Usually, I love this time of year, when the crisp leaves have fallen weightlessly to the cold, hard ground to create a golden carpet. We crunch our way here and there, puffs of cold air leaving our mouths with every step, our eyes glistening beneath the low but bright sunlight. Rewind two weeks and you’ll vaguely recall this romantic Scottish autumn – right now though, it’s foggy and wet and the pretty leaves stick to our heels, making a mockery of any footwear that isn’t a flat waterproof boot.
I love winter, especially the weeks running up to Christmas. The bitterly cold, bright days are best – they inspire me to dress up and keep active – but, sadly, the same can’t be said of the miserably damp days, like the ones we’ve endured for the past ten days. However – compromised style and shattered daydreams aside – every cloud has a silver lining; this misty, hair-raising weather is a good excuse to stay indoors and keep warm and prepare for the cold winter months ahead, particularly the months of January and February which are by far the darkest – and often the coldest – of the year.
At the risk of jinxing things, I often worry about our old boiler (if you’ve similar worries, Home Energy Scotland will be able to tell you if you’re eligible to any support for making your home warmer – I’m calling them A-SAP on 0808 808 2282 for advice on how to save money and energy), so I do my best to try alternative ways to stay cosy at home. Admittedly, it doesn’t always work – I like the house to be warm when I get up/come home, so the heating is usually on for a few hours. However, I’m consciously trying to make an effort to save energy (and cash!) so fully intend on investigating how to be more ‘green’ (which also leaves more to spend on pretty candles from Jo Malone, Miller Harris and Timeless) this winter.
What have I done to prepare my home so far? Well, mostly ‘nesting’ activities, the sort of things that prepare one for hibernation (I love the feeling of being safely tucked up inside my cosy home with my loved ones). I’ve refreshed some paintwork and put light timers on, so the low watt bulbs are already glowing when I arrive home from work in the dark. I draw the curtains, push the draught excluder against the gap beneath the door, and pop on my thermal camisole (yes, really) beaneath my current favourite Oasis knit. After a brisk walk with Jake, the perfect evening involves a steaming hot bath with my favourite candle glowing in the corner, while I relax with Vogue beneath a layer of frothy bubbles. After my soak, I’ll step straight into my fluffy slippers, pop my PJs on, and wrap my super soft alpaca wool scarf around my shoulders before enjoying a hot dinner with Mr Daydreamer. The lamps and candles create a warm atmosphere, and after dinner we climb on to the sofa and I pull a patchwork throw over our knees like a real old married couple, the cat curled up on our laps and the dog lying across our feet. Later, we’ll heat milk on the stove and either add honey or Cadbury’s cocoa powder – the best way to get warm is from the inside – while we watch the latest box set. The heating will only have been on for a couple of hours, so by 10pm the house has cooled down and it’s time to snuggle under the flannel-covered duvet, the fairy lights on the headboard casting a warm glow for reading my book while I reap the benefits of the hot water bottle I secreted there earlier.
Thanks to the ghastly weather I can enjoy this utter bliss, 100% guilt-free.