Winter is coming.
We’ve had the usual early-October heatwave, and this week has been cold, wet and a little too much like autumn.
After a long, hot, sticky summer I’m always up for some fresher air and the opportunity to wear a jumper. To have an excuse to stay inside at the weekend and watch Harry Potter on repeat. To be able to eat toad in the hole with gravy for dinner almost every night. To be able to go running without overheating and turning to mush.
However, making the transition from sticky summer to chilly autumn (and perhaps even snowy winter this year) takes a bit of preparation (and probably a fair amount of shopping, too). Here are my nine ways to prepare for autumn/winter:
Get your cupboards filled
There are certain things you’ll need every winter, so get ahead of the game while you can still bear to leave the house and fill your cupboards with useful and delicious things:
Honey – at some point during the winter you know you’re probably going to get a cold. Make sure you’ve got some honey (and maybe even whisky) so that when it comes, all you have to buy are lemons and ginger.
Tins, stock + freezer food – when the evenings are darker and colder, you’re not going to want to go to the shops to buy things to make dinner. Make sure your cupboards are well stocked with things like chopped tomatoes, herbs and stock, and that you have some easy-to-cook things in your freezer, as well as some frozen homemade meals for the nights when you really can’t be bothered.
Blankets, blankets everywhere
And slippers, and socks, and jumpers… basically, make sure your house is filled with warm, soft things. The warmer you are, the lower you’ll have to put the heating on and the cheaper your heating bill will be. Basic.
Get your garden sorted
If you’ve got a garden, there might be things you have to do at this time of year to make sure everything’s lovely come spring. Since this is only my first winter with my own garden (or at least one with plants in) I have no idea what these things are, but they’ll most likely vary from garden to garden. Check out which of your plants needs pruning, cutting right back, covering or bringing indoors to make sure you’ve still got something left next year.
Go coat shopping
Hooray! Coat shopping is the best. I’ve had the same parka for about five years, so this year I really should pull my finger out and get a new one. The shops are already full of coats so get cracking – a lovely new coat will make you feel much better about the shorter days and general lack of heat. Topshop have got a pretty good selection at the moment – particularly loving this blanket coat. So much cosy!
Grab a good pair of boots
Every year I bought boots, and every year I forget to buy boots that have ANY GRIP WHATSOEVER. Until I got some Dr Martens Serena boots for Christmas, that is. Soft black leather, fur inside, army-level grip, ridiculously long-lasting. Bloody perfect.
So. Although it might be a bit more expensive, grab yourself some decent boots – when your feet are warn and dry, and your limbs aren’t flailing every time you step out on to some frost, you’ll be very, very grateful. An extra bonus: if your boots are sturdy, you’ll be extra good at kicking leaves.
Pick up your old hobbies
During the fun of summer, it’s pretty easy to forget about your old hobbies. But cold weekends spent warm indoors are the perfect time to pick them back up again – or even learn new ones. You could try crochet and make yourself a blanket that miiiiight be finished by the time winter’s over, or learn to make patchwork quilts (I’m sensing a theme here). You could pick up calligraphy, dust off your guitar, cross stitch your favourite film quotes or spend the winter becoming a wine connoisseur. That one sounds particularly appealing.
Update your Netflix list
Woohoo! It’s time to catch up on all the series you’ve not had time to all summer! SO. MUCH. TV! Netflix has upped its game recently and added a whole new library of awesome: Homeland, Catching Fire, The Desolation of Smaug, Skyfall… so many treats for your eyes. My winters are usually spent re-watching the aforementioned Harry Potter, several times. Can’t get too much Potter. Make yourself a den and a hot chocolate and get watching.
Winterproof your house
Here’s the boring bit: time to check your house is winterproof. Do any of your doors have draughts? Grab some draught excluder tape or sew yourself one of those sausage dog filled-fabric draught excluders. Breezy windows? Get them sorted, even if there’s a shortcut that means you stay warm and dry until you can sort them properly in the spring.
Make sure all of your radiators are clear and haven’t been piled under tonnes of stuff over the summer, and make sure you’re in the house the first time you put them on so you can walk around and reassure yourself that the burning smell really is just dust (I get the fire panic every single year, without fail).
Rooms without carpet? Get yourself some rugs, even cheap, thin ones – anything’s better than stepping on cold floors with bare feet when you’re not properly awake! A nice big bath mat helps too.
Get your winter recipes ready
Time to toss out the salads (geddit?) and get your mouth around stews, curries and sausages and mash. Pull your cookbooks out and give yourself a little recipe refresh ready for the winter months. This time of year there’s plenty of squash, kale, courgettes and root veg about so have a look for some seasonal recipes.
Since it’s nearly Christmas (cripes) it’s also worth now having a think about things like jams and chutneys to give as presents; grab whatever’s seasonal and therefore being sold off cheap in large quantities and make something delish that you can stick in a Kilner jar and make everybody happy with come Christmas dinner time.
Autumn is definitely a top contender for best season – wrap up and enjoy!
Do you have any great tips for preparing for autumn and surviving the colder months?
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