October 28, 2013

Winter Top Ten

Today was supposed to be the worst storm in years, or so they said on the news. Here, in my corner of London it's really more of a more-wind-than-usual kind of affair, but as it still not really one of those "oh, lets take advantage of the great weather and go out on a stroll outside", it still made me realise that though I am still stuck mentally somewhere around July, it is actually almost the end of October, and it is time to start thinking wintertime. This will be our second winter in the UK (on a different note, I can't believe it's almost been a year and a half since we've moved here and I still haven't gotten round to writing an end of year post), and truth be told, since most of our lives what we called "winter" is what the lovely people of the UK call "a nice autumn day", I actually love it. Since I figured most of you nice people will think I am on the crazy side here, I decided to make you a list - Winter Top Ten.

1. number 1, without a doubt - winter accessories. Everything looks better with a hat, or a scarf, or gloves, ideally all three. In Israel only religious women wear hats (and skirts, but that's a totally different story), and also the temperature never drops below 18 degrees Celsius, so you just don't wear hats. Ever. When I left Israel 4 years ago I did not own even one hat. Now... Well now, I have about 15. I love hats. And gloves (about 10 different pairs), and scarves (about 20 of those too). Before you think I have a closet the size of a person without kids, let me explain - I am one of those people we usually tend to hate so much, you know, the ones that will never be caught dead outside the house with yoga pants, adore high heels (I feel so short without them), and never looks frumpy. But come wintertime and the only way to feel like I don't leave the house wearing the same clothes every day for three months is if I change my gloves and scarves and hats. So every year since we left Israel I've invested my winter money mainly in these things, and how can you blame me? Who can not buy something like this?
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
2. Boots. The shoes, not the store (though I do love the store). I have a confession to make here. Though I do love boots (how can you not), I have never understood the appeal of UGG boots. They always looked, how do I say this gently? Like slippers. Sure, they are lovely to use around the house, but to actually walk outside in them? No thank you. Then it became January, and I have started to understand what frostbites feel like. Ok so it might be a slight exaggeration and no one really gets frostbites in London, but it sure felt like that to me. I remember fondly the time where it took me three hours to regain feeling in all my toes (and we have heated floors!), or the first time the temperatures went below 10 degrees. I didn't even know that there were degrees below that. So I caved in and bought a pair at John Lewis, which apparently have such a great selection of UGG boots. My life has never been the same. I think I took them off somewhere around mid April, and now that there are days that threatens a temperature dip I am ashamed to say but I have already started wearing them again. It is like walking within a cloud. Not the most pretty cloud, but a warm and fluffy and cozy cloud.
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
3. xFactor. Ok, so I am not a big reality TV fan. I like my TV scripted and mostly bloody, but I make an exception for the xFactor (and the GBBO, but that's not the point). Not because I can sing, because I really can't, but because for the last four years the xFactor accompanies, for me, the countdown to Christmas. In Israel we have the Wagtail bird, which is one of the first signs of autumn. In the UK it's the xFactor. And when the finale time arrives it is always a night filled with good wine, good food and lots of gifts to wrap. This year the kids have decided to join us in watching it so I am guessing there will be no gift wrapping while watching the finale, but it is so cute to see both of them get into it, and we've even voted for our favourite two acts - Rough Copy and Sam Bailey every week.

4. Snow. I really do think no other word here is needed, but still, its snow. Well, I do get that maybe people in other places get more snow and they get tired of it, but in London there really isn't so much of it (last year we had one full weekend of snow and a few more days of fluff but that's it), and it is so much better than rain, and if we get the cold anyway - at least we could do is get the snow.
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten

5. Holidays. Winter holidays are the best. Yesterday we spent two hours or so decorating the house for Halloween, which was so much fun, and took two hours mainly because the kids stole all the decorations in order to play with them ("I am the floppiest bat" was heard around the house a few times). Now we have so many decorations and candy it's ridiculous, especially given the fact that nobody around here goes trick-or-treating (one of the times I miss Gibraltar most).
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
After that we usually have an American style thanksgiving (just because we love pumpkin, maple, and hazelnuts and because it's annoying that November didn't get a holiday of its own, isn't it?),
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
Thanksgiving style
then it's Hannukah time (eight days of doughnuts, latkes and candles) and then Christmas of course, and lastly New Years. So many holidays that are centred around food and family and light and love. My favourite time of the year.
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
Hannukah - celebrating with grandparents
6. Food. Winter is time to eat. First of all because you have a coat and a million layers so no one will know that you gained a couple of pounds, also because it's so cold you have to eat something, and lastly because of the holidays. The truth is I hate cooking. It's not that I'm bad at it, it's just that I don't enjoy it. I hate cooking with as much passion as I love baking. It's weird, but there you have it. And yet as autumn hits, I start cooking like crazy. I really have no explanation for it, but the only season in which my family gets fresh, diverse, totally homemade food is winter. Also, did I mention we get eight days of doughnuts?
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
Yon helping with the cooking
7. Starbucks. I am not a big fan of UK coffee. There, I've said it. Most places don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. And Starbucks don't pay taxes. And really they are so commercial. And Americans. (Did I forget anything?). But then they have the Christmas Menu and I seriously gave some thought to the idea of moving into a Starbucks during that time. I think I spent more time in Starbucks during the Christmas Menu time than during all of last year combined. Oh, and now they've gone and created the Duffin. Which is a muffin and a doughnut put together. And the salted caramel hot chocolate. I hate you Starbucks people.
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
Starbucks Christmas menu
8. Christmas. Because even though I gave holidays number 5, you really need to give Christmas a point of its own don't you think? Since I feel I talked too much about Christmas already on the blog this month with my post about how to answer the Santa question, and the explanation of why we celebrate, I won't go into more details. I will just say this - the lights in Oxford street, Christmas Eve dinner, and our ten years wedding anniversary.
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
Oxford street
9. Sunny days. Because if in the summer you can become a bit "over used" to the sun, in the winter if there's a miracle and you get a fine day then staying at home is akin to a serious crime. Winter makes you appreciate every school run with no rain, every day with no clouds, every Saturday that can be spent in the park. There is nothing like getting a sunny day in the middle of a very rainy and stormy week. Oh, and last year we got some amazing rainbows out of it.

10. My last point is maybe the best explanation of why I love winter so much. When people hear that we've come here from Gibraltar (or Israel) they always say the same thing - how could you give up that weather?! And we always say the same thing - we didn't come here for the weather. Because it's the expected answer. But it's not true. The first time we've ever visited London was December 2003, for our honeymoon. It was cold, it was rainy, it was snowing. We fell in love with it all. For us London is winter, and winter is the embodiment of London.
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten
Rainy Yon

And as I am typing this the skies are starting to get cloudy, rain drops start falling, and it's time for a cup of hot tea and some pumpkin cupcake.
Orli, Just Breathe - Winter Top Ten

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