There is no denying that we absolutely love winter. The shorter days make getting snug on an evening feel like an absolute treat, and the build up to the festive season evokes real nostalgia.
This year, we are really throwing ourselves into festivities and the run up to christmas is a really fun-filled one for us and all of our customers. Keep an eye out on our Instagram page here to stay up to date with all the late night shopping, private events, wreath-making workshops and everything you need to know. We also need to remember (for the purpose of this piece) those cold months that come after Christmas: when it's still winter, but we need that little extra self care to get us through.
Everything is spiced and yummy at this time of year. One of our absolute favourites is the classic Mulled Wine. The quantities in this recipe are for a get together and we feel the star anise really gives it that good depth of flavour.
2 x 75cl bottles of red wine
100ml of your favoured brandy
1litre of smooth orange juice
2 whole oranges, halved
2 x star anise
½ tsp of allspice
1 stick of cinnamon
2. The Knits
It's fair to say that the clothes in winter are some of the best all year. Our Nordic cousins have all the right ideas when it comes to what makes a really good jumper too. For those environmentally friendly (and vintage fans), there is an amazing selection of Nordic knits on Depop (here) for all budgets. Or if you fancy a real treat this winter then go and check out the selection in Toast (here): we are all a little bit obsessed here.
3. Boxsets and Books
Begone the guilt: we should be out enjoying the sunshine and welcome the JOMO (joy of missing out) of getting really cosy with a good boxset or book.
At the start of the pandemic, eveyone seemed determined to learn how to bake bread, but how about getting into a book or series you've always meant to but never made the time for? We can recommend the world of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings for example, ahead of next year's TV series. The Hobbit is the simplest place to start, but we can also say from experience that The Silmarillion is the greatest prequel book of them all! Read about faraway lands and the battle between good and evil from the warmth of your armchair.
The new series of peppy, entertaining fashion-based series and not even guilty pleasure Emily In Paris starts on 22 December, so you can dig into that with a giant mug of hot chocolate. And how about The Movies That Made Us: a terrific, fast-moving show revealing secrets about your favourite films that we guarantee will surprise you. For example, the set for the Home Alone house was constructed around a swimming pool so it could be flooded at the end! And while we're at it, check out the new Home Alone film on Disney!
4. The Get Togethers
As mentioned above, we have gone all out in our festive get togethers this year. Partly due to the fact last year we couldn't, but also to find safe ways to see all of our incredible friends and customers without taking unnecessary risks. The isolation we felt last year was quite frankly miserable, so seeing loved ones, even though we are still playing safe, really will make a huge difference.
We personally love drinks at Sotano and Christmas dinner with friends at Partisan. If you're lucky enough to get together with loved ones this festive season, there are so many wonderful, warm places to gather and celebrate.
5. Christmas Markets
Thanks to our German neighbours, these festive gems have become an absolute institution in the UK too. Of course varying in quality and size, some of the truly brilliant ones offer some amazing opportunities to Christmas shop.
St. Nicholas Fair in York is the annual Christmas market in the city, where you can buy everything under the sun, or rather under the Christmas tree, for yourself and your friends and family this Christmas. Not only are there gifts galore from some of Yorkshire's finest traders, there is also scrumptious food and drink from stalwarts like Shambles Kitchen with their bratwursts and dirty fries; or Sloemotion Gin with their incredibly beautiful bottles of irresistible mixed gin treats.
Whatever you choose to do this year to have yourself a merry little Christmas, we hope your hearts are light and that you can be with your loved ones. Don't forget to reach out to those who need help at this time of year, and if that means yourself, remember that you're surrounded by good folk: you'd be surprised how amenable people are to talking you through your problems, even if you think you're alone.