The last surviving autumn leaves in our garden
Here in the southern hemisphere, winter has hit. I live in Australia’s capital city, Canberra and it really turns winter on. So the 92 days of a Canberra winter have begun and I’m frantically thinking of how I can enjoy winter, rather than endure it this year.
The summers in Canberra are perfect – it rarely gets beyond 40 degrees, and the overnights are very bearable with a sheet on the bed and the quiet whispers of a cooling ceiling fan. We love our house in summer because we have a pool and various outdoor eating areas to enjoy alfresco dining. It’s on those long summer nights with a glass of wine and the sun setting I thank my lucky stars and can’t believe the life I am leading.
But that lifestyle is still 910 days away and I need to live for now, rather than focusing on when my life will be better once we are financially independent. So I have started a survival list of things to inspire me during the 92 days of winter.
- Knit my cosy bed blanket. I have purchased some chunky Peruvian wool (like 10 skeins) and have started knitting a large blanket to really keep us toasty during the -6 degree over nights here in Canberra. Just knitting that thing keeps me warm as it continues to grow beyond my lap to my knees as I am knitting.
- I have discovered chai lattes. A little late to the piece, but I made this yesterday, along with some cashew milk and OH MY – it’s like a hug in a cup. Beautiful winter spices in a warm mug in my hands. Yesterday’s recipe was a little ad lib, but worked beautifully:
- In a small pot, fill up half way with water and put on the stove top
- Add to the pot a couple of cinnamon quills, some fresh ginger chopped, grated fresh nutmeg, some allspice, some vanilla pods or paste and some cardamom. I haven’t given quantities here because it really is an individual preference about how spicy you like it.
- Simmer for five minutes to enable the spices to infuse, and then add two earl grey tea bags for another five minutes.
- Cool and transfer to a container for the fridge you can use when you need a little warm pick me up. You could either drink this tea heated, or whip up some milk/cashew milk or other nut milk and add half and half with a teaspoon of honey, warm it through and enjoy.
My chai tea mixture next to my favourite smokey wintery smelling candle
- If you are home, follow the sun around your home. I have written about this before but I watch how the sun heats up particularly areas of my home naturally and I design my day around where I can catch the most sun.
- Of course days like today are no good for sun catching – it’s overcast and super cold. So basic one I know, but for now I put on more clothes to stay warm, rather than using the indoor heating. I was listening to a financial podcast where one FIRE interviewee just wears a onesie all day and doesn’t put the heating on at all. I’m not at that extreme yet, but I will spend the time to design my stay at home days around the weather.
- Right now the house is 18 degrees but the temperature will fall throughout the day without any sun to warm up through the double glazed windows. So I am doing my indoor work this morning; will grab a bite of lunch here and then head out in the afternoon to complete my tasks – taking an old chest of drawers and office chair to the second hand place; visit my daughter; read up on my favourite magazines in the library and find other cosy, free spots to relax until David comes home and I can justify putting the heating on. One of the greatest pleasures for us is the gas fire we installed during our renovations. It has a mesmerising flame and pushes out heat.
- Make slow cooked soups and stews that are homecooked, without anything artificial and fill up your belly with yummy warm, flavourful, rich food. Last night I made bone broth too, which is a great base for soups, with bones from the butcher, left over vegetable scraps I collect in the freezer, bay leaves and apple cider vinegar.
So there’s my top six for now. What do you do to enjoy winter?