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The Joys of Winter: Cozy Nights by the Fire, Frosty Mornings and Comfort Food

My favourite days are those that are cold but bright. Frosty mornings when the sun shines and the grass glistens. Trees covered in a thin layer of silver glitter as you pass underneath in the bitter sunshine, wrapped up in a big coat, scarf, hat and gloves. It’s perfection. Less perfect when you need to drive somewhere and forget it takes a good 10 minutes to de-ice the car… 

Winter is a strange time of year. Some people love it and some hate it. Those cold, wet and dark January mornings are not my favourite, but once we’ve gone through those dark days we get to see the spring flowers coming up and brightening our world again. Sometimes I don’t mind those gloomy days, they are a great excuse to get in the kitchen and cook something really comforting. The options are endless. Cauliflower cheese? Tomato and mozzarella pasta? Homemade aubergine curry? A comforting risotto? Why not try a new recipe and create a new comfort food? I love to look at Delicious Magazine, Nigella online, and Instagram for inspiration.

When the weather is truly vile, and the rain is battering the windows the only thing to cook is cake. My reason? Something needs to brighten up the day and whether it’s a delectable chocolate cake, or a refreshing lemon drizzle, it certainly won’t be the weather. Therefore, cake. 

January can feel like the longest month, especially after the festivities and expense of Christmas. With fad diets, gym discounts and every tik tok telling me how to have a low-calorie breakfast (seriously, I’m happy with toast, leave me alone) it can be rather depressing. The way to avoid that? Switch off your phone. Go into the cold fresh air. Take in a few breaths. When you’re cold, come back in and put on your favourite show with a hot water bottle, cup of tea, that chocolate digestive you’ve been craving, and relax. Everyone makes us feel that we should be changing and improving on ourselves in January, but sometimes we just need a break. 

My favourite thing about winter is that cozy feeling. It is possibly something I associate more with Christmas and the buildup in December, but is still possible in January. Cuddling up to watch a film by the fire, with big fluffy socks and comfy pyjamas – there is no better feeling. A bowl of popcorn (sweet and salty obvs) and a good film is all I need on the long January nights. It is also the best thing to do with housemates when you really don’t want to go and queue in the cold and rain to get into a night club. January is also the perfect time to watch some 90s classics. You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, Pretty Woman, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sleepless in Seattle… the list goes on and on. 

Winter fashion is also a highlight of the season. A chunky camel roll neck jumper, black leggings, a big black coat and black boots with a nice handbag – the timless winter outfit. Another highpoint of winter fashion? The January sales! 

I like to take a step back in January and really try and take care of myself, and focus on my selfcare, especially in terms of my mental health and skincare. I like to do my typical Sunday night facial, but also remember to take 15 minutes every day to look after my skin. A simple five minute wash in the morning with my cleanser and toner (I use Liz Earl) and then 10 minutes in the evening as I take off my make-up, or if it was a no make-up day, a short face mask to add moisture to my skin. My skin always gets super dry in the winter because of the heating being on, and just generally not looking after it enough, so taking some time every day to look after my skin is a bonus. 

Winter can feel like the longest, most depressing time of year. The short days, dark and dull weather all contribute to a feeling of the blues, but underneath the cold exterior, winter can be one of the most comforting times of year. We can stay home and take a step back from socializing to chill and take stock of the last year. We can eat the comforting warm meals and watch the cozy films, all while listening to the rain on the roof. And maybe if we’re lucky it will snow and cause havoc for a few days. A single snowflake sends the country into panic, but take a second to look at it, and it is beautiful. Anyone else now hoping for a snow day so we don’t have to go to class because forum hill is too slippery so we get to stay home and make snow angels? Me too. 

Sophie is in her final year as an undergraduate at the University of Exeter, studying Art History and Classical Studies. She is the President and Campus Correspondent for the Exeter Chapter of Her Campus. Sophie would love to work in the media when she graduates because of her love for reading and editing... in fact as you read this she is probably wishing that she was lying by a pool with a good book and an iced coffee!
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