Late Winter Survival Tips

Do you feel it? The promise of spring – of warmer days, and dawdling evenings, of the world blooming anew again – on the wind? I wish I could say I did – I am aching for it more than anything at the moment – but in spite of the saucer magnolias above my head and the crocuses pushing through the earth beneath my feet, it still feels very much like winter over here. It’s cold, really cold, and the evenings are still mostly darkness – so a few late-winter survival tips (besides the usual, and obvious, get outdoors, soak up the sunlight, take a vitamin D supplement) seemed in order, should you too be feeling the late winter blues as I am.

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+ Citrus, citrus, citrus. Blood orange season is my favourite (when I was a child, my best friend and I would eat them by the bowlful, smearing their scarlet juices across our teeth, pretending to be vampires…) and it only comes round at the end of winter. Indulge! I love carrying teetering crates home from the greengrocer and dreaming up all sorts of citrus-based recipes (while, in reality, I tend to just top the granola and yoghurt I eat every morning of my life with the segments of oranges…still, delicious). The extra vitamin C is surely no bad thing, either.

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+ Try a new variety of tea, something you’ve never tasted before but have always clutched at in the market before placing it back on the shelf with a ‘next time’. We’re gulping down mugfuls of pomegranate and raspberry here, as well as Twinings ‘Summer Berries’ (wishful thinking? Never!) It seems such a tiny thing, a hot cup cradled in your hands, a new flavour to stoke your senses, but I find it really helps. The ritual has something to do with it, I’m sure.

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+ Add blankets. Layer them up where they’re easy to reach and curl up under them with your favourite book on wintry noons – those days where the sky seems a blank sheet of white and the chill seems to soak to the bones. A guaranteed mood-brightener.

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+ Freshen up – organise that drawer (you know the one I’m talking about, don’t you? We all have one that never stays organised. In fact, I have at least three…) Trim the ends of your hair, or chop it off altogether! Swipe on a new coat of lipstick (something cheery and bright – I’m partial to pink!) Wear the funky socks sitting neglected in your dresser, treat yourself to a bunch of daffodils or a houseplant to make your home feel a little livelier.

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+ Daydreaming of all the decadent, and simple, spring flings I’ll indulge in when the tide finally turns really helps me: glorious picnic spreads in the lush grasses of the park, springtime getaways to stare starry-eyed at cherry blossoms or fields of glossy tulips, sun-soaked outings to wear the cotton maxi dress you’ve been hoarding all winter, a trip to dip your sun-starved toes in the ocean. Then turn your imaginings into concrete plans so you can really start looking forward to the new season!

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+ Move over boyfriends – hot water bottles are where it’s at. I sleep with mine every night of the winter and I truly don’t know what I’d do without it. They make a cold bed so much more inviting and I find if you fill them full enough, they’ll still be slightly toasty in the morning. Mmmm.

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+ Skip! A silly one to end on, maybe, but a little skip on my morning walk or my daily lunchtime stroll through Regent’s Park puts a spring in my step, which if you ask me is the next best thing to real spring. Staring dog-walkers, be damned. Go on, indulge your inner five-year-old. (Pictured here, a very golden-haired Lulu, glimpsed skipping in action in Bordeaux two years ago!)

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What are your tips for surviving these last dregs of winter? I’d so love to hear – just writing this post has made me feel a little less winter-I-loathe-you, already!