We had a very mild fall here in Toronto. Up until a week ago we had temperatures in the high teens and low twenties (Celcius) throughout, with a few nippy but not truly cold days here and there. And then everything changed and it became freezing, which is pretty much the way winter usually arrives here – that is, with no transition whatsoever.
I’m not a huge fan of winter. (That’s an understatement if I ever heard one.) The cold is one thing, but the wind, the prolonged darkness, and the ice are what really get me. Of course, as a lifelong Canadian, I’ve learned how to survive winter whether I enjoy it or not – and I have some indispensable things that I must have throughout these cold, blustery months. All of these things will be staples in my life until it finally starts getting warmer six months from now.
It’s probably the most obvious statement ever that skin needs more heavy-duty nourishment in the cold months. In the past few years my skin has become more normal due to a better skincare routine and a commitment to drinking a lot of water every day, but in the winter it tries its damnedest to banish all water and oil, so I have to be really diligent. I’m a big fan of using oils as moisturizer at night or on days when I’m not wearing makeup; I’ve recently been using The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil, which was a steal at $6.80 CAD for 30mL (1oz).
I’ve also been loving the Origins Drink Up! Intensive Overnight Mask, which I purchased after hearing Allana Davison rave about it several times. Allana is a fellow dry-skinned Canadian, and because she lives in a way dryer climate than me I trusted that I’d like it. It’s $32 CAD for 100mL/3.4oz ($0.32 per mL/$9.41 per oz), which I think is a pretty fair price, especially considering the fact that a little bit goes a long way. I always wake up feeling nice and moisturized when I use this, and it helps keep the dreaded nose flakes at bay.
For my lips I could not be without the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm. All the YouTube hype is real – it really is the best overnight lip balm. I’ve been using it for a year (so, all through last winter as well) and it keeps my lips in tip top condition. I often don’t even have to apply a lip balm during the day after using the stuff overnight!
Finally, I’m finding I have to kick my bodycare up a notch these days. Lotions just aren’t doing it for me. If my face is dry, my arms and legs are made of actual sandpaper. The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter is my body moisturizer of choice, and I’ve already stocked up on two more because I go through them like water. This one is thicker and more solid than any of the other Body Butters, I assume because coconut oil solidifies at room temperature. The coconut oil does wonders for the smoothness of my skin. I have keratosis pilaris and it’s not exactly a miracle product in that regard (generally the only thing that truly brings the KP down is a chemical exfoliant), but it really softens my skin. This is the only Body Butter I buy nowadays!
Uniqlo opened in Toronto recently, and their Heattech Leggings are LEGIT. The first time I wore them under my jeans I was like, “WHY AM I BOILING HOT?” Then I realized! I’ve been a longtime lover of fleece-lined tights and leggings, but the Heattech fabric is way thinner and thus more efficient. When I wear them under my Topshop Joni Jeans (which are fairly thin and very tight and stretchy), they don’t look bulky or weird. Consider me a convert to the ways of Heattech!
Cool weather means I can finally bust out the shoes I like wearing instead of half-heartedly slipping on the same beat-up flats every day. I’m of the opinion that a good pair of boots can make a “meh” outfit amazing. My favourite pair? My Topshop Marbles Elastic Ankle Boots, my biggest fashion-related splurge of 2016. They’re so beautiful and versatile. I love them because, obviously, I can wear black ankle boots anywhere, but the shiny heel and accordion detail makes them a bit interesting. Sadly Topshop doesn’t sell these anymore, but they have a lot of great boots right now!
I get cold super easily. If it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about, I sleep with a quilt even in the dead of summer and I never use a fan. If I drink my usual 750mL bottle of water during winter, I will not stop shivering for like fifteen years. So I turn to hot beverages to hydrate me, most notably peppermint tea. Unlike every other Canadian blogger, I’m not a huge fan of Davidstea – I like simple herbal teas, not fancy blends. But the travel mug I bought from them last winter is amazing and I’ve definitely used it enough to justify its price. It keeps tea warm for hours and hours, meaning I can bring it to work and sip whenever I have a chance and not have to worry about it cooling off. Plus, it’s really pretty. They don’t make my exact one anymore, but this one has the same features and looks similar.
When I fancy a sweet treat, I always go for Second Cup White Hot Chocolate. I’ve been popping into Second Cup to buy them since I was in middle school (so, a solid decade), and last winter I started buying the mix – it saves a lot of money and tastes just as delicious when mixed in with 2% milk. When it comes to real chocolate, dark is my favourite and I don’t like white, but there’s something about white hot chocolate that is so good.
Also, obviously I always drink my white hot chocolate out of my One Direction mug. Because I’m an adult.
Flannel sheets (the backdrop to all these images) are obviously necessary when it gets cold – hey, I sleep with a quilt in the summer, so I really need to step it up a notch in the winter.
I’m a reader in general, but when it’s too cold to do anything I always tear through long, meaty novels. Pictured are two books I’ve read in this final quarter of 2016 – The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, which you’ll see in my next Books Read post – and one that I read in the winter of 2015: The True and Splendid History of Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric. I’d highly recommend all three if you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into!
And that’s it for my cold weather essentials! None of these things will be too far from my side in the coming months.