Embrace the cold: four wise women tell us how it’s done

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on RachelKhoo.com and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Let’s face it, sometimes pulling down those covers and slipping out of bed on a frosty morning can present its challenges. If you’re not the perfect model of positivity in autumn and winter, you’re certainly not alone. We needed some tips for embracing the best of the season and perfecting the art of hygge in the cooler months, so we called on four people in the know: Kay Plunkett-Hodge, Joudie Kalla, Leslie Shewring and Holly Becker. Warm up with their wisdom, here:

How do you embrace winter?

Kay: By taking advantage of the positives! Toasty fireside reading with dog and cats. Hot toddies. Warm blankets. Roast dinners. Stews and lots of red wine. And a turkey at Thanksgiving.

Joudie: I love winter. I get candles ready, my throw comes out from hiding, and heating is turned on. I also adore the comfort foods that we seem to pull out that are delicately spiced. It is a time of year where I really feel like spending more time at home and being with friends and family as the day draws to a close earlier. Surrounded by great food. It might sound cheesy to say this, but I love warm fires, drinking hot chocolate and snuggling up.

Leslie: I love winter entertaining. There is something magical about coming together on dark, cold dreary nights! I love to cook and fill the house with the smells of food, have candles flickering and a warm home filled with the sounds of music and laughter. January and February are such quiet times after the holidays so it is nice to plan small parties during this time to help beat the winter blues.

Holly: I’m very much into the concept of ‘hygge‘, this Danish word that means unconditional warmth and love shown at home through the way your decorate and entertain friends and family. I light candles a lot, usually daily, and I play music that makes me feel good. I also have room sprays that I use to lift a mood in the space from time to time – they are all natural and scent is so powerful! I bake more – cookies, cake, casseroles… That always makes the house smell nice… And I have a lot more people over for film nights, or we cook or bake together, or we do a dinner party or gin and tonic night.

What are you favourite things about the cooler months?

Kay: That spring is on its way? Travelling to warmer climes? I’m from Bangkok, dammit, I’m a tropical girl. As much as I try to embrace the positives, I cannot wait for summer to return.

Joudie: Probably that they tend to be more focused around family and friends. I have a huge family and we hardly see each other but we always make sure during winter time we spend it together. Also, I love that it is a little more freeing to eat a little more than usual. And snuggling and wearing lovely thick jumpers while watching old movies.

Holly: Leather jackets, country drives, socks and boots, tights and skirts, exploring and photographing nearby cities (I don’t typically enjoy cities in the summer months when it’s boiling outside, unless they are coastal), playing outside with my little boy, going to the zoo, doing crafts, baking, decorating the home in a new way (I put away more summer-y things and add more texture and warmth), and I love to travel the most between October and March.

Leslie: Boots and sweaters. Cosy throw blankets on the sofa. Warm drinks. Candlelit dinners. Watching the storms pass by. Reading a good book and listening to the rain. Baking with my kids. Craft projects. Crackling fires.

Where do you like to go during winter?

Kay: Cosy places with hearty food. Our local Sardinian restaurant Isola Del Sole here in Putney does comforting homemade pasta dishes with rich, gutsy sauces, and an incredible lamb and potato pie called a panada. With a couple of glasses of Cannonau, the grey days are a world away.

Joudie: I like to go to my usual places, where I feel most comfortable. I am sort of a creature of habit and having a drink and chatting with friends is something great to do to bring a stressful cold dark day to a close. I love eating in places that feel like home such as the Cross Keys, and Oliveto. Really honest good food with nice people and its a home away from home. I love going to the fair that shows up every year in Hyde park and also to ice skate at The Natural History Museum, which I’m terrible at, but I love it as I laugh so much doing it. It’s these things that are simple that make me feel like a kid again. Life can get a bit too serious and you need to let your hair down.

Leslie: I love small cosy restaurants in the winter that have candles on the tables. Cafes are perfect too for meeting friends over warm mugs of coffee. Museums and galleries are havens from the cold and a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Planning weekend getaways or day trips are good too for breaking up the longer dark winter months.

Holly: The Christmas markets in Germany where I live, the ice skating rink at the zoo, the opera and to see concerts, cafes to people watch, I take lots of photos, I love to shop for clothes and shoes in the winter…

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What tips do you have for the cooler seasons? Share in the comments below…

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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