Ok, the cold has set in, the evenings (and mornings) are dark and our gas and electric bills are about to fly off the charts from having the central heating on all.the.time…but let’s try and look on the bright side. To cheer myself up this week as the rain came drizzling down, washing the memory of *that* lovely golden summer into distant memory, I started to think about all the things I like about winter. And there’s actually quite a lot! So, I wanted to share with you…several things I LOVE about winter. Hopefully the prospect of some of them will help bring you cheer too!

Winter running: I definitely prefer running in winter to summer. Nothing makes me feel more alive and like a SUPER HERO than getting out of bed on a cold and frosty morning, pulling on my lycra and Saucony kicks and hauling my arse out running around London town. Get over the initial ‘why the f**k am I exercising in the freezing cold’ shock to the system and it’s awesome. Your cheeks glow, you can see your breath in front of your face, you sometimes get to crunch through the snow, it’s an excuse to wear snazzy (that’s right, I said ‘snazzy’) running gloves, and, if you do it at night, it feels a bit magical traipsing around in the dark – with reflective gear on of course, safety first. Then you get to recover at home with a steaming mug of hot chocolate feeling justifiably smug. Yeah, running in spring and summer is lovely and all but it’s a bit of a heat overkill. Slight overshare here – I am a sweater, so after a run in summer, I turn into a human shower and have to wring my ponytail out. Less of that from September onwards. And as it gets chilly, a good pair of running leggings is a must. I have my eye on these bad boys:  

I'm salivating over my keyboard looking at these

I’m salivating over my keyboard looking at these

Adidas Mountain Clash Leggings - make my heart beat faster

Adidas Mountain Clash Leggings – make my heart beat faster


Porridge: I can’t be dealing with porridge in summer. I love the stuff but for me it’s a winter thing. So warming and tasty, it’s like a little internal hot water bottle for your belly. And THIS is my new favourite porridge recipe, that utlises one of my favourite ingredients  – bee pollen!: BeePee’s Bee Pollen Porridge.

I use:

  • Porridge oats (gluten free if you prefer)
  • Almond milk/water
  • Bee pollen granules (about 1 teaspoon, but sometime I get carried away and chuck loads in)
  • Almonds
  • Dried dates, chopped and/or dried figs
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Chia seeds
  • Agave nectar/maple syrup/rice syrup or other sweetener of choice

Stir the almond milk/water with the oats in a small pan over a low/medium heat until it becomes thick and, well, porridgey (add more liquid it you like it runnier, less if you prefer you spoon to stand up in it). Just before you take the porridge off the heat, add the bee pollen and give it a stir so it melts down a little then whack it in a bowl and chuck all the other stuff on top. Then EAT IT, safe in the smugness that bee pollen is *RIDICULOUSLY* good for you (there’s a reason why the Greeks and Romans called natural bee pollen “the life-giving dust”). Apparently some nutritionists reckon that you could live adequately on bee pollen alone. But don’t do that you weirdo.



Romance: Winter is romantic. And I’m not just talking about coupley ‘let’s go ice-skating and hold hands then giggle together over mulled wine whilst catching snowflakes in our mittens before grabbing the ends of each others’ scarves and pulling together for a kiss to warm our chapped lips’ kind of romance (although that’s lovely too). I mean that old dude nursing a whiskey in a creaky old pub in Soho tapping his foot as Fairytale of New York dances out of the speakers, the first specks of snow spiralling out of a dark street-lit sky onto your fluffy winter coat, and then waking up to the white blanket of silence after it’s settled all over the city. Walking home along the dark streets and sneaking a peek through the cosy glow of someone’s front room, looking out of the window and having your pupils dilate over how goddamn beautiful it looks when the air is so heavy with chill it makes you want to get out there and breathe it all in. Summer does the balmy, effortless love thing, but winter brings the magic.

Snow heart


Red wine: Is better than white wine. And tastes even better in winter, especially when mulled. Mmmm. 

Scarves, hats and gloves: Winter wear! I LOVE winter scarves – the longer, wider, softer, more blanket-like the better. If they don’t wrap around my neck at least twice, I don’t wanna know. Zara are (as per usual) currently bringing a whole heap of beautiful-looking ‘come here and let me hug your neck with my cosy soft scarf-love’ specimens to the table.

Mmm scarf

Mmm scarf

mm scarf


Winter food – Roasts, stews, soups, mince pies, Christmas pudding. Winter kills it when it comes to comforting, warming dishes. Whilst I’m now predominantly veggie and try to avoid dairy, when I fancy a treat, my absolute favourite winter warmer is this sausage and flageoulet bean stew from Leon, which is deliciously creamy and cosy and has heaps of kale – aka the best vegetable in the world – in it. There’s some other amazing veg in season at this time of year too, like parsnips (drizzled in honey and sesame seeds, mmm), cauliflower (curried) and red cabbage (incredible in slaws) to mention just a few.

No wasps: Or flies.

Where do flies go in Winter Time - Joy J Smith - Nov 6th 1934

New Year: Now I’m not one for unrealistic ‘I’ll give up’ style New Year’s resolutions. But January is by its very nature the time to think about new beginnings or changes to your lifestyle for the better. Last January I sat down and wrote a list of things I wanted to achieve this year, ranging from going to the gym and growing my hair to buying a leatherjacket and making juice every morning. And underpinning the whole list was an overriding goal: Get my spark back. For various reasons, I felt like the real me had fallen by the way-side a bit and I’d stopped looking after myself and investing in my well-being. At the time I remember thinking I was foolish for writing such a lofty ambition on a life to-do list as it wasn’t just something I could tick off a couple of months later. However, what I didn’t realise at the time was that by working on all the other ‘little’ things on my list, the spark, I’m delighted to say, would come back. We’re not at the end of it yet, but for me this year has been a year of change, for the better. And that change started in the middle of winter.

Going on holiday: When it’s cold in the UK, it’s hot somewhere else in the world, and there’s little more satisfying than a winter break to somewhere where the sun shines! Australia’s not a bad option – it’s the middle of their summer there. But warmer climes can be found closer to home. Cyprus, Marrakesh and Tenerife are all pretty toasty at this time of year. Depending on your budget there’s also Barbados and St. Kitts (take me with you, yeah?)…Just try not to annoy everyone too much when you come back by moaning how it’s so cold so you have to cover up your holiday tan.

Boots: One of thing I cannot stand about summer is the parade of feet on show. I don’t like feet. My own or really anyone else’s. I only wear flipflops when I am on holiday somewhere quite hot and unlikely to bump into anyone I know. With that in mind, sitting on a packed tube in the summer months and seeing knobbly, meaty little digits bulging out of sweaty sandals and long hairy men toes lounging around in flipflops makes me feel queasy. So boots are brilliant. They keep your feet warm and everyone’s feet look better in boots. Particularly obsessed with Miista‘s range at the mo.

Miista Amaya: On my Christmas present list...

Miista Amaya: On my Christmas present list…

Going to the cinema: Summer is of course the season of outdoor cinemas, which are – weather permitting – awesome. But I also love the enclosed escapism of going to the cinema in the dark, indoors. It’s something that I feel a bit guilty doing in summer as I should probably be out in a beer garden somewhere, but cometh the winter evenings, cometh BP to the cinema. Preferably somewhere like Screen On The Green in Islington, The Ritzy in Brixton or The Electric in Notting Hill.

Christmas: I wasn’t going to leave it out now, was I?! Food, booze, parties, family, friends, presents, bank holidays, advent calendars and crackers (of the ‘go bang’ variety). What’s not to love?