Surviving and thriving in a windy city winter

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Winter is upon us and with that comes all sorts of challenges; draughty homes, arctic-style blizzards and limited daylight hours.

But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Courtenay Scott-Hill has compiled a list of ways to not only survive, but maybe even thrive during winter in the windy city.

Say shoo to the flu 

Before I dive into the fun stuff, let’s start with the housekeeping – flu shots! No one wants to be achy and bed-ridden this winter, and a flu injection is one good way to prevent this! Rather than setting an appointment to get the injection, and dreading it for days to come, you can go to Unichem Johnsonville, where they are happy to serve walk-in customers. So put on a brave face, drop in and get the jab. Ten seconds of pain for a whole seasons’ gain right? Worth it. 

Alcohol blanket

Ok, so now the fun stuff. There’s nothing nicer than a wintery, cosy blanket to snuggle under during the colder months. Or better yet a cosy, spiced alcohol blanket. Wellington is home to various alcohol blanket suppliers, who offer a variety of seasonal winter-warmers. You could cosy up with a Spiced Plum Margarita at Le Cafe Plum, or warm the cockles of your heart with a mulled wine as you look at the stars from inside your very own igloo at St John’s Winter Village.

Beach bum

While we’re on the topic of blankets, according to Consumer NZ, running an electric blanket every night during winter only costs a total of $10! That’s a pretty cost-effective way to keep warm in my opinion. Lying on your electric blanket, you can almost kid yourself that you’re sunbathing on hot sand at the beach. I like to throw on my fave bikini, hop into bed, put on some ambient wave noises and imagine I’ve time-travelled to summer. Weird but effective. Don’t knock it till you try it. 

A little bit hairy

Winter is usually a time to rug up from head-to-toe but for those of us who are a little more daring, Tory Urban Retreat offers a full Finnish sauna experience, usually sans togs and complete with a cold plunge pool. Forget getting your body “summer ready”, it’s time to proudly flaunt the 2021 winter edition. Haven’t picked up a razor since dinosaurs roamed the earth? Fantastic! I’m sure no one else has either. Lack of sun has your skin resembling the complexion of a sick Victorian child? Join the club! Flaunt it, strut it, sweat it!

Insulate before you hibernate

Did you know that if you have an insulated home, you can still lose upwards of 45% of your heat through your windows? Well now you do. Winter is the perfect time to invest in some good quality curtains or blinds. If you are cash-strapped (students I hear you), Wellington’s Sustainability Trust runs a curtain bank where you can get good quality curtains for free. Choice! If you own a Community Service or Gold Card and need decent curtains, head over to their website and sign up to the waiting list. 

Namaste at home

Can’t escape on your annual trip to Bali this winter because of Covid restrictions? Don’t worry, I have just the alternative, well sort of. Escape the winter blues at Wellworks’ wellness bar. Pick from a ‘Shroom or Zen Latte, Immunity or Energy tonic or a cheeky kombucha on tap. Say namaste as you clink glasses, close your eyes, down that tonic and mentally transport yourself to a wellness retreat in Bali. It’s the closest alternative I can recommend! Beggars can’t be choosers, OK? 

Fire and ice

Let’s talk about windburn – a condition in which skin becomes red and painful after exposure to wind. As residents of one of the windiest cities in the entire world, most of us get wind burnt from time to time. Stink! Luckily, I have two solutions to offer. In the old days, the Inuit never took baths because they were afraid of washing off the natural oils which protected their faces from windburn. So you could stop washing. But for the sake of your flatmates and work colleagues’ noses, you might prefer to hit Wellington Apothecary on Cuba Street, which offers nature-based concoctions including skincare, winter tonics, and teas. Check out our interview with their co-founder Chantal here.

Fill up the tank

Science says that before winter, bears engage in hyperphagia. This is a very fancy name for eating and drinking as much as possible to gain fat to survive the cold months ahead. In my opinion, that’s genius. So in the name of survival, why not engage in a little hyperphagia to get yourself through the winter? Try this warming chicken curry, this hearty beef stew, or these scrummy savoury waffles.

Be brave

We get it, you want to stay at home with the heat pump on high, but sometimes you have to force yourself to get out of the house. Fortunately there’s a bunch of fun stuff happening this winter. Here’s what we’re looking forward to.


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