and enjoy a warming drink in a beautiful pottery cup.
10. Comfort of food
There’s a reason some things are known as comfort food. They nourish your mental and physical wellbeing. Is there anything better than a bowl of soup or a chocolate molten pudding on a cold winter’s night? There’s no time like the present to buy that cast iron casserole you’ve had your eye on.