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Winter Comforts: My Seasonal Favourites

abbey, a brunette blogger with hair in plaits, stands in an autumnal park wearing a brown beanie and neck warmer

If there's any season in which to focus on comfort, it's winter. Today's post is about precisely this, covering all of my favourite foods, fashions, and fun days out which mean that I'm not missing summer even a little bit! (Ok, maybe I do mourn the loss of hot and sunny weather from time to time, but you get the picture). I hope you enjoy learning about some of the things that are making this season special for me and I also hope you'll share some of your current favourites and recommendations in the comments below! Let's get started!

Eating

Winter is all about comfort food. And if you're looking to start Christmas a little bit early this year, I'd definitely recommend booking yourself in for a festive treat at Veeno. Last weekend I went to check out their Christmas package, which comprised an arrival drink of Aperol spritz or Prosecco, followed by a sumptuous Italian sharing platter of meats and cheeses (with plenty on offer for vegetarians too!) and a bottle of their Giumara label wine, with a generous slab of tiramisu and some mulled wine to finish. At £30 per person, the experience lasts between 90-120 minutes giving you plenty of time to chat and catch up with a loved one as you munch and slurp. The service at Veeno is always second to none - every time I've been along the staff have taken the time to talk us through the food and drinks, explaining the Italian origins of all of their products and the perfect wine and food pairings. This extra touch really enhances the experience - the staff expertise makes it well worth the money. I left Veeno Leicester feeling festive (and more than a little merry) after my Christmas package!

close up of the brown knitted neck warmer, which abbey holds on to with red painted nails

Reading

If rain is beating at the windows and you're all snuggled up in bed, there's nothing like a book to complete the comfortable atmosphere. I'm quite partial to a psychological thriller or crime book these days, in no small part due to my friend Hels's brilliant recommendations, but lately I've been all about the fantasy genre. I thoroughly enjoyed Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a wacky and wonderful story of witchcraft, demons and childhood friendship. There were a lot of mysteries throughout the narrative that were never fully resolved with a few mythological allusions thrown in for good measure. It was a bit gory in places but overall I would recommend it. I also really liked Leslye Walton's The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, a poignant tale of love and loss which centers around a girl who was born with wings. Her family history is explored throughout the book and the elements of fantasy and magic are woven seamlessly into a "real world" setting, which allowed me to fly through the book with ease.

Wearing

It's always fun changing up your wardrobe for a new season and winter is no exception for me. As I live a 20 minute walk away from my university campus, wrapping up warm and braving the elements is becoming of my daily routine as the temperatures start to nosedive. Happily, keeping toasty on the walk is really easy thanks to the gifts that I've recently received from the lovely people at Simply Hike. The Extremities Ombre Donegal neck warmer in the shade oatmeal keeps the chill from hitting my chest and the matching Extremities Ombre Donegal beanie (also in the shade oatmeal) is equally cosy because of its thick lining. These will definitely be staples in my winter wardrobe throughout the season! If you're looking to invest in some quality outdoor clothing, whether you need Meindl boots for hiking or a stylish leopard print snood for popping to the shops, Simply Hike will have you covered! 

view of abbey from behind, wearing brown beanie and neck warmer, with autumn trees in the background

Chilling

Technically the product that I'm about wax lyrical about is the exact opposite of chilling but never mind! My homeware favourite is all about keeping warm and cosy! Last year for Christmas, my Mum gave me a heated throw cover for my bed and I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that this was a life-changing present. We've probably all experienced electric blankets that you put underneath your bedsheet and whack on for a little while before you clamber under the covers but this blanket is a real game changer. You can actually wrap yourself head to toe in this blanket wherever you are in the house and you'll be toasty warm within seconds, it is blissful! There are six different heat settings on my blanket and it's so soft! My blanket isn't exactly cheap (mine is from the brand Dreamland and it's £50) but I get so much use out of it that I think it might just be worth it.

Visting

I'm still a big fan of outdoorsy fun even in the depths of winter - last year on my blog, I dedicated an entire blog post to getting outside in the cold weather. Continuing that tradition, recently the boyfriend and I have been exploring plenty of Leicester's parks. These photos were snapped in Abbey Park, a gorgeous historic green space just outside central Leicester. As the name suggests, up until the English religious reformation there was an enormous Abbey in the grounds, but it was destroyed by King Henry VIII and only the foundations of the great building remain. Now, the park is beautifully landscaped in places with a small Japanese inspired garden hidden amongst the trees. It's a stunning setting among the autumn leaves. If you're ever visiting Leicester, definitely check it out! Parking is only £1 on a Sunday too!

close up of smiling abbey, wearing brown knitted beanie and neck warmer

Watching

Even though I love being outside at this time of year, if you're not feeling super energetic then a Netflix binge can be just as satisfying! After a Bake Off shaped hole was left in my life a few weeks ago, I decided to sample season three of NBC show The Good Place. The premise of The Good Place is an odd one - four people who have died believe that they've gone to heaven but soon realise that they're actually trapped in "the bad place" which is masquerading as a utopian paradise, where they are being tortured by a set of cruel demons. Seasons one and two were hilarious and so satirical but season three? Meh. The series has really lost its sparkle and the latest instalments have been a bit of a let down, which is such a shame! I'd be really interested to see what fellow The Good Place fans think of it! On the other hand, YouTube never lets me down. My current favourite content creators are my pal Ellis Woolley, whose indie art channel has grown MASSIVELY in the last few months (I'm so proud of her!) and Darya Lozhkina, who makes totally tingle-worthy ASMR videos. 

Now it's over to you - what are your current winter faves? Are there any Netflix series that I should really be watching? Any books that you highly recommend? Or any seasonal snacks that you think I should sample? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Until next time,

A x

*The beanie and neck warmer sent to me by Simply Hike were provided free of charge in exchange for blog and social media content. I was not paid for this post.