Out with the sun, in with the cold

It is undeniable that the sun has packed its bags and left us for another season. The trees have tried their best to keep their greens, but slowly but surely the orange and browns have taken their place. Winter is around the corner!

Coming from a very warm country, I can’t say that I am thrilled to leave my shorts behind and trade them in for some warmer gear. But alas, I am left with little choice.

I am already dreading the cold walk from the tube station to my classroom. So I asked a few of my friends about their top tips to survive the winter (this list is in no way exhaustive, so send me some other tips you can think of).

- Boots

Give me flip-flops or a diving mask with some fins and I am a happy camper. In the first few weeks in the UK, I hurried downstairs to the supermarket located on the first floor of my building in my flip-flops and was almost frozen five minutes later. I quickly learned that toes freeze very quickly in this weather if you don’t have the right gear. Ankle boots, knee-high boots, thigh high boots; it can be so overwhelming searching for that perfect pair. However, with a good shopping buddy finding some winter boots won't seem so overwhelming in the end.

- Lip balm

I woke up a few days ago with cracked lips that felt like I had spent days in the desert (not to mention how much they had hurt).

When I leave my apartment now I make sure to check for two things- my Oyster card and Chapstick. Note to you: if you don’t want perpetually cracked and chapped lips, keep that balm close.

Guys, don’t think that it isn’t manly to have Chapstick. It isn’t lipstick and your girlfriend/wife will appreciate your smooth lips.

A friend hinted that I should try Paw Paw as it helps to smooth and to repair broken skin. If I were back home, finding a Paw Paw would have been as easy as stepping into my back yard.

Luckily, many companies around the world have already gone through the trouble for extracting those healing properties from the Paw Paw for us.

According to Lauren Barker of www.sheknows.com, Paw Paw helps to repair dry or chapped lips and is often used as a long-lasting, natural lip balm. On very windy days, she recommends that Paw Paw balm be applied to prevent chapped lips.

Bonus tip: Lauren advocates that you can also have soft beautiful feet during the winter by using Paw Paw every night.

- Brolly

‘The rain in Spain may stay mainly in the plain’ but in the UK that isn’t so. It’s funny how you can step into the tube and it is dry, then step onto the street and it is suddenly pouring. It is so important to always have an umbrella/brolly with you at all time. Checking the weather news in the morning can be helpful in preparing for what the day will be like. A good site to check before heading out is http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

Bonus watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVmU3iANbgk

- Coat

This may be one of the most expensive things you may have to purchase. I have come to realize two things: autumn coats won’t work in the winter and in many stores they are really not that cheap.

However, before you dip into your purse and pull out the last bit of cash you've been saving; know that there are other options to finding the perfect coat.

My sister recommended that I look around for sales and charity shops. I was a bit worried that I might be wearing 1980’s fashion, but she insisted that I could find some trendy items (maybe from a designer or two).

Some examples I came across and plan to check out this weekend:

- The UK Red Cross Charity Shops sells vintage and designer clothes and accessories donated by the public. Link to site: http://www.redcross.org.uk/Get-involved/Our-shops/Our-specialist-shops/Vintage-clothing-and-designer-charity-shop

- The Octavia Foundation charity shop sells items to raise funds for charity and have a number of shops located around London. Link to site: http://www.octaviafoundation.org.uk/charity_shops/about_our_shops

Salvation Army’s Charity Shop - is said to be on the trendiest charity shops around Oxford Circus. Located at 9 Princes Street in one of the busiest places in London. Link to site: http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/princes-street-charity-shop

A fun charity that works to stop clothes from being tossed away and is celebrating #Secondhandfirst Week 2015 from November 23–29: http://www.traid.org.uk/shop-at-traid/

- Layers

I have been told to invest in the following items that will make the winter feel a little bit warmer:

  • Knitwear- Vests, cardigans and sweaters come in so many different styles, prints, and cuts. It may seem a bit hard to show your figure in them, but they come in very handy in keeping you warm.
  • Woolen socks- According to www.socksaddicts.wordpress.com, wool socks are generally thicker and help to keep your feet dry and warm in the winter; versus cotton socks that provide very little insulation. Additionally cotton socks may cause your feet to perspire, which is a prescription for cold feet ( pun intended).
  • Leggings- I have seen some persons wearing them around the city and I must admit I am a tad bit tempted to try it. However, unless you have Viking blood my friends do not recommend I do so. Leggings can be worn under jeans or work pants. I have come to find that they work even better with stretch jeans, which allow me to have one layer of stockings and one layer of leggings.

Fun fact: it doesn’t matter if the leggings have a small hole or a tear, if they are worn under jeans no one will see them. So don’t toss them.

  • Scarves: are perfect to wear all year round, but your neck and shoulders will thank you on those cold blustery days. www.gurl.com provides 20 style tips on how to tie and wear a scarf. If you are reading and you are a guy, don’t worry there is also a site for you; www.artofmanliness.com has a man’s guide to the scarf.
  • Beanie/Hat: some friends like this item and some don’t, but a beanie can be extremely helpful in protecting your ears from the bitterly cold temperatures during the winter. If you really want to know how to make those beanies look classy, check out Dan Oliver article on 5 ways to wear a beanie(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/04/beanie-hat-how-to-wear_n_4720439.html).
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