As winter’s kicked here this week I’d like to share with you my current favourite winter essentials. So without further ado, my current winter essentials.
A must if you don’t want your hands to freeze removing gloves to work your (smart) phone.
I’ve tried fingerless gloves with my phone, my fingers froze. They were great for when I volunteered at an animal shelter, but fingers froze cycling even with a button back mitten bit. I prefer tactile/touchscreen gloves and the best ones I found were from Decathlon last year. They keep me warm cycling and work great with my iPhone. I purposely purchased 2 pairs last year as I always loose at least one glove around January when the shops no longer sell them. Ironically I didn’t loose any last year so I’m grateful I purchased 2 last year as cycling wears out the palm. I’m after a new pair, sod’s law it’s January, my nearest Decathlon’s sold out of my size and I probably won’t see any in stock until November this year.
I made the switch a few years ago to quilted coats and haven’t looked back. I’m finally European! Living back in London I noticed the Spanish and Italians did quilted coats while us British girls froze in wool coats. Here doesn’t see much snow unless you’re in the mountains however many parts of Spain and Italy get plenty of snow. Seville’s summers are 40C has winters of snow, so those girls were onto something.
NON DOWN of course as I don’t want to wear a coat lined with feathers often plucked from live or force fed ducks and geese. You can say the down’s ethically produced, it’s by-product all you like, I ain’t buying. It’s harder to find one but if you search hard enough you can find light weight polyester or synthetic down quilted coats. I prefer them to cover my bum as they keep you warmer especially if you cycle as transport. No drafts. If they have a hood with yes you’ve guessed it a faux fur trim which I remove anyway (some trims are labelled faux but you can tell it’s real fur, dog, fox, coyote or dogfox. It’s by the way it moves, it feels, by looking the base or the individual fibres) it’s even better for keeping you warm. I love a hood cycling as I wear as baseball cap to prevent messy hair cycling, a scarf and with the hood up, the cap keeps the hood on and I’m toasty!
Exfoliate and Moisturise: Body and Face
Change in temperature from inside to outside and different types air such as hot air conditioning and cold, humid air love playing havoc with your skin. Show your skin some love by exfoliating away dead skin cells and gunk as our body has a harder time doing in the winter as it’s hidden under layers. Show more appreciation by helping it stay hydrated with body lotions, moisturisers, gel lotion or creams. Dry, chapped, itchy, flakey, dull looking skin ain’t fun. I’m gradually becoming a fan of overnight masks and at this time of year they provide extra hydration against indoor heat. And don’t forget to dry between your toes after showering. Not drying them, keeping them damp then socks can make the skin between your toes crack and painful.
In the colder months I find it harder to keep my water intake up. I have to make an effort to remember to drink it when it’s cold. It helps keep your skin hydrated, beat dehydration from the changes in heat (and ward off headaches that can happen with the varying degree of temps from being indoors and outdoors), feeling more alert and can help fight winter blues.
Chapped, sore, dry or hands and especially eczema hands aren’t fun in the winter. Not drying hands properly then facing cold weather can leave knuckles crying for help. Hand creams without paraffin in are little god sends. I like to go for ones made from plant based glycerin, sweet almond, olive or jojoba oil and/or shea and cocoa butter as they’re better at treating the skin. Paraffin does a great job initially but I find it kinda smoothers or hides the problem blocking pores and there’s the issue of petroleum and skin.
Lip Scrubs and Lip Balms
In the cold, lips can become chapped, sore and painful. Lips balms without paraffin help prevent them becoming chapped and a lip scrub helps exfoliate and prevent flakiness. Indoors I love using an olive oil based lip balm (Sierra Bees are my current favourites) and ones with SPF when I’m out. Lip scrubs are easy to DIY yourself (recipe coming soon!).
Breathable layers help keeping sweating to a minimum (unless you’re always running late like me, cycle, sweat and get cold regardless) which when it cools down can lead to colds and flu. Plus if they’re lightweight they trap air between the layers keeping you snug and warm without looking like a Michelin Man. Thankfully thermals are more stylish now and some leggings like Fabletics black Salar leggings that I live in them outside the gym are kind enough to keep you warm and wick away sweat out and about. Same with running or exercising outdoors. That’s not to say I don’t have big warm jumpers, I do, I layer finer layers underneath.
For the obvious reason preventing coat hangers.
Plus they can help any of us who suffer from painful nipples when it’s cold. Yes nipples can get painfully sore in the cold. It even has it’s own name nipple vasospasm. It hurts, excruciatingly. I’ve been know to take a hair dryer to warm them up or sometimes only a hot shower will help. Basically if you have poor circulation or suffer Raynaud’s disease or have ever had fingers or toes go ‘dead’ and turn white from the cold, nipples being extremities can do the same. I find wearing a moulded or t-shirt bra not only provides an extra layer of warmth and as it compacts the girls more, air can’t get in making them cold. Same for sports bras. If you can deal with an underwired sports bra, a great one is by Panache. Beats wearing 3 cropped sports bras and they do the job for us girls, with more up top. They also do great moulded t-shirt bras from 28DD to 40GG (UK sizing), perfect for all DD+ sizes regardless of back measurement.
What are your winter essentials? A scarf ‘s another for obvious reasons!