There are signs of spring everywhere! The snowdrops and crocuses are in bloom and some of the cherry trees even have early blossoms. These must be a clear indication that winter is coming to an end, which I’m sure we’re all grateful for. Like I do at the close of every season, in this post I’m sharing my winter favourites for 2022. I’ve got lots of great recommendations for you! These post are partly self-indulgent, a way of reflecting on the positives which is a great mental health wellness practice. In fact, every night I think of three things that went well to help me fall asleep. This is a scaled up version of that technique; rather than focusing on the things that were difficult, I choose to reflect on the things that cheered me. Secondly, favourites posts are fantastic ways to share recommendations. I love watching favourites videos on YouTube – you never know what new book you’ll come across or recipe inspiration!
Wellies (Rubber Boots)
With all the lockdown wanders, gardening, and muddy dog walks, I’m true rubber boot gal! The first pair of boots I got were red Hunter wellies. I had coveted Hunter wellies since I moved to the UK because I thought they were practical and stylish. I’m here to tell you that if you’re a person who walks a lot in wellies, don’t bother with the Hunter brand. The rubber split after less than a year of use and I ended up with soggy socks. The same thing happened to Lucy’s pair. Actually, I got a free replacement pair for her, and they already have a hole in them after less than a year. I decided to try a pair of Muck Boots, since that is what Matthew Posa (our favourite outdoors YouTuber) wears. If they are durable enough for Matthew’s adventures, they must be good! I’ve been wearing my Muck Boots since December and they are so durable and sturdy – proper wellies! If you do a lot of outdoors work or field dog walking, I highly recommend them!
Yes, me and everyone else. I’m not convinced I like it as much now that the New York Times owns it. Is it just me or do the words seem harder? Also, don’t even get me started on the American spelling! I enjoy playing Wordle first thing in the morning with my coffee.
Cranberry and Candied Walnut Salad
One of our go-to meals is a salad with “dippy bread” a.k.a crusty bread with the oil and balsamic vinegar dip. I do different salads, depending on what’s in the house. Recently, I made a mixed leaf lettuce salad with cucumber, yellow pepper, and oil & vinegar dressing with dried cranberries and candied walnuts. To candy the walnuts, I just toasted them in a frying pan and added a bit of maple syrup and salt. This dinner takes about 15 minutes to prepare and it’s a great way to get your veggies in!
Season 4 of The Sinner on Netflix is up there with Season 2 as the best yet. The acting was great, and it was such a good mystery.
As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, Port Meadow in Oxford is our favourite place to go for dog walks. Wilbur can run around with the other dogs and there are horses, birds, the river, fields, and forest. Plus free parking and toilets!
Itsu Vegetable Gyoza
Itsu is a popular Japanese fast food brand in the UK. They have restaurants on highstreets (town centres) but they also sell a range of frozen food at some supermarkets. Their Vegetable Gyoza are 100% my favourite convenience food option. They take about 10 minutes to pan fry and then you get delicious crispy flavourful gyoza at home for only a few quid.
Early Spring Bulbs
Maybe this is more of a spring favourite than a winter favourite. However, with climate change, the bulbs seem to be coming out earlier and earlier. By the start of February we had snowdrops, winter aconite, and crocuses blooming. The daffodils are also starting to pop up!
I’m the sort of person who keeps tech until it’s about to die / has died. My previous phone (which was my first smart phone) was purchased in 2016 and it got to the point that it was so full and slow it wasn’t working properly. I treated myself to a new Samsung with some Christmas/birthday money and I can safely say it is a new favourite. I have no need for expensive contracts of flagship models. If you, like me, use your phone on pay as you go and Wifi, but still use it consistently, then I would very much recommend the Samsung Galaxy A52S 5G. I believe it is the top selling mid-priced Samsung model. It’s got fantastic speed, and the cameras are great. It’s a big phone, but smaller than some models on the market.
Thought Clothing Bamboo Socks
Papier Wellness Journal
Papier is a well-known brand in the UK for journals and notebooks. They are a bit pricey, but often have sales. I treated myself to a Wellness Journal from them and I really like that they offer personalisation and lots of different designs. What I like most about the wellness journal is the layout and sections to fill in. It focuses on gratitude, goals, and overall health like water intake and healthy meals. I use it to help me work through my anxiety and gratitude reflection.
YouTube Jazz Videos
Last but not least, if you like piano jazz then these YouTube channels have great background music for working or just ambiance. I quite like the winter jazz, and café jazz compilations.