I know that this time of year can feel like a bit of an effort, the hard slog before spring comes. This isn’t helped by the constant moaning of the media about the terrible weather, how poor everyone is after Christmas, and how we should be “making up for the indulgence over Christmas” – yuk! (Note: please ignore ALL the diet plans, weight loss tips, body-shaming messages that are so prevalent at this time of year – see Need Help Avoiding the Christmas Crazy.)
Just before Christmas I heard a well-known celebrity cook chatting on the radio about his favourite season – winter. And not just in the run up to Christmas, he said that he loved the whole season. When asked how he combatted the so-called ‘January Blues’ he spoke about still enjoying the same seasonal foods and drinks that are associated with Christmas, explaining that these flavours need not be saved exclusively for the Christmas period. Many of the popular foods at this time of year are based on the fact their ingredients are in abundance (or available) during the winter. Think of the traditional Christmas cake with plenty of dried fruit and nuts, a hearty stew using a plethora of root vegetables, and mulled wine or spiced tea with cinnamon, star anise and cloves.
This got me thinking about extending the cosy, joyous feeling of Christmas throughout the rest of winter. My mum has always been a lover of the early dark nights of winter, covering every surface with candles and fairy lights, and I think I’ll be doing the same in my flat this year. The Christmas tree will go away at the weekend but the fairy lights are staying!
In a bid to fight against the negative tone that seems to hang over this time of year I’ve pulled together a few ideas to help us embrace the cosy. Throughout January (and maybe February – depending on how my uni workload goes) I’ll be posting inspirations on the blog, some posts written by me, and others by guest writers. We’ll be sharing our favourite ways to brighten up the start of the year from bracing walks, to snug coffee shops, with a couple of recipes thrown in there too.
It is an absolute joy to wrap up on a winters day and take a walk, only to be welcomed back by a cup of your favourite tea, or to treat yourself to a trip to a cosy coffee shop. Getting stuck into a good book is an easy way to wile away an evening. Or if reading isn’t your thing, there are plenty of series to watch. To get you started on your cosy January I’ve made lists of some brilliant books, series and films that I’ve loved recently.
As with all the posts on The Simple Nutrition Blog, none of it is meant to make you feel obliged to do or feel a particular way – I understand that for some of us this time of year really can be a struggle. Do whatever you feel up to or able to do. The intention is to offer some ideas if you’re feeling at a bit of a lose end.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Before the Fall – Noah Hawley
How to Stop Time – Matt Haig
The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George
Stravaganza: City of Masks – Mary Hoffman
Letters to My Fanny – Cherry Healey
Moranifesto – Caitlin Moran
Body Positive Power – Megan Jayne Crabbe
Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
Dark – Netflix
Black Mirror – Netflix
The Crown – Netflix
Stranger Things – Netflix
The Sinner – Netflix
Life in Pieces – Amazon Prime
Victoria – ITV
Nigella: At My Table – BBC
Blue Planet II – BBC
The Girl on the Train
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (and the rest of the series)
Beauty and the Beast