If you’ve been following along on Instagram or Facebook you may have noticed we took a whirlwind trip back to Australia over the last few weeks. It was amazing to catch up with family and friends after many months away and soak up some sunshine before returning to wintry London.
Obviously we didn’t move to the UK for the weather. Having lived here as a student I knew exactly what to expect in terms of grey skies and drizzle but it still can be quite depressingly relentless. As we were travelling home I began thinking about some things that would help me and others survive the rest of the winter.. though hopefully it ends soon!
My tips for enjoying London in winter
1. Make your home cosy and bright. Something I look forward to every fortnight is my flower subscription box from Freddie’s Flowers. Not only do I receive beautiful blooms to make our house feel more homey and inviting but I also get lessons in flower arrangement and horticulture. Freddie’s boxes are creative and unique and always come with a bit of a back story and detailed instructions on how to display the flowers. This always cheers me up. This week’s box included eucalyptus which is a lovely little reminder of home in my vase.
2. Try a new experience or hobby. I’m looking forward to doing a letterpress printing course in March. If you can’t find a course, lecture series or class to interest you in London then you really are not looking hard enough. From fashion and design through to history, languages and technology there is so much to choose from. All the major museums and galleries offer learning experiences and many of the universities have short course offerings. Check out the V&A’s list of upcoming workshops for inspiration here.
3. Meditate. It sounds weird but calming my mind really helps with the rest of my body function so much better. I use the Headspace and Mindfulness apps to do guided meditations as often as I can. There are really short ones – around 5 minutes – for those of you who are really busy.
4. Plan some trips. I can go down a week long internet black hole researching trips. Being on Europe’s doorstep means there is so much to choose from. Use your indoors time wisely in winter and grab some great deals on summer holidays and other breaks. Booking in advance really pays off in the UK. We’ve saved thousands I am sure by getting in early on flights, train tickets and hotels.
5. Take your Vitamin D. My lovely friend Julia prompted me when I was sounding a bit low and I realised I’d forgotten to take my daily dose. I started to feel a lot better about a week after getting back onto my Vitamin D regime.
6. Go for a brisk walk. Even in the midst of winter London’s gardens are beautiful. A quick turn around Hyde Park or along the Thames is a great reminder that you are in one of the most important cities in the world with so many possibilities at your doorstep.
7. Crank up the heat. I like to be warm in my house and frankly I’d be miserable if I wasn’t. I don’t subscribe to the ‘put on another jumper’ school of thought. Luckily english houses have appropriate heating. My husband is not quite on board – he wears shorts around the house even in mid winter!
8. Check out the new exhibitions. Major new shows are announced by the galleries in the new year and this being London you can expect a myriad of options to choose from. This year I can’t wait to check out Painting the Modern Garden at the Royal Academy of Arts, Vogue 100: A Century of Style at the National Portrait Gallery and Performing for the Camera at The Tate Modern. One of my favourite views of St Pauls and London can be found from the restaurant on the sixth floor. Even the grey skies look amazing from here.
9. Go to Greenwich. This is especially true if you have kids. There are so many museums with large spaces and kids activities on every week. We especially like the Maritime Museum with its huge map of the world big enough for toddlers to run about on for ages while you sip your coffee at the nearby cafe. Once you have wandered around the museums head to the covered market for your lunch. This will be even better when the seated eating area is completed.
10. Cosy up for Sunday lunch in a pub. One of the best British traditions, sadly pub lunches can be a bit hit and miss but if you do your research you can’t go wrong with a warming hearty roast in your belly. This list includes some of our tried and true local favourites.
It was quite a jolt waiting at Heathrow for a cab in 3 degrees on Sunday. However to be fair to London the sun has been shining and that makes all the difference when it’s really cold. We are excitedly waiting for Spring and Summer when the blossoms are out and the living is all about lazy days in the gorgeous parks and gardens and a long afternoon pub lunch. In the meantime, there is lot to appreciate about London in winter.
Umbrellas image courtesy Craig Allen under Creative Commons licence